A Moderate Trot through the History of Street Speed

A Moderate Trot through the History of Street Speed

May 1, 2020

Working animals dominated the streetscape of early Charleston, and their rhythmic hoof beats defined the pace of life for most of the city’s history. From colonial times to the turn of the twentieth century, citizens traveled no faster than “a mod...

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Hemp Cultivation in Early South Carolina

Hemp Cultivation in Early South Carolina

April 24, 2020

Hemp was one of many crops that nearly became a staple part of the economy in the early years of South Carolina. Requiring large quantities of the weed for use in the maritime industry, the provincial government and British Parliament offered sust...

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Charleston at 350: The Legacy of Founding Decisions

Charleston at 350: The Legacy of Founding Decisions

April 17, 2020

The City of Charleston is celebrating its 350th birthday this month, as is the state of South Carolina in general. While the festivities may be subdued for the moment, the quiet passing of this anniversary presents an opportunity to contemplate th...

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Quarantine in Charleston Harbor, 1698–1949

Quarantine in Charleston Harbor, 1698–1949

April 10, 2020

Separating the sick from the healthy has been a part of Charleston’s public health policy since 1698, when our provincial government instituted a quarantine policy unprecedented in the English-speaking world. Over the ensuing two and a half centur...

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The Scandalous Black Dance of 1795, Part 2

The Scandalous Black Dance of 1795, Part 2

April 3, 2020

White Charlestonians of 1795 were shocked to find a local magistrate at the center of an illegal black dance raided by city police. Revelers fleeing the nocturnal “frolick” left William Cunnington to face the law alone, and he defended his honor b...

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The Scandalous Black Dance of 1795, Part 1

The Scandalous Black Dance of 1795, Part 1

March 27, 2020

The traditions of African-American dance and music form an important part of Charleston’s cultural heritage that survived many generations of local discrimination and active suppression. In 1795, for example, the sounds of a nocturnal “negro dance...

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Pandemic and Panic: Influenza in 1918 Charleston

Pandemic and Panic: Influenza in 1918 Charleston

March 20, 2020

Pandemic and panic visited Charleston in the autumn of 1918 when the Spanish Influenza spread throughout the community in a wave of acute sickness and death. Under the shadow of the Great War raging in Europe, the city was ill-equipped to counter ...

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Yamboo: An Enslaved Muslim in Early South Carolina

Yamboo: An Enslaved Muslim in Early South Carolina

March 13, 2020

Yamboo was a stoic African man whose Muslim faith helped him endure a life of servitude in eighteenth-century South Carolina. His brief autobiography, published in Charleston in 1790, provides valuable evidence of the presence of Islam among this ...

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His Majesty’s Warships in Charleston Harbor

His Majesty’s Warships in Charleston Harbor

March 6, 2020

The presence of British warships in Charleston harbor was not confined to a few isolated events during the American Revolution. Between 1720 and 1775, a succession of royal frigates was stationed here to protect the colony’s valuable trade and to ...

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Self-Purchase: The Price of Freedom from Slavery

Self-Purchase: The Price of Freedom from Slavery

February 28, 2020

Can you put a monetary value on your freedom? This philosophical question was once a legitimate query in South Carolina. Our early laws described enslaved people as property, trapped in lifetime of legal servitude without hope of advancement. By e...

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