African Americans in the Civil War – Lecture Series

The South Carolina African American Heritage Foundation will maintain a roster of scholars who can address topics related to African Americans and the Civil War in South Carolina. These scholars can be booked for programs around the state during the Sesquicentennial commemorations and beyond. Four programs have already been planned as part of a year-long lecture series to take place on February 9, 2012; May 17, 2012; August 23, 2012, and October 25, 2012. SC Humanities supported this project with a Major Grant in September 2011.

The scholars and topics on the roster include the following:

Dr. Bernard Powers (College of Charleston), “Black Charlestonians”
Dr. Abel Bartley (Clemson University), “The Causes of the War”
Dr. Eric Emerson (Director of the SC Department of Archives and History), “The Ordinance of Secession”
Billy Jenkinson, “Lieutenant Stephen Swails”
Nicole Green (Director of the old Slave Mart Museum), “Slavery in South Carolina”
Rosalyn Brown (Director of History and Culture at Penn Center), “Penn Center and the Port Royal Experiment”
Donald Singleton (Park Ranger at Ft. Sumter National Monument), “Resistance, Runaways, and Slave Revolts”
Dr. Veronica Davis Gerald, (Coastal Carolina University), “Grapevine: How African Americans Communicated During the Civil War”
Jeannie Cyriaque (Georgia African American Programs Coordinator), “The Men at the Meeting with General Sherman”
Dr. Larry Watkins (SC State University), “Black Confederates”
Joseph McGill, Jr. (National Trust for Historic Preservation), “54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry”

In 1860, South Carolina’s population included 404,406 African Americans and 301,302 Caucasians. These lectures will examine how this majority population factored into the cause of the Civil War, what they did during the war, and how they helped bring about an end to the war.

Four programs are planned to take place in 2012, and each program will feature four speakers. The first program took place on February 9. The May 17 program will be at the Lawton Park Pavilion in Hartsville and will feature
Dr. Eric Emerson speaking on “The Ordinance of Secession,” Billy Jenkinson speaking on “Lieutenant Stephen Swails,” and Jeannie Cyriaque speakingon “The Men at the Meeting with General Sherman.” Additional programs will take place on August 23 at the Spartanburg Regional History Museum and at the SC Department of Archives and History in Columbia on October 25, 2012.


These scholars can be booked for additional programs and lectures throughout the Civil War Sesquicentennial commemorations.


More information about the lecture series and the scholar roster can be found by contacting Joseph McGill 843-408-7727 or the SC African American Heritage Foundation at 843-332-3589.

The mission of SC Humanities is to enrich the cultural and intellectual lives of all South Carolinians. SC Humanities programs and initiatives are balanced, reflecting sensitivity to the diversity of ideas, encourage open dialogue, demonstrate integrity, and are ethical in operations.