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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Private Manumission: An Intimate Path to Freedom

Private Manumission: An Intimate Path to Freedom

February 21, 2020

The laws of early South Carolina viewed enslaved people as private property that individual owners could trade, sell, and even emancipate as they saw fit. That liberty allowed numerous slave owners to set free an unknown number of men, women, and ...

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Public Manumission: A Reward for Remarkable Service

Public Manumission: A Reward for Remarkable Service

February 14, 2020

On multiple occasions between 1708 and 1822, the South Carolina General Assembly voted to spend public funds to secure the freedom of enslaved people who had performed remarkable acts of public service. These public manumissions, as we might call ...

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Defining Charleston’s Free People of Color

Defining Charleston’s Free People of Color

February 7, 2020

Freedom and slavery were the opposing states of being that defined the lives of most early Charlestonians, but this community also hosted a small but vibrant population of people who lived somewhere between those legal poles. This population of so...

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The Myth of the Holy City

The Myth of the Holy City

January 24, 2020

The phrase “Holy City” is a fixture of the Charleston lexicon often used to describe our community’s deep history of religious freedom and diversity. Contrary to popular belief, however, the early inhabitants of the South Carolina Lowcountry did n...

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The South Carolina Revolution of 1719, Part 2

The South Carolina Revolution of 1719, Part 2

January 17, 2020

The secret confederacy of angry South Carolinians that formed in November 1719 assembled in Charleston that December as an elected Convention of the people. In a showdown with the legitimate proprietary government, the members of the Convention st...

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The South Carolina Revolution of 1719, Part 1

The South Carolina Revolution of 1719, Part 1

January 9, 2020

Frustrated by years of neglect and contrary government, the citizens of South Carolina asserted their political will in the closing months of 1719 by organizing a rebellious confederacy that descended on Charleston to seize the reins of power. It ...

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A look back at the 10 most popular travels in the Charleston Time Machine

A look back at the 10 most popular travels in the Charleston Time Machine

January 3, 2020

Each week we take a trip through time in the Charleston Time Machine, traveling from point to point through history to examine the lesser known stories and the tales behind major events that helped shape Charleston. 

This week we'll take a look ...

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Proprietary vs. Royal Government in Colonial South Carolina

Proprietary vs. Royal Government in Colonial South Carolina

December 27, 2019

South Carolina was born as an English colony and continued as such until the American Revolution, but its first century of existence was marked by two contrasting periods characterized by different forms of colonial administration: An initial “pro...

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Christmas Traditions in Early Charleston

Christmas Traditions in Early Charleston

December 13, 2019

The word “tradition” is often used to describe many of the communal activities that surround various holidays both sacred and secular. Here in the Charleston area, for example, we share a number of Christmas “traditions” with communities near and ...

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