The Question of the Sesquicentennial: How Should We Remember the Civil War?

Posted on March 17, 2011

As the Civil War Sesquicentennial unfolds over the next several months, Southern Cultures (Emory University) is providing an online resource for scholars and students of the War, which includes new and featured content that explores the nation’s memory of the War and much more. This resource also includes all of the essays we’ve published over the last ten years on the Civil War from noted scholars and other great writers.

Our first offering for the Sesquicentennial is a new essay from former College of Charleston Professor and CLAW UK affiliate, David Gleeson (Northumbria University) that looks at how Confederate veterans used their status to post-War political advantage. In addition, among other offerings we’ll also provide a new essay from Peter Carmichael that suggests why competing schools of memory of Robert E. Lee provoke so many arguments.

Over 65,000 scholars and students around the world have read our content online and in print, including numerous Civil War experts and aficionados. For our new and archival Sesquicentennial content, please

The untold story of Octavius Catto and the first civil rights movement in America

Join Us on March 31, 2011 at 7:00 pm at Addleston Library, Room 227 for this exciting lecture and book signing.

He shared stages with Frederick Douglass and recruited black men for Lincoln’s armies. He played for a pioneering black baseball team, taught at a renowned Philadelphia black school, and fought for equality in the state house and the streets. His name was Octavius Catto, and he and his allies—men and women, black and white—waged their battles for civil rights a century before Birmingham and Selma.

Like the Freedom Riders of the modern civil rights movement, they braved the wrath of white policemen, politicians, mobs and murderers. Catto’s life was cut short at the moment when, as W.E.B. Du Bois wrote, African Americans “were first tasting freedom.”

In Tasting Freedom: Octavius Catto and the Battle for Equality in Civil War America (Publication Date: September 22, 2010), Pulitzer Prize winner Daniel R. Biddle and Murray Dubin chronicle the life and times of this charismatic leader in a movement of preachers, teachers, Underground Railroad agents and former slaves. Their white supporters ranged from pacifist Lucretia Mott to murderous John Brown.

Catto’s “band of brothers,” as they called themselves, anticipated Rosa Parks, Jackie Robinson, and Martin Luther King Jr. by nearly a century. They sat down in whites-only streetcars, challenged baseball’s color line and marched through a rain of eggs, epithets, brickbats and bullets to proclaim their right to vote. The story of their struggle to change America will change readers’ understanding of America’s racial history.

Daniel R. Biddle, the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Pennsylvania editor, has worked in nearly every phase of newspaper reporting and editing. His investigative stories on the courts won a Pulitzer Prize and other national awards. He has been a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University and has taught at the University of Pennsylvania. Murray Dubin, author of South Philadelphia: Mummers, Memories and the Melrose Diner, was a reporter and editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer for 34 years before leaving the newspaper in 2005.

Faculty Seminar – Dr. Tim Coates

Forced labor by Europeans and the Prison of Luanda, Angola 1881-1932

Dr. Tim Coates, Dept. of History, College of Charleston
Friday, March 18, 2011
3:15 PM
Addlestone Library, Room 227
205 Calhoun Street, Charleston, S.C.

Timothy Coates is a Professor of History at the College of Charleston and formerly the Vasco da Gama Visiting Professor of Portuguese History at Brown University. He has conducted research in Portugal, India, and Macau on grants from the Gulbenkian Foundation, the Fundacao Oriente, the Luso-American Development Foundation, and the American Institute of Indian Studies. Professor Coates organized two international conferences at the College of Charleston to celebrate the 500th anniversaries of Vasco da Gama’s arrival in India and Pedro Cabral in Brazil.

Civil War — Global Conflict

Posted on March 3, 2011

March 3-5, 2011
Conference: Civil War – Global Conflict

On March 4, 1865, with the Civil War all but over, Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated for the second time as President of the United States of America. In his justly celebrated inaugural address he called for healing in a reunited nation: “With malice toward none; with charity for all…let us strive on to finish the work we are in…to do all which may achieve and cherish a just, and a lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.”

In that same spirit, the CLAW program today begins its 4-year-long commemoration of the Civil War with a conference that reflects on the war as a global conflict. Some of the nation’s leading Civil War scholars will consider, among other things: how the international circulation of ideas about liberty, slavery, race, ethnicity, nationalism, imperialism, gender, and religion all helped to shape the conflict; how diplomacy and military strategy affected the war’s outcome; and how the war itself determined subsequent political alliances and military conventions.

As Lincoln’s second inaugural speech intimated, this is not a moment for bravado, nor even a moment for passive mourning, but a moment for settling down to carry on the unceasing work necessary to achieve the kind of understanding that might lead to a just and lasting peace.

The conference will take place at the Stern Center starting today at noon and running till 5:30 on Saturday. Full details are available at Please join us if you can.

Public Lecture

Posted on February 14, 2011

Freedom’s Teacher: The Life of Septima Clark

Thursday February 17, 2011
6 PM
Avery Research Center, 125 Bull Street
Katherine Mellen Charron, North Carolina State University

Freedom's TeacherCharron traces the life of Charleston’s legendary Civil Rights activist Septima Clark from her earliest years as a student, teacher, and community member in rural and urban South Carolina to her increasing radicalization as an activist following World War II, highlighting how Clark brought her life’s work to bear on the civil rights movement. Drawing on autobiographies and memoirs by fellow black educators, state educational records, papers from civil rights organizations, and oral histories, Charron argues that the schoolhouse served as an important institutional base for the movement. Using Clark’s life as a lens, Charron sheds valuable new light on Southern black women’s activism in national, state, and judicial politics, from the Progressive Era to the civil rights movement and beyond. This book won the 2010 Julia Cherry Spruill Prize from the Southern Association of Women Historians.

Writing the South in Fact, Fiction, and Poetry

Posted on January 19, 2011

February 17-19, 2011


Writing the South in Fact, Fiction, and Poetry

Coastal Carolina University will host an international conference of distinguished writers from the worlds of literature and of scholarship February 17-19.

The conference, “Writing the South in Fact, Fiction, and Poetry,” has been organized as a tribute to the career of Charles Joyner, Coastal Professor from 1980 to 2006, former President of the Southern Historical Association, and author of Down by the Riverside.

Joyner was the inaugural Burroughs Distinguished Professor of Southern History and Culture and Director of the Waccamaw Center at Coastal Carolina University. The Humanities Council conferred its Governor’s Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Humanities on Charles Joyner for his contributions to public understanding of southern history and culture.

The featured writers include three Pulitzer Prize winners and an Emmy winner. In sessions at the Wall Auditorium, they will reflect on their own efforts to understand and portray the American South.

The conference is supported by the Edwards College of Humanities and Fine Arts, the History Department, and the Waccamaw Center for Historical and Cultural Studies, the Burroughs Distinguished Professor of Southern History and Culture at Coastal, and by a grant from the South Carolina Humanities Council. The conference is organized by Vernon Burton, former Burroughs Distinguished Professor of Southern History and Culture at Coastal and now of Clemson University.

The conference is open to students, teachers, and the general public free of charge.

This program is sponsored by The Humanities CouncilSC, a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities; inspiring, engaging and enriching South Carolinians with programs on literature, history, culture and heritage.

Conference Schedule

Public Lecture

The Market Preparation of Carolina Rice

Thursday January 27, 2011
6 PM
Avery Research Center, 125 Bull Street
Dr. Richard Porcher, emeritus, The Citadel

Rice was introduced into South Carolina in 1685 and spread to Georgia and North Carolina. The industry ended in 1911. The production of Carolina rice for market reached its zenith in the antebellum period, made possible by the invention of advanced machines for threshing and milling. Richard Porcher will focus on how he and co-author William Robert Judd used artifacts from the field and archives to diagram how these machines were constructed and operated. Four sources of power were used to drive the threshing and milling machines: manual, animal, water and steam. The evolution of each of these power systems will be outlined.

Public Lecture

African Nations & Ethnic Identity in the Mina Coast & in Brazil: An Atlantic Comparative Approach

Thursday January 20, 2011
6 PM
Avery Research Center, 125 Bull Street, Charleston, SC 29401

Dr. Luis Nicolau Pares, a visiting professor from Universidade Federal da Bahia and National Humanities Center Fellow, will present his research on the origin of some African ethnic groups currently living in Brazil and the Americas, and draw similarities in their methods of worship and way of life. Luis Nicolau Parés has a Ph.D. in Afro-Brazilian Religion from the University of London.

Faculty Seminar – Harlan Greene

The Holloways: Legacy of an American Family

Faculty Seminar Series: Harlan Greene, Archivist, Special Collections

Friday, January 21, 2011
3:15 PM
Addlestone Library, Room 227, 205 Calhoun Street

“The Holloways: Legacy of an American Family.” Free people of color have always occupied an intriguing place in Southern and Charleston history. Locally, the Holloway family was one of the most pre-eminent free people of color clans. Although the brick and stone memorials they erected to their family and their class have been destroyed, a fragile paper scrapbook survives. Housed at the Avery Research Center and recently restored, the volume created in the early 20th century not only documents their social, legal, cultural and slave owning activities before the civil war, but dramatically shows how the family’s status declined in the Jim Crow era. The scrapbook, an attempt to shape historical memory, is not only a memorial but a plea sent out to future historians to not erase the Holloways and their class from history, something they saw happening – and which inspired the scrapbook’s creation. Harlan Greene, former Director of Archival and Reference services at Avery, now Senior Manuscript and Reference Archivist at Addlestone Library, will share his observations regarding the scrapbook and the article based on it in a forthcoming in the

Public Lecture

Posted on November 16, 2010

The Slave Body in the World of Southern Medicine

Thursday November 18, 2010
6 PM
Avery Research Center, 125 Bull Street, Charleston, SC 29401

Dr. Stephen Kenny, Lecturer, University of Liverpool, UK will discuss the development of professional medicine in the Old South, especially the role of slave patients and the uses of slave bodies in that process. This lecture is co-sponsored by Avery Research Center, CLAW, and the Waring Historical Library.