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.

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 free and enslaved Black Charlestonians, served many…
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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.
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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 Poinsette (she later became Clark when she married Nerie Clark in 1920) was born on this site.
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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 vocational training workshops for Black workers;…
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This project was sponsored by the Center for the Study of Slavery’s Public History Working Group and by the 250th Anniversary Historical Documentation Committee, with additional support from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS), the Department of History, the Graduate School, and the College’s department of Marketing and Communications.

Research and Publication Assistance provided by Harlan Greene, Julia Eichelberger, Rachel Donaldson, Aaisha Haykal, Grayson Harris, Noah Dubois, Barry Stiefel, and Mary Jo Fairchild. Special thanks for images and permissions provided by Historic Charleston Foundation, Catholic Diocese of Charleston, Charleston Museum, Addlestone Library’s Special Collections, the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture, and C of C’s Department of Marketing and Communications.

Website Curator: Grayson Harris
This site will be updated as new information becomes available. If you have additional images or information to contribute to this tour, please contact us at