Smith Family

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.



  • 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

Government & Freedman's Bureau

Media Commentary

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.