Slavery and its Legacies: Sites Of Resistance

The legacies of slavery have been long and enduring in Charleston and the greater Lowcountry, perpetuating and mutating in the grotesque manifestations of white supremacy. Despite the visible and invisible barriers to social, political, and economic advancement, Black Charlestonians have resisted their treatment as second-class citizens. Resistance has been a constant theme in African American history in Charleston, and the sites of this tour reveal some of the different forms of individual and collective resistance to racial injustice.

This tour was developed in collaboration with the Center for the Study of Slavery in Charleston. In Spring 2020, graduate students in Dr. Rachel Donaldson’s History 590 crafted 5 thematic tours focusing on the history of slavery and its enduring legacies in the city of Charleston. Using the College of Charleston as the center, the tours move outward from the campus in a radius of eight blocks or less to the north, south, east, and west to sites that reveal stories of community endurance, resistance, fellowship, and agency. While we emphasized sites and structures that remain visible in the built environment, we also uncovered the stories of sites that have been lost over time. Our work, as we see it, is part of current efforts to uncover, document, and interpret the history and legacy of slavery on the cultural landscape.

Mother Emanuel AME, 103 Calhoun

The history of Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church is a history of activism, resistance, community, and perseverance. Like other notable African American churches in Charleston, Emanuel AME, founded in 1816 by a group of…

Morris Street Baptist Church, 25 Morris Street

Church communities have been a cornerstone in Charleston’s Black community for decades, serving as a sacred space for political organizing, community building, education, and spiritual nourishment. Historically, Charleston has been a majority Black…

The Denmark Vesey House, 56 Bull Street

The Denmark Vesey house, located at 56 Bull street, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and even features a physical marker that states the historic value of the site. The designation of this site enables the city of Charleston to…

Thomas E. Miller House, 156 Smith Street

Thomas Miller was born on June 17, 1849 to free Black parents in Ferrebeeville, South Carolina. His family moved to Charleston in 1852 where he went to Black schools before moving to Hudson, New York. He attended Lincoln University (PA.) on…

Kress Building, 281 King Street

The S.H. Kress building was built in 1931 by the S.H. Kress chain of variety stores. The Art Deco building had an innovative system for bringing supplies from the third floor to the storeroom with a dumbwaiter as well as a lunch counter.…

Septima P. Clark Birthplace, 105 Wentworth

At 105 Wentworth Street stands College of Charleston's Kappa Sigma Fraternity house. Beyond the surface of a residential home for the College's frat life, this property holds a special part of Charleston's Black history.  On May 3rd, 1898, Septima…

Charleston Branch of the NAACP, 81-A Columbus Street

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was originally founded in 1909.  Through its quarterly magazine The Crisis, this organization pursued a civil rights agenda that included, organizing labor campaigns and hosting…
This project would not be possible without the support of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS), Center for the Study of Slavery in Charleston, Special Collections, Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture, the Marketing and Communications Department at the College of Charleston and the research efforts of the graduate students in the History Department
250th Anniversary Hist Doc Committee (Harlan, Julia, Ron)
Website Curator: Grayson Harris