Memorial sign honoring local Civil Rights hero misspelled

Sign and stone tablet don't match
Sign and stone tablet don't match
Esau Jenkins
Esau Jenkins

JOHNS ISLAND, SC (WCSC) - A bridge between Johns and Wadmalaw Islands is one of many places you can find Esau Jenkins' name. Six years after the Johns Island native passed away in 1972 a big ceremony was held there naming the bridge in his honor.

But a month ago, brand new State Department of Transportation signs with his name on them were put up on both sides of the bridge.

The gesture, very kind. But, the SCDOT may not have used the spell check button.

"I said 'Oh, man' they misspelled his name," said Edward Green III, a relative of Jenkins. "They need to do it over."

Green was one of the first catch the mistake driving across the bridge. The sign reads "Easu Jenkins Memorial Bridge."

The local Civil Rights heroes first name is actually spelled 'Esau.'

The new signs have a date of commission stamp from March 2012 and it wasn't until a few weeks ago word spread to Jenkins' oldest surviving son Abraham.

"I was there with my Momma, myself and the whole family when it was dedicated," says Jenkins, remembering the original sign placed above a stone tablet at the site in 1978. "I know it wasn't misspelled then."

Jenkins said his father never stopped helping people throughout his life.

He remembers one of his greatest achievements as founding the Citizenship School. The school operated as a place where he and others taught African Americans to read so they could vote during the Civil Rights Era.

According to the South Carolina African American History Calendar of 2012, Jenkins created "a number of services designed to improve the economic, health, housing, political and social conditions of Sea Island residents in South Carolina."

Which is why his oldest son thinks the misspelling needs to be corrected as soon as possible.

"I want to see it," said Jenkins. "I think anybody who knows my father knows E-A-S-U, is not Esau."

Although the South Carolina Department of Transportation didn't return calls from Live 5 News about the typo, Jenkins' niece Jakki Jefferson got in touch with someone from the maintenance division.

In an e-mail to Jefferson, the DOT apologized for the mistake and said the signs will be replaced in 6 weeks.

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