New CLAW Series Publication

Cover for Black Freedom in the Age of Slavery

Black Freedom in the Age of Slavery

Race, Status, and Identity in the Urban Americas

John Garrison Marks

Prior to the abolition of slavery, thousands of African-descended people in the Americas lived in freedom. Their efforts to navigate daily life and negotiate the boundaries of racial difference challenged the foundations of white authority. Black Freedom in the Age of Slavery examines how these individuals built lives in freedom for themselves and their families in two of the Atlantic World’s most important urban centers: Cartagena, along the Caribbean coast of modern-day Colombia, and Charleston, in the lowcountry of North America’s Atlantic coast.

Built upon research conducted on three continents, this book takes a comparative approach to understanding the contours of black freedom in the Americas. It examines how various paths to freedom, responses to the Haitian Revolution, opportunities to engage in skilled labor, involvement with social institutions, and the role of the church all helped shape the lived experience of free people of color in the Atlantic World.

USC Press review quote for Black Freedom in the Age of Slavery.

CLAW Partner: The Spirit of South Carolina

Photo of the Spirit of SC

Inspired by the idea of Port Cities conference, CLAW faculty partnered with sailors from the Spirit of South Carolina to produce a short film about the culture of sailing. You can watch the film online at: Spirit of South Carolina: A Short Story of Life at Sea.

Image from Spirit of South Carolina: A Short Story of Life at Sea - YouTube
109-Year-Old Veteran and His Secrets to Life Will Make You Smile | Short Film Showcase - Duration: 12:39.
Spirit of South Carolina: A Short Story of Life at Sea – YouTube
109-Year-Old Veteran and His Secrets to Life Will Make You Smile | Short Film Showcase – Duration: 12:39.

Earlier in the Spring semester, as a part of the LCWA World Affairs Signature Series Sea Life, Dr. Carl Wise and Dr. Blake Scott coordinated an oral history booth and educational talk aboard the Spirit of South Carolina.

In July of 2016 the Spirit of South Carolina was also featured in a Fox 24 Charleston segment titled Lowcountry Living: Spirit of South Carolina.     

Dis/placements: Revisitations of Home

Dis/Placements: Revisitations of Home Logo

Dis/placements: Revisitations of Home is an online exhibition presented by the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at the College of Charleston School of the Arts in Charleston, South Carolina.

Ideas of home have taken on new meaning in this fraught moment of pandemic. For people less fortunate, home can represent insecurity and be charged with fear; and for those on the frontlines of COVID-19 it may be a place newly tenuous, frequented for momentary respite at best.

Dis/placements features ten artists whose works deal with issues of displacement from their ancestral homeland in various capacities. Artists were paired with writers who have offered their own reflections on the work and its relationship to the concepts of home and displacement. When taken together, this collection of work provides an opportunity to consider the traits and aspects that are both similar and jarringly disparate–from Asia to Africa, to Europe and the Middle East.

Hung Liu, Imperial Garden, 2014. Cast resin mixed media on box, hand painted by the artist, 60" x 97" Image courtesy of Trillium Graphics
Hung Liu, Imperial Garden, 2014. Cast resin mixed media on box, hand painted by the artist, 60″ x 97″ Image courtesy of Trillium Graphics.

Port Cities in the Atlantic World Conference Cancelled

Dear scholars and friends, 

Thank you for your interest in the 2020 Port Cities in the Atlantic Conference May 14-16, 2020 sponsored and organized by the Carolina Lowcountry and Atlantic World Program here at the College of Charleston.  We had a wonderful schedule prepared and were very excited to hear more about your research. Unfortunately, given the global pandemic of COVID-19 and the various restrictions imposed by the College of Charleston, the state of South Carolina, and the nation, the conference has had to be cancelled.  This decision was not made lightly. As disappointing as the cancellation may be, health is of the utmost concern. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience and are happy to answer any questions that you may have.  Our hope is that you’ll continue to support the mission and programming of CLAW and keep an eye out for future opportunities to visit us here in Charleston.  Next Spring CLAW is partnering with the French Colonial Historical Society for a conference in Charleston. 

All of us at the College of Charleston send our sincerest wishes for your continued health and well-being. We are grateful to have connected with you and your research.  Thank you. 

Warmest wishes,

Dr. Sandra Slater 
Director, Carolina Lowcountry and Atlantic World Program 
Associate Professor of History 

Remarks Delivered on the Occasion of the Unveiling of Historic Marker Commemorating the 1868 South Carolina Constitutional Convention

Remarks Delivered on the Occasion of the Unveiling of Historic Marker Commemorating the 1868 South Carolina Constitutional Convention

2:30 pm, March 16th, 2018
Corner of Broad and Meeting Streets, Charleston, South Carolina

Ehren Foley, historian with the National Register of Historic Places Program
I am extremely gratified to be here today and to remember the events that occurred on this spot 150 years ago. I am not sure if this marks the end of the sesquicentennial of the Civil War that began here in Charleston some eight years ago, or if it marks the beginning of a new public memory of Reconstruction, one that will find voice at this conference and at the newly established Reconstruction Era National Monument in Beaufort. Maybe a bit of both.

It is fitting that we meet here in Charleston, not only because this is where the convention met, but also because this is a city with a long tradition of remembering its past. We look around the city and we are confronted constantly with stories about the past. Or, at least, certain stories about the past, because Charleston also has a long history of forgetting, and the stories left untold are at least as abundant as the ones that are. It would be untrue, however, to say that the story of Reconstruction has simply been forgotten these past 150 years. For much of that time white South Carolinians remembered Reconstruction too well, or, at least, a certain narrative about that period, and used that story as a justification for racial segregation and the disenfranchisement of more than half of the state’s population. There was no room in that memory to celebrate the Constitution of 1868 or the promise that it held for racial and social progress.

Today we take one step to insert that story into Charleston’s public memory. But we fool ourselves if we think that we exist outside of history or that our monuments can speak for all-time any more so than can the monuments of past generations. If we had less hubris perhaps we would make our monuments of lesser stock than granite or aluminum, so that they would fade slowly from the landscape, as we all are destined to do, and leave future generations less encumbered by our words, if not our actions. Absent that, we can at least do our best to be honest and act as good stewards of our past, because we know, Charleston knows, better than most places, the power of the past to encumber; to spur division, hatred, and violence. As we stand in the shadow of the federal courthouse where Dylann Roof was recently convicted of the murder of nine souls, we remember the power of bad history to produce evil outcomes.

But the past can empower, as well as encumber. It can remind us that, 150 years ago, Black men across South Carolina, nearly all of them former slaves, cast ballots for the first time. That 150 years ago, those newly enfranchised voters elected a group of delegates, the majority of them Black, who met on this spot to rewrite the state’s fundamental law. That 150 years ago, South Carolina embarked on an experiment in biracial democracy that held out the promise of civil equality and access to education for all, regardless of race.

There is promise in that story. If so much progress was possible 150 years ago, then we can know that progress is also possible in our time. But we are also reminded that after 1868 came 1895; that history is not linear; that revolutions can go backwards; and that the road towards progress is a long and trying one. But if Charleston can make room in its public memory to include a celebration of the Constitution of 1868, then I will take that as a small measure of progress for this day. Thank you.


Dr. Bruce Baker, history lecturer at Newcastle University
Constitutional conventions are an important part of democracy. They embody the basic idea that, as Thomas Rainsborough said in 1647 during the English Civil War, “every man that is to live under a government ought first by his own consent to put himself under that government.” That is exactly what a constitutional convention does: it allows those who are going to live under a government to take part in shaping the basic principles of that government.

South Carolina has had a number of constitutions. Those of you who have lived in South Carolina or followed South Carolina politics for some time will not be surprised to learn that it has not been a steady march of progress towards ever greater freedom. The Provincial Congress of South Carolina adopted the state’s first constitution in 1776 but did not submit it to the people for ratification. While the 1776 constitution had allowed all men who owned land to vote, the 1778 constitution that replaced it required that they own at least fifty acres of land. Another constitution was adopted in 1790, and that one stayed in place until South Carolina left the United States in 1860 and adopted a new constitution to fit in with its new place within the so-called Confederate States of America on April 8, 1861. After four years of education about the difficulties of setting up a new nation courtesy of the United States army and navy, and those within South Carolina who had previously been enslaved and those who continued to consider themselves citizens of the United States, there was a need for a new constitution. President Andrew Johnson wanted to bring the states of the so-called Confederacy back into normal relations with the United States government and to end the war powers which had the capacity to effect radical changes in the South, so he appointed provisional governors. A new state constitution was written in 1865 to acknowledge the end of slavery, but it did little to change the aristocratic nature of South Carolina’s government, and its provisions tried to ensure that as little as possible changed in the lives of black South Carolinians.

All this changed after the Radical Republicans gained a huge majority in the Congressional elections of 1866. In March 1867, the Reconstruction Acts were passed, requiring southern states to create new constitutions in order to be readmitted to Congress. What was different this time was that former Confederates were disfranchised and the constitution had to be written by “a convention of delegates elected by the male citizens of said State, twenty-one years old and upward, of whatever race, color, or previous condition.” The election for the South Carolina constitutional convention was held on November 19 and 20, 1867. For the first time in South Carolina’s history, black men voted in an election. Most whites registered to vote but then stayed away from the polls, trying to defeat the constitution by making sure that fewer than 50% of the registered voters participated in the election. But over 90% of black men who were registered voted, and the convention was held from January 14 to March 17, 1868. 49 of the delegates were white, with two thirds of those being originally from the South. The remaining 72 delegates were African American, and over half of them had been enslaved at the beginning of the war. It was by a very long shot the most democratic political body ever assembled in South Carolina, though it would be another fifty years before women were allowed to vote.

The Constitution that they wrote created modern South Carolina. It gave women much greater freedom than ever before by being able to control their own wealth and to get divorced. It created a public school system that was open to all students, whatever their race. It shored up support of the university and mandated the creation of a normal school for educating teachers and an agricultural college for education farmers and mechanics. It provided support for citizens who were blind or deaf or mentally ill. No one could be imprisoned for being in debt, and people could hold public office whether or not they owned property.


Dr. Bernard Powers, professor of history at the College of Charleston

William Faulkner’s now famous quote : “The past is never dead. It’s not even past” has special application in Charleston.  This is a city where visitors and residents constantly, usually effortlessly and even thoughtlessly move between past and present routinely.  Sometimes we’ll step away from our routines and this applies particularly to people such as yourselves, and in moments of reflection we will take note of some of the more striking places where this connection between past and present appears with poignancy.  For example right here we stand proximate to St. Michael’s Church, an iconic  building in the Charleston landscape.  But it is a building partially constructed by slave brick layers.  One of the men who rang the bells here for decades, Washington McLean Gadsden, began doing so as a slave.  I love to hear the bells of St. Michaels but in the antebellum years, when they rang in late evening those bells sounded the curfew for slaves to be off the streets.  Knowing that history doesn’t diminish the music’s beauty; it gives the listener even greater appreciation for it.  It is an argument for telling the whole story.

There are special places in this city that allow you to hear and feel things that you cannot in other places.  Every year in the fall we have a MOJA Festival in Charleston which celebrates the African Arts of the Western Hemisphere.   One of the special locations is behind the Customs House on East Bay Street.

During MOJA some of the celebrations occur back there and when the musicians begin to play the conga drums and you look toward the water and that rhythm begins to touch you and you begin to feel something akin to the thrill the young W. E. B. DuBois felt when he first heard the spirituals.  And you recognize the sound and the feeling as the siren call of the African ancestors who still long for recognition, veneration and a proper place.

As you move about the city to other places and you stop, look and listen; you will readily observe that something is missing.  You’ll maybe experience not voices but deafening silences from other parts of  Charleston’s landscape and those silences must be filled.   Fortunately I can say that substance has replaced some of the absences.  I can remember in the mid-1970s taking house tours in the city where if they were referred to at all, slaves were typically called servants and out at Fort Sumter you learned more about tariffs as the cause of the Civil War than about slavery.  Fortunately, these things have changed dramatically over the decades.  In recent years a collectivity of public institutions, individuals, community groups, preservation oriented organizations and elements in the city government itself, have mounted an effort to give voice to those silences, to tell a more comprehensive story about Charleston’s history.  There are various markers in the historic district identifying important sites from the slave trade, to the Civil War to the civil rights era.  The city now runs the Old Slave Mart Museum and is an important force behind the International African American Museum.  It hasn’t been easy; there have been many discouraging moments, even years.  It took a broad coalition of people almost 20 years of protracted effort to finally get the Denmark Vesey Monument erected at Hampton Park, a place where over 200 Union soldiers were once buried.   The CLAW Program has always been in the avant garde of these efforts providing support and encouragement.  Now the conference “Freedoms Gained and Lost” devoted to Reconstruction continues in that same vein to address one of the city’s most deafening and important silences.   The marker will permanently recognize the era’s bold experiment in interracial democracy and let it encourage us to continue the struggle to achieve its highest ideals and that “new birth of freedom” for which so many lived and died.


Michael Boulware Moore, president of the International African American Museum
Robert Smalls participated in the South Carolina Constitutional Convention of 1868, most notably, by offering legislation that created here in SC the first, free, compulsory, statewide public school system in America. It is legislation that, to this day, stands as the prevailing law. There are many stories passed down through the generations of our family that speak to Robert’s fundamental commitment to education. It is said that it pained him deeply that he was legally prevented from learning to read and write as a youngster. After he won his freedom, one of the very first things he did with his reward money was to buy the services of two tutors who taught him: one, first thing in the morning and then another when he returned home in the evening. Beyond that, he ensured that his children were also exposed to the best education available. In fact, my great grandmother, Elizabeth, was sent all the way from her home in Beaufort, SC to The Allen School in West Newton, Massachusetts as a young girl in the early 1870’s in search of the best education available to her. In an event that, incredibly, people are still talking about, on July 4, 1872 – Elizabeth read the Declaration of Independence in the public square in Beaufort. 2,000 freedmen – it is said – were in awe of this little girl and, at that moment, understood the power of education. At a time when most could not read, and when it was exceedingly rare for a young girl to be able to do so, Elizabeth read that document with pristine diction and clarity – an attribute that she became known for throughout her life. This reading was a testament to the focus on education that has been in my family for generations, and continues to this day. After Robert – who was the first in our family able to access education of any kind, all of my parents and grandparents were educators who earned PhD’s – three from Ivy League institutions, and my great grandfather – Samuel Jones Bampfield from Charleston – earned a law degree from Lincoln University in 1872. Perhaps the smartest of them all was my maternal grandmother who did so well throughout her college career that she was exempted from taking finals her last year. DNA testing tells us that we are descended from Mende people in Sierra Leone. They are known to have a focus on education. Who knows if what drove Robert and what has become a part of our family to this day is a literal part of our DNA – flowing through our veins from our days in Africa but Robert certainly activated that predilection at the earliest opportunity. The Constitutional Convention of 1868 was a time when Robert Smalls gave voice to his aspirations around education – desperately wanting to instill in others what he aspired to himself. At a time when formerly enslaved people were coming out of the cocoon of slavery, 1868 was an early time when the laws – at least for a while – provided a more even societal platform. Robert Smalls had an indelible hand in that effort.

Series: “When the War Is Over: Memory, Division, and Healing”

I was angry with my friend;
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.
-William Blake, “A Poison Tree”

“When the War is Over”: A series of public events dedicated to thinking about building Community After Periods of Slavery, Persecution, Genocide, or War.

In much the same way that trauma in an individual’s past causes psychological damage, communities that have experienced traumatic violence also bear psychological scars from that experience. Psychiatrists have for many years asserted the value of the “talking cure,” arguing that healing comes from addressing, not suppressing, the memory of the traumatic event. In the US military, for example, treatment of PTSD is generally informed by the work of psychiatrist Judith Herman, author of the now-classic 1992 study Trauma and Recovery. In the cases of traumatized communities, the tendency in recent years has also been to attempt “talking cures”; numerous countries have opted to establish truth commissions as a way to stabilize post-conflict situations. Hoping to avoid the potentially endless cycle of tit-for-tat vengeful “justice,” countries as diverse as Chile, Sierra Leone, and South Africa have used truth commissions to deal with their violent pasts not by repressing memories but by bringing them into the open.

Despite the successes of the Civil Rights Movement, the scars of slavery and of institutionalized racism in the United States are still present, manifesting themselves in a variety of ways, including continued systemic discrimination as well as individual acts of violence. In the latter case, the mass murder of nine of our fellow citizens while at prayer in the Mother Emanuel Church in June 2015 reminded us all that Charleston, our beautiful home city, is also a site of trauma, suffering from the suppressed memories of native genocide, two centuries of racialized slavery, and a century of legalized racial discrimination. Although contemporary historians have put the story of these traumas into print, the visible, material landscape still suppresses the trauma: public memorials and the demographics of urban space still render Native American and African American experience virtually invisible.

Elsewhere in the world, communities that have experienced similar trauma and racial, ethnic, or sectarian division have begun to address the effect of statues, monuments, and memorials honoring eminent historical figures whose ideologies and policies are out of step with contemporary assertions of universal human rights. In perpetuating a positive memory of leaders like Cecil Rhodes, for example, these memorials enshrine and set in stone attitudes we now consider to be anathema. Campaigns to remove statues honoring Rhodes from places of honor in South Africa and in his native England have led to wider campaigns for social justice, including equal access to education for all.

In the US, the last year has seen a wave of local initiatives to remove or modify statues and memorials honoring Civil War generals and politicians, as well as efforts to rename buildings named in honor of post-War politicians who advocated for and/or profited from racial segregation. These initiatives have in turn spawned renewed violence, notably in Charlottesville, Virginia last August. Here in Charleston, confusion still reigns over how to handle the memory of John C. Calhoun, whose statue towers above the city in Marion Square.

As an academic institution, dedicated to the notion that wisdom itself is liberty, we at the College of Charleston feel called upon to use our expertise in the humanities and social sciences to provide an intellectual framework to negotiate these contentious issues. “When the War Is Over:  Memory, Division, and Healing” thus brings together in a loosely unified series, a collection of public lectures and forums that address historical trauma and the ways in which sites that have experienced such trauma have moved, or might move towards building sustainable, peaceful community. In broadening the discussion from Charleston and the US to include the Northern Irish “Troubles” and the Holocaust, the series aims to provide a discursive context within which a fundamental commitment to human rights governs policy decisions that lead toward peaceable coexistence, the eradication of racism and other forms of discrimination, and the prevention of genocide.

We warmly invite the public to attend these events as we strive to move toward a better, more inclusive understanding of our common but divided history. A full list of the events will be available at

Hand painted copy B of William Blake’s “A Poison Tree”, 1794 currently held at the British Museum.


CONFERENCE ANNOUNCEMENT: “Transforming Public History from Charleston to the Atlantic World” Call for Proposals DEADLINE EXTENSION to December 15, 2016


CONFERENCE ANNOUNCEMENT: “Transforming Public History from Charleston to the Atlantic World” Call for Proposals DEADLINE EXTENSION to December 15, 2016

Conference website:

“Transforming Public History from Charleston to the Atlantic World” will be hosted by the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture, the Carolina Lowcountry and Atlantic World Program, and the Addlestone Library at the College of Charleston on June 14-17, 2017. Conference planners are seeking proposals for workshops, roundtable discussions, panels, and individual papers from public history professionals, scholars, educators, librarians, archivists, and artists that address issues surrounding the interpretation, preservation, memorialization, commemoration, and public application of major themes in local, regional, and Atlantic World history.

For information on how to submit a proposal, please see:

In partnership with various local, national, and international cultural heritage organizations, academic institutions, and historic sites, the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture, the Carolina Lowcountry and the Atlantic World Program (CLAW), and the Addlestone Library are hosting a conference on transforming public history practices from Charleston to the Atlantic World to be held at the College of Charleston and other partner sites in Charleston, South Carolina, June 15-17, 2017, with a pre-conference day of workshops on June 14th.

Based on the United Nation’s declaration of 2015-2024 as the International Decade for People of African Descent, and the conference location in Charleston, South Carolina, on the second anniversary of the tragic shooting at the Mother Emanuel Church, the conference will particularly highlight speakers and topics relevant to transforming practices of interpreting the history of slavery and its race and class legacies in Charleston and historically interconnected local, regional, and international sites.

Starting in the fifteenth century, the Atlantic Ocean became a corridor of trade and migration—both voluntary and coerced—between Africa, Europe, and the Americas. In the centuries that followed, the violent encounters, power struggles, cultural exchanges, labor systems, and economic ties surrounding these trans-Atlantic connections became ever more complex and globally intertwined, producing distinctive race, class, and gender experiences and hierarchies throughout the Atlantic World and beyond. How have cultural heritage institutions, public historians, scholars, artists, activists, filmmakers, and educators in various international regions engaged with and depicted the diverse histories of the Atlantic World? How have these representations changed over time, and how will they continue to change in the twenty-first century?


May Announcements from the Lowcountry Digital History Initiative

Emanuel AME Church after the Young Preservationists' event, photograph by Brittany Lavelle Tulla, July 8, 2015, Charleston, South Carolina.
Emanuel AME Church after the Young Preservationists’ event, photograph by Brittany Lavelle Tulla, July 8, 2015, Charleston, South Carolina.

The Lowcountry Digital History Initiative ( is an online exhibitions platform hosted by the Lowcountry Digital Library (LCDL) in partnership with the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture, the Program in the Carolina Lowcountry and Atlantic World (CLAW), College of Charleston-Citadel Graduate College Master of Arts in History Program, and the College of Charleston Race and Social Justice Initiative. We are pleased to offer the following announcements and updates:

New Online Exhibitions:
As of May 2016, LDHI features nineteen online exhibitions that highlight underrepresented histories in the Lowcountry region and interconnected Atlantic World, with many more in progress. Our latest exhibitions include:

A Tribute to the Mother Emanuel Church

Project Partners: Co-curated by Lowcountry Africana, the Lowcountry Digital History Initiative, and the College of Charleston’s Avery Research Center in partnership with the Mother Emanuel Church.

This online tribute documents local, statewide, and national responses to the tragic mass shooting that took place at the Emanuel AME Church, also known as Mother Emanuel, in Charleston, South Carolina, on June 17, 2015. Through photographs from a range of sources, this visual account reveals an overwhelming outpouring of emotion and grief for the victims, survivors, and their families, as well as powerful efforts in the weeks and months following the shooting to address racial injustice and violence. Published May 2016.

Avery: The Spirit That Would Not Die, 1865-2015

Project Partners: The College of Charleston’s Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture

2015 marked the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Avery Normal Institute and the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the Avery Research Center at the College of Charleston. This online exhibition explores over one hundred and fifty years of Avery history—from its origins as a school for Black Charlestonians starting in 1865, to its current form as a center for promoting the history and culture of the African diaspora with an emphasis on Charleston and the South Carolina Lowcountry. Published May 2016.

Charleston’s Cotton Factory, 1880-1900

Project Author: Susan Millar Williams, Trident Technical College

This exhibition traces the history of the cotton factory in Charleston, South Carolina, from 1880 to 1900, and examines how mill workers—black and white, male and female—struggled for better working conditions in the contentious political, social, and economic contexts of the late nineteenth century. Published December 2015.

Liverpool’s Abercromby Square and the Confederacy During the U.S. Civil War

Project Authors: Christopher Williams, Jim Powell, and Joseph Kelly, University of Liverpool

This exhibition explores connections between the U.S. South and Great Britain during the American Civil War, particularly through trading activities led by a group of influential businessmen who lived in Liverpool’s Abercromby Square. Despite widespread popular opinion against slavery by the mid-eighteenth century in Great Britain, the fortunes of this elite neighborhood were still intricately tied to the fate of the Confederacy. Published December 2015.

New Partnerships – Race and Social Justice Initiative:
In late June 2015, the Avery Research Center, Addlestone Library, African American Studies, and the Lowcountry Digital History Initiative (LDHI) at the College of Charleston received a major grant from Google to launch the Race and Social Justice Initiative (RSJI)  in response to recent tragic events in the Charleston area, including the shooting death of Walter Scott by a police officer in April 2015 and the mass shooting at the Emanuel AME Church in June 2015. With this support, RSJI is working with numerous partners to facilitate public events, exhibitions, and various projects that promote awareness of the history and ongoing struggles of racial injustice in Charleston, South Carolina, and throughout the United States.

Thank you to our 2015-2016 Graduate Students!
Special thanks to our graduate assistants from the College of Charleston-Citadel Graduate College Joint Master of Arts in History Program: Monica Bowman, Ciera Gordon, Jamie Mansbridge, and Leah Worthington. They’ve done wonderful work with LDHI, and best of luck to our graduates!

Help us share:
LDHI hopes to be a growing resource in the Charleston area and beyond. Please feel free to share LDHI in the classroom, on websites and social media, or through public talks or programming. Follow the Lowcountry Digital Library (LCDL) on Twitter and Facebook for more LDHI and LCDL updates!

We’d love to hear from you:
We are interested in your feedback! Please contact Project Coordinator Amanda Noll ( or Co-Director Mary Battle ( with any comments, suggestions, or questions you have about current and future LDHI projects, including new project partnerships.


2015 Hines Prize Presentation and Faculty Seminar

Left, former Dean Samuel Hines and right, Dr. Huw T. David


Dr. Huw T. David, Director of Development at the Rothermere American Institute at Oxford University, was awarded the biennial Hines Prize by former Dean Sam Hines on Thursday, April 14th, for his manuscript, The Atlantic at Work: Britain and South Carolina’s Trading Networks, 1730 to 1790.

The prize, endowed by former College of Charleston Dean Samuel Hines, is awarded every other year for the best first manuscript on a topic relating to the Carolina Lowcountry and/or Atlantic World.

“David’s manuscript presents a compendious history of the trade relations between South Carolina and Great Britain in the eighteenth century, both in the decades leading up to the Revolutionary War and immediately following the Revolution,” CLAW director Simon Lewis said.

David’s manuscript derives from his thesis at Oxford University, for which he used a collective biography of  some two dozen “Carolina traders.” His study offers new insights into the political economy of Carolina trade with Great Britain and its impact on Atlantic politics in the era of the American Revolution. David’s study reveals how these men’s trading activity at first acted as a stabilizing force but from the 1760s on aggravated intra-imperial discord. After the Revolution, according to David, Carolinians exercised greater commercial discretion than contemporaries and historians have appreciated. David’s work thus challenges contentions of South Carolina’s continuing commercial subservience to British trading interests.

In the context of remarkably strong competition, with manuscripts on topics ranging from the Civil War to African and African American watermen, the Hines Prize committee praised David’s manuscript especially for its placing of the Lowcountry squarely at the center of Atlantic World geo-politics in the critical decades before, during, and immediately after American independence.

David works as a Development Officer at the Rothermere American Institute at Oxford University. He has previously published a number of articles in academic journals and he has held visiting fellowships at institutions including the University of South Carolina and the Huntington Library, Los Angeles.

Following the presentation, Dr. David lead a faculty seminar which discussed the notion of “Transatlantic Absenteeism” in colonial South Carolina.

Congratulations, Dr. David!