Talking statues bringing history to life in downtown Charleston

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Talking statues are bringing history to life in downtown Charleston with Charleston Stories.

On Thursday, with new technology, historic figures are telling their own stories through human voices.

And for many of us, it is history we may never have heard.

The new technology is not just for tourists.

The goal of this project is to bring our community together, according to renown artist Jonathan Green.

He is part of a diverse group of people put together by Charleston businessman John Rivers, Jr.

Rivers saw talking statues in London, and decided to bring the idea to Charleston.

With The Rainbow Group and a host of volunteers, eight statues, monuments and markers across the city, now come to life with the use of a tablet or cell phone.

The facts have been meticulously researched, and are presented though the voices of community volunteers.

Septima Poinsette Clark, known as the "Mother of Civil Rights," is animated by Millicent E. Brown.

Brown has also collaborated with Leah Chase and Josephine Humphreys to present the Pollitzer Sisters, descendants of Austrian Jewish immigr ants who worked for women's rights.

Other historic figures which are part of Charleston Stories are The Grimke Sisters, Southern women who spoke out against slavery.

Iron artist Philip Simmons is voiced by Ty Collins, and Alonzo Jacob Ransier.

South Carolina's first black Lieutenant Governor, is voiced by acclaimed tenor Rodrick Dixon.

Denmark Vesey, who planned one of America's largest slave rebellions, is brought to life by the voice of Henry Darby.

J. Waties Waring, a federal judge who upheld the rights of black citizens, is presented by Henry Smythe.

The eighth of Charleston's Stories is that of Robert Smalls, who escaped slavery by commandeering a confederate ship and sailing to freedom.

His story is presented by his great-great grandson, Robert Smalls.

The personal histories are sent to a mobile device, after the visitor scans a QR code or enters CharlestonStories.org.

A phone call will deliver a brief, narrated history.

Other members of The Rainbow group are Harlan Greene and Dr. Bernie Powers of the College of Charleston and Helen Hill of the Charleston Visitors Bureau.

The project is co-produced by Sing London, which has brought technology to historic markers across the world.

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