Black Charlestonians: A Social History, 1822-1885

Black Charlestonians: A Social History, 1822-1885

by Bernard E. Powers
     
 

This revisionist work delineates the major social and economic contours of the large black population in the pivotal Southern city of Charleston, S.C., historical seaport center for the slave trade. The work draws upon census data, manuscript collections, and newspaper accounts to expand our knowledge of this particular community of nineteenth-century black urbanites.… See more details below

Overview

This revisionist work delineates the major social and economic contours of the large black population in the pivotal Southern city of Charleston, S.C., historical seaport center for the slave trade. The work draws upon census data, manuscript collections, and newspaper accounts to expand our knowledge of this particular community of nineteenth-century black urbanites. Although the federal government codified the rights of African-Americans into law following the Civil War, it was the initiatives taken by black men and women that actually transformed the theoretical benefits of emancipation into clear achievement. Because of its large free black population, Charleston provided a case study of black social-class stratification and social mobility even before the war. Reconstruction only emphasized that stratification, and Powers examines in detail the aspirations and concessions that shaped the lives of the newly freed blacks - led by a black upper class that sometimes seemed more inclined to emulate white social mores than act as a vanguard for fundamental social change. Unlike most Reconstruction studies, which concentrate on politics, Black Charlestonians explores the era's vital socioeconomic challenges for blacks as they emerged into full citizenship in an important city in the South.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781557283641
Publisher:
University of Arkansas Press
Publication date:
11/01/1994
Pages:
384
Product dimensions:
6.69(w) x 9.45(h) x (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction1
1Slavery in Antebellum Charleston9
2Free Black Life in Antebellum and Civil War Charleston36
3"An Earnest Assertion of Manhood": The Quest for Civic and Political Equality73
4The Search for Economic Security: Labor and Work in Reconstruction Charleston100
5"The Great Work Before Us": Education as the Means to Elevate a Race136
6Class, Status, and Social Life in the Black Community160
7"Behold a New Zion": The Black Church189
8"An Equal Chance in the Race of Life": Postbellum Race Relations226
The Legacy of Reconstruction: A Postscript261
Appendix267
Notes277
Bibliography351
Index371

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