The Reconstruction Era: History and Public Memory

The University of South Carolina’s History Center, in partnership with Historic Columbia Foundation, will host a two-day public symposium on the topic of “The Reconstruction Era: History and Public Memory,” initiating a series of events marking the 150th anniversary of the Reconstruction era. South Carolina Humanities supported this project with a Major Grant in February 2016.

“The Reconstruction Era” will take place in multiple locations in Columbia from April 21 – 22, 2016, including the Woodrow Wilson Family Home. The symposium will open with a keynote address by Pulitzer Prize winning historian Eric Foner and will continue with lectures, panel presentations, and tours. The symposium moderators will facilitate discussions about recent and current scholarship on the subject along with extensive consideration of the public markings and commemoration of this history in South Carolina and other key sites throughout the South.

“South Carolina was the site of Reconstruction’s most notable achievements and also the place where its provisions were most hotly and violently challenged” says project director Patricia Sullivan. “It is a place where public commemoration of this past remains contested.”

This program will provide the public an opportunity to hear from leading scholars and public historians and to actively participate in a series of forums about the history, its meaning, and its contemporary relevance for South Carolina, the South, and the nation.

For more information about the “Reconstruction Era” symposium, visit their website at:

The mission of SC Humanities is to enrich the cultural and intellectual lives of all South Carolinians. Established in 1973, this 501(c) 3 organization is governed by a volunteer 22-member Board of Directors comprised of community leaders from throughout the state. It presents and/or supports literary initiatives, lectures, exhibits, festivals, publications, oral history projects, videos and other humanities-based experiences that directly or indirectly reach more than 250,000 citizens annually.

Image: Woodrow Wilson Family Home, Courtesy of Historic Columbia