Follow-Up: Unveiling of Historic Marker Honoring 1969 Hospital Workers’ Strike A Success

On October 1st, the final marker of the Charleston Preservation Society’s project to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Emancipation was unveiled. The marker honors the efforts of Mary Moultrie and her fellow hospital workers in 1969 to receive fair working conditions and adequate pay. After 113 days, the strike came to a close with both sides reaching a compromise. And while great strides have been made, Moultrie reminded the audience at the ceremony that further improvements still need to be made for workers’ rights.

The event received a fair amount of attention with several news sources covering the event:

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Mark Auslander’s New Article: “Touching the Past”

Check out Mark Auslander‘s new article “Touching the Past: Materializing Time in Traumatic “Living History” Reenactments” in the open access journal Signs and Society.
Auslander’s article includes a discussion of the reenacted slave auction in the March 22, 1865 Charleston emancipation procession.


Abstract:
Many living history reenactors speak of “touching the past” in their performances. In nearly all instances, these profound experiences of intimate traffic with previous epochs and persons are brought about not through physical contact with historical artifacts but through deployments of replicas and props, including recently produced adornment, weaponry, vehicles, and tools. This essay explores the roles and functions of material reproductions or substitutes of historic artifacts in reenactment performances, and how these object-oriented practices often bring about powerful sensations of historic authenticity on the part of reenactors and their audiences. Auslander gives particular attention to the use of physical objects by those who seek to reenact traumatic events and experiences related to American histories of racial injustice, including experiences of slavery and Jim Crow racial violence.

Recap of the Tenth International CAAR Conference

Reflections on Dreams Deferred, Promises and Struggles: Perceptions and Interrogations of Empire, Nation, and Society by Peoples of African Descent
The 10th International CAAR Conference

Like all CAAR conferences, the 10th biennial conference in Atlanta provoked deep analysis of the cultural, emotional, mental, and socio-economic state of Black people throughout the African diaspora. Spanning a wide array of topics, the papers made us laugh, cry, strategize, and ponder deeply the importance of our work as scholars, teachers, and what Toni Cade Bambara called “cultural workers.” Indeed, the inaugural CAAR conference in the US accomplished its mission, and thus was a watershed moment in this important year that commemorates such important milestones in the African American historical narrative—the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, the 50th years anniversaries of the March on Washington, the death of W.E.B DuBois, and the desegregation of South Carolina public schools.

Civil War historian Eric Foner to visit two campuses

 Eric Foner, historian and author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning “The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery,” will be in the Charleston area for two free public lectures.

His College of Charleston talk is part of the Southern American Studies Association Biennial Conference and sponsored by the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Department of English, Department of History, Avery Research Center, African American Studies and the Fort Sumter-Fort Moultrie Historical Trust.

To view the Post and Courier‘s full article regarding Foner’s lectures, visit http://www.postandcourier.com/article/20130129/PC16/130129206/1268/civil-war-historian-eric-foner-to-visit-two-campuses&source=RSS

SC National Heritage Corridor’s SC Traveler Newsletter’s Coverage of the Jubilee Project

“The SC Traveler Newsletter,” South Carolina National Heritage Corridor’s guide to the most unique spots in South Carolina, has included coverage of the Jubilee Project in the January/February 2013 issue.  To read the article, as well as other interesting information about travel sites related to African American history, click here.

 

Check out CLAW’s website

The Program in the Carolina Lowcountry and Atlantic World (CLAW) at the College of Charleston was established to promote scholarship on the Lowcountry, the Atlantic World, and the connections between the two. The CLAW program’s mission is to strengthen the College’s instructional program and to promote the public understanding of the region and its place in a broader international context by fostering research that illuminates the constant contact and cultural exchange among the various Atlantic cultures, societies, and ethnicities.

To learn more about CLAW and to view an event calendar, click here.

“Teaching the New History of Emancipation” Teachers’ Workshop

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The Carolina Lowcountry and Atlantic World program was recently awarded a grant from the Humanities Council SC to help support a teachers’ workshop entitled “Teaching the New History of Emancipation.”  The workshop, organized in collaboration with the After Slavery Project, will take place on Friday, February 1st from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm, running concurrently with the Southern American Studies Association conference that is also happening at the College (Thursday January 31st to Saturday February 2nd).  The workshop is part of the Jubilee Project commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and the 50th anniversary of launching desegregation in South Carolina educational institutions.  As we embark on this series of commemorative events marking some of the most important events in our history, the workshop aims to lay the foundation for an enduring collaboration among teachers, curriculum experts, heritage and cultural workers, activists, web developers, and research historians.

The keynote address at the workshop will be given by Dr. Eric Foner, DeWitt Clinton Professor of History at Columbia University.  One of the nation’s most prominent historians, Foner is one of only two people to have served as president of the Organization of American Historians (OAH), the American Historical Association (AHA), and the Society of American Historians (SAH).  His most recent book, the Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for History, as well as the Lincoln Prize and the Bancroft Prize (Foner’s second).

The workshop will take place in room 227 of the Addlestone Library on the College of Charleston campus. For further information, please contact Simon Lewis at lewiss@cofc.edu; 843-953-1920.

Vernon Burton to speak during the South Carolina Historical Society’s annual meeting

We are excited to announce that Vernon Burton will be speaking on “The Civil War, Emancipation Proclamation, and Abraham Lincoln” at this year’s Annual Meeting of the South Carolina Historical Society.  The event will be held at 12:00 on Saturday, Feb. 16th at the Carolina Yacht Club in Charleston.  Tickets are $65.00 and include lunch, Dr. Burton’s address, and a house tour.

To purchase tickets, go to www.schsonline.org and click on “events.”

PBS Film Highlights Abolitionists

PBS’s film series The Abolitionists follows anti-slavery activists  Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, Harriet Beecher Stowe, John Brown and Angelina Grimké as they “turn a despised fringe movement against chattel slavery into a force that literally changed the nation.”  The third and final installment of the series airs January 22, but each film is available online via PBS’s website.

UIS announces free massive open online course on Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation

LincolnThe University of Illinois Springfield will explore the importance of the Emancipation Proclamation in a new massive open online course (MOOC) during the spring semester. The free eight-week online course is open to anyone who wants to join world-wide.

For more information, click here.

150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation

Blog post from Carolyn Schriber

January 1, 2013, will mark the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation.  In my new book, The Road to Frogmore: Turning Slaves into Citizens, that day became a crucial turning point for my characters.  In one way or another they all witnessed the first reading of the proclamation and realized that their lives had changed forever.  One spontaneous incident in particular stays with me.  Here are two reactions to that incident taken from the book. The first contains an actual quote from the journal of the white commander of the First South Carolina Colored Regiment: 

Reverend Mansfield French had just presented Colonel [Thomas Wentworth] Higginson with the new flag of his regiment. Higginson unfurled it and held it high for all to see. Then, from somewhere within the crowd, an elderly black man with a wavering and cracked voice began to sing, “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee.” One by one, the people around him joined in. Those on the platform, startled at first by this unscheduled moment, stood transfixed as the notes swelled and flowed around them. 

Higginson wrote of the moment in his diary: “It seemed the choked voice of a race at last unloosed. Nothing could be more wonderfully unconscious; art could not have dreamed of a tribute to the day of jubilee that should be so affecting . . . Just think of it!—the first day they had ever had a country, the first flag they had ever seen which promised anything to their people.”


The second is a monologue spoken by  a Gullah woman, a former slave, who also witnessed the moment from crowd’s perspective:
 
Den we hasta walk some mo to de big army camp uh de new colored troop. Who’d a blieved dat dere could be a whole camp full uh colored soljers, all dressed up in uniforms an actin like white folk? Hastins, he say he know where we be gwine cause he kin smell de beeves a cookin.

It were a sight fuh behold. All dem black people dere, all dressit up in dere Sunday best, an de black soljers in dey uniforms, an de white folk ridin in on dere horses an carriages. Dere be a band on de platform in front, makin hand-clappin music, an eberbody be in a good mood.


Course, de white officers, dey all hasta make speeches, mostly bout what a great day it be, an why we should all be happy an grateful. Hastins mumble dat he be grateful when he git sumptin fuh eat, but I tells him fuh hush. Den dey start wavin flags round, an dat ol man Zekial, from Mr. Eustis’s place, he start singin “Muh Country ‘Tis uh Dee.” Eberting gots real quiet, an den folk start joinin in. Eben I starts singin, an Lawd know I caint sing much. 


Bout den, dis all start makin sense fuh me. Dey sayin we be really free, an dat nobody caint hinder we no mo. I bin singin dose words long time, but I neber blieved dem fore. I looks round an sees people cryin fuh joy. Aint dat be sumptin!

 

100th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation

Today–September 22, 2012– marks the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the preliminary issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation, the document which made freedom possible for roughly four million enslaved African Americans. Although the order did not take effect until January 1, 1863, Abraham Lincoln’s September 22 issuance created a timeline for the abolition of the long-standing American slavery system.  This document drastically altered the course of the Civil War and, consequently, American history by officially outlawing ownership of any human being, a practice which the U.S. Constitution had essentially ignored prior to the proclamation.  Immediately following the war, the order was further solidified and enforced throughout the entire nation (including the former Confederacy) by 1865’s 13th Amendment.  Though African Americans would endure a century of harsh discrimination until the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s, the Emancipation Proclamation marks the first monumental gain for racial equality in American history.