Several generations of a family on Smith's Plantation in South Carolina. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress.
Meet black legislators, sharecroppers, and white farm owners who rebuilt the South after the Civil War.
- After Slavery: Race, Labor and Politics in the Post-Emancipation Carolinas
This virtual textbook provides essays and people's own voices during Reconstruction.
- SCIWAY-Reconstruction and Restoration
Learn more about how people lived in South Carolina after the Civil War.
- Major Events in Reconstruction Politics
Read a synopsis of political events of South Carolina between 1865 and 1895.
- America's Reconstruction
See images and read more about the events of Reconstruction throughout the South.
- The Failure of Reconstruction
Watch this video to see photographs and learn more about the struggles of African Americans in the years after the Civil War.
- Reconstruction Quiz
Can you answer these questions about Reconstruction?
- Franklin G. Burroughs
Franklin Burroughs was a successful business leader in Horry County that dreamed of the Myrtle Beach area as a coastal resort.
- Francis Cardozo
Francis Cardozo was a leading political figure in the Radical Reconstruction political environment.
- Daniel Henry Chamberlain
Daniel Chamberlain was the governor of South Carolina from 1874-1876.
- James Lide Coker
James Coker was a successful business owner in Darlington County and helped establish Welsh Neck High School, which became Coker College.
- Archibald Grimke
Archibald Grimke was a lawyer, journalist, community leader, and involved in the early NAACP. The abolitionist Grimke sisters were his aunts.
- Benjamin R. Tillman
Ben Tillman was the governor of South Carolina from 1890-194 who founded what is now Clemson University, regulated the railroads, and helped write a constitution designed to disenfranchise African American citizens with Jim Crow laws.
- Justice Jonathan Jasper Wright
Justice Wright was the first African American to practice law in South Carolina.
- The Church in the Southern Black Community
Read narratives and church histories that tell the story of Christianity's role in the lives of the southern black community.
- The Rise of the Ku Klux Klan in the Carolinas
Read more about the history of the Ku Klux Klan, an organization that used violence against African Americans and sympathetic whites to maintain political and social white supremacy.
- Education Among the Freedmen
This pamphlet from the Pennsylvania Branch of the American Freedmen's Union Commission is designed to raise funds to support a school for freedmen in St. Helena.
- Pirates, Plankton, & Pelicans
Explore a replica of a schooner that was originally built by the Samuel J. Pregnall & Bros. Shipyard Shipyard in Charleston in 1879.
- Woodrow Wilson Family Home
Take a virtual tour of the Columbia home built in 1872 that was home to a teenage Woodrow Wilson, who would later become the 28th president of the United States.
In Their Own Words
- A Word of Warning: A Former Slave Urges Constitutional Caution
Civil War hero Robert Smalls asks the governor not to disenfranchise many African American (and poor white) voters by using a poll tax and literacy test to vote.
- Recollections of the Inhabitants, Localities, Superstitions, and Ku Klux Outrages of the Carolinas. By a "Carpet-Bagger" Who Was Born and Lived There.
Read an account of life in North and South Carolina by an African American legislator and attorney
- From a New England Woman's Diary in Dixie in 1865
Read the experiences of two northern white women who opened a school in Edisto Island for former slaves.
- Testimony of a South Carolina Freedman before the American Freedmen's Inquiry Commission
Beaufort, SC was under federal occupation for most of the Civil War. Harry McMillan, age 40, tells officers about life as a slave and how life is changing for him and other former slaves.
- The Clouds Beyond
During the Great Depression, interviewers with the WPA recorded the lives and stories of former slaves in South Carolina. This interview is from 1939 in Blythewood, SC and captures the recollections of a former slave who was just 12 years old when General Sherman came through the state.
Government & Freedman's Bureau
- Freedmen's Bureau Online
The Freedmen's Bureau was a federal agency in the southern states to help former slaves, including providing emergency food and housing and helping the freedmen adjust to their conditions of freedom.
- Petition written by Elizabeth Jenkins after Civil War when divorce rights were given to women, 1869
Read this petition by a woman seeking a divorce in 1869 in Spartanburg County.
- After Words with Philip Dray, author of Capitol Men: The Epic Story of Reconstruction Through the Lives of the First Black Congressmen
Watch this interview of a writer who explores the political lives of the first African American Congressmen.
One way we know of events and political "moods" in South Carolina is by reading the papers and magazines of the era. Read these articles and political cartoons to explore how citizens reacted to lynching, African American political representation, speeches, and more.