Shady Grove Camp Ground (2007)

About the Film

Shady Grove is the largest of the four camp grounds in Dorchester County, S.C. It was founded by formerly enslaved people in 1870 but grew out of antebellum camp meetings, where all people would travel great distances to attend religious gatherings held at campgrounds and led by "circuit" preachers. For African-Americans, this was one of the few places where they could meet and enjoy some sense of freedom. When they were able after the Civil War to establish their own camp grounds, they continued to meet annually during the harvest season. The camp meeting at Shady Grove is held the third week of each October by descendants of the founders, and they tell a moving story about how they first acquired the site. The original Shady Grove “tents” or cabins burned in 1958 and the camp has suffered two subsequent fires, but the camp meeting still serves to maintain the members’ sense of cultural history and community identity and to strengthen their family relationships. This camp is affiliated with the United Methodist denomination. Camp grounds of other African Americans in South and North Carolina are generally supported by members of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church.

Stan Woodward devoted approximately seven years to filming over 170 hours on five Lowcountry campgrounds: Shady Grove located near Rosinville and St. Paul near Holly Hill, and Cattle Creek near Branchville, Cypress near Ridgeville, and Indian Field near St. George.


For licensing, film rights and permissions, contact Stan Woodward, the distributor, or Folkstreams.