Few sarcastic quips in all of southern history remain as famous as James Petigru’s reported comment upon receiving the news that South Carolina had seceded from the Union. South Carolina, Petigru mused sarcastically, was “too small for a republic and too large for an insane asylum.” Petigru died in 1863, a devoted Unionist and southern … Read more
Americans stand in a very peculiar relationship to their history. We are fond of evoking it with pride – as the inspiring story of the “City on the Hill,” or the “last best hope for democracy,” and as the “leader of the free world,” and so on. We Americans are also readily inspired by our … Read more
This lecture examines white Christianity’s struggle for influence among slaveholders in Charleston and the surrounding South Carolina Lowcountry as the movement delineated both the ideological and the practical mechanisms that it believed necessary to sustain a slaveholding society in the face of increasingly sharp moral and social criticism, chiefly from outside the region. Religious paternalism’s … Read more
Through the stories of enslaved ancestors and notable relatives, The Thompson Family: Untold Stories from The Past (1830-1960), chronicles the rich history of a prominent African American family from Salley, South Carolina features stories of individuals who were enslaved, a woman served as an enslaved cook during the Civil War, and agricultural life.
Martha Kitchings Seawright Ellison was born enslaved on November 20, 1849, in Aiken County, South Carolina. This presentation tells the contextualized story of her life, featuring local history of the antebellum period and Civil War in South Carolina during Martha’s enslavement; a historical account of Martha’s life during the Reconstruction Era; the circumstances that involved … Read more
This presentation explores the reasons why South Carolina used African American labor during the war; the diverse roles of African American labor during the war; SC approval of Confederate pensions for African Americans; notable features of the pension application; and notable South Carolina African American Confederate Pensioners.
Lavinia was born enslaved on June 3rd, 1844, in Aiken County, and this presentation tells her personal story of slavery and survival during the Civil War. Lavinia would follow her master into battle in the Civil War, serving the Confederate army as a cook. Six decades later, she would be among about 100 black South … Read more
Counter to the national narrative which championed the patriotic manhood of soldiering from the Civil War through the 1920s, Dr. Pinheiro, Jr.’s research reveals that African American veterans and their families’ military experience were much more fraught. Economic and social instability introduced by military service resonated for years and even generations after soldiers left the … Read more
Skulls and crossed bones. Weeping willows and rosebuds. Did you know Charleston has more 18th-century burial grounds than any city in the United States? Find out why on this visual stroll through historic colonial and antebellum cemeteries as we explore a religious diversity unknown in the other thirteen colonies. Moreover, Charleston’s ancient graveyards are art … Read more