Upcoming CLAW/Avery Lecture: Nov. 15, 6:00 pm, “A Usable Past: Debating the Slave Rebellion of 1816 and the Politics of History in Barbados (An Anthropological Perspective),” Dr. Phil Scher, University of Oregon

Avery Research Center, McKinley Washington AuditoriumDirections to Avery: http://avery.cofc.edu/visit/mapsdirections/

Dr. Phil Scher presents his research on the politics of heritage and cultural identity in Barbados. In early March of the year 2000, a very public debate erupted across Barbados’ national newspapers regarding the identity of a designated Barbadian national hero: Bussa. The issue of who Bussa was, was embedded in a more controversial inquiry: Did Bussa play a significant leadership role in Barbados’ most important and signal slave uprising in 1816? What was and is at stake in such debates is, of course, much more than historical accuracy, however that might be interpreted. The debate in question represents only a part of a much larger field of historical production — the effects of which are felt broadly in a society whose feelings about history itself are notoriously complex. This talk is about not only the contestation of a particular historical narrative, but the effect such narratives have beyond the academy to the construction of a post-colonial nationalist mythos of origins with its attendant political priorities.

Emancipation Statue, known as the "Bussa" statue, erected in Barbados in 1985 near Bridgetown, 169 years after Bussa led a slave revolt in Barbados in 1816.
Emancipation Statue, known as the “Bussa” statue, erected in Barbados in 1985 near Bridgetown, 169 years after Bussa led a slave revolt in Barbados in 1816.

Lecture and Book Signing — America’s Longest Siege: Charleston, Slavery, and the Slow March toward Civil War, Dr. Joseph Kelly

The Charleston Historical Society will co-sponsor its next lecture and a book signing at the Karpeles Manuscript Museum at 68 Spring Street on Thursday, August 29, 2013, at 7:00 PM. The lecture, entitled, “America’s Longest Siege: Charleston, Slavery, and the Slow March toward Civil War”will be presented by Dr. Joseph Kelly.

This lecture is based on his recently published book on the same topic. The lecture is free and open to the public. Joe Kelly teaches modern British literature, Irish literature, composition, biography and autobiography, Honors western civilization.

For more information about this lecture and all future lectures, call Stephen White at the Charleston Historical Society at (843) 723-3398, or at the Karpeles Museum at (843) 853-4651.

Upcoming Event, March 21, 2013, 5:30-7pm: “I Have Known Rivers”: Ceremony to honor the Men, Women, and Children forced into the Middle Passage and the Struggles of Africans and African Descendants throughout the World

The College of Charleston and the Jubilee Project are proud to welcome the 39th annual conference of the African Literature Association to Charleston, SC from March 20-24, 2013. This conference will include a public ceremony event on March 21, 2013, from 5:30-7 pm to simultaneously commemorate a number of significant anniversaries in the history of Africans and African descendants throughout the world. This ceremony will include poetry readings and musical performances, and is free and open to the public. It will be held at the north end of Brittlebank Park in Charleston, SC. Highlights include poetry readings and musical performances.

2013 and March 21st anniversary events to commemorate include:

On January 1st, 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring enslaved people in Confederate-held territory to be “forever free,” came into effect. In January 1963, during the height of the twentieth century  U.S. Civil Rights movement, Charleston native Harvey Gantt became the first African American to be admitted to Clemson University. In August and September 1963, respectively, the University of South Carolina and Charleston County public schools admitted their first African American students since the end of Reconstruction. August 1963 saw two almost simultaneous events that show the length of African Americans’ struggle for full emancipation and the connection of that struggle with African liberation struggles: the march on Washington of August 28th which gave us Martin Luther King, Jr.’s iconic “I Have a Dream” speech was preceded the day earlier by the death of W.E.B. Du Bois in Ghana. By that date, 32 of Africa’s nations were formally independent with more than 20 still under European colonial or settler control.

The date of this ceremony, March 21st, has similar local and global resonance. On March 21st, 1865, the first Emancipation Parade in Charleston occurred. The parade featured over 4,000 people, including in the words of the Charleston Courier “a company of school boys” proclaiming: ‘We know no masters but ourselves,’” as well as a carriage with a mock slave auction followed by a carriage decked out as a hearse carrying the coffin of slavery. The hearse bore the inscriptions: “Slavery is Dead,” “Who Owns Him? No One,” and “Sumter Dug his Grave on the 13th of April, 1861.” Thousands of miles away and nearly a hundred years later, on March 21st, 1963, police in Sharpeville, South Africa opened fire on a crowd protesting apartheid-era pass laws, killing 69 and wounding hundreds. The massacre was a watershed event in South African history heralding the darkest decades of the apartheid era but also inspiring the resistance that would eventually lead to apartheid’s formal demise.

What these dates indicate is that, while it is appropriate to commemorate  the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, and the 50th anniversaries of key moments in the Civil Rights movement and the African liberation struggle, Emancipation is not an event but an ongoing process that must  be vigilantly defended and consolidated. In that spirit we will gather at the river on whose banks kidnapped Africans were once disembarked as chattel slaves, to commemorate the  Africans and African-descended people who have risen out of slavery, Jim Crow segregation, colonialism and apartheid, and, despite the manifold forms of racism, have survived, thrived. and enriched the world around them.

Simon Lewis

For more information, please contact Simon Lewis at lewiss@cofc.edu


Hamrick Lectureship, January 27th and 28th

Eric Metaxas is the author of two New York Times bestselling biographies, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy and Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery. Bonhoeffer was named the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association’s Christian Book of the Year. Metaxas received the 2011 Canterbury Medal, the Becket Fund’s highest honor in recognition of courage in defense of religious liberty.

Both lectures will center on William Wilberforce with Q&A following.

Various books by Eric Metaxas available for purchase at both lectures. Book signing following lecture on Sunday evening.

Hamrick Lectureship

January 27-5:00 p.m.

January 28-10:00 a.m.

The First Baptist Church of Charleston



January 11th, 2013 – Lecture: The Age of Lincoln

January 11th, 2013 at 1:00pm & 3:30pm

Dr. Orville Vernon Burton (Clemson University)

will be delivering lectures on

The Age of Lincoln

at the new St. Helena Branch Library
6355 Jonathan Francis Sr. Rd.
St. Helena Island, SC  29920

Call 843-255-6540 for more information.

Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War
Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War



Upcoming CLAW lecture, Kevin Lowther, November 7th

The African American Odyssey of John Kizell (with foreword by Joseph Opala) illustrates the life of Kizell, a West African enslaved in South Carolina that escaped and fought on the side of the British during the Revolutionary War. At the end of the war, Kizell was evacuated to Nova Scotia and later joined a pilgrimage of nearly twelve hundred former slaves to the new British settlement for free blacks in Sierra Leone. He spent decades battling European and African slave traders along the coast and urging his people to stop selling their own into foreign bondage. This in-depth biography–based in part on Kizell’s own writings–illuminates the links between South Carolina and West Africa during the Atlantic slave trade’s peak decades. Kizell also played a controversial role in the settlement of American blacks in what later became Liberia.

Kevin G. Lowther has written on African issues for the Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor and other publications. He also served as a Peace Corps teacher in Sierra Leone from 1963-1965. Lowther managed Africare’s work in Southern Africa for approximately 30 years.

On November 7, 2012, journalist Kevin Lowther will discuss The African American Odyssey of John Kizell from 7-8 pm at the Tate Center, Room 131, at the College of Charleston.

Public Lecture, Dr. Richard Godbeer, October 4, 6 PM

Dr. Richard Godbeer, Professor of History at the University of Miami will deliver a talk entitled “’Your wife will be your biggest accuser’: Reinforcing Codes of Manhood at New England Witch Trials,” at the Arnold Center in the Jewish Studies Building on October 4, 2012 beginning at 6:00pm. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Richard Godbeer received his B.A. from Oxford University in 1984 and his Ph.D. from Brandeis University in 1989. He specializes in colonial and revolutionary America, with an emphasis on religious culture, gender studies, and the history of sexuality. Godbeer was born in Essex, England, and grew up in Shropshire and Gloucestershire. He then lived in Oxford for three years as an undergraduate before crossing the Atlantic to Boston, Massachusetts, in 1984. He moved to southern California in 1989, where he taught for fifteen years at the University of California, Riverside. He moved to southern Florida in the summer of 2004 to join the Department of History at the University of Miami. He offers courses on a broad range of topics, including sex and gender in early America, witchcraft in colonial New England, religious culture in early America, and the American Revolution.

Godbeer is author of The Devil’s Dominion: Magic and Religion in Early New England (published in 1992 by Cambridge University Press and winner of the American Historical Association Pacific Coast Branch Award for the Best First Book), Sexual Revolution in Early America (published in 2002 by Johns Hopkins University Press and a featured selection of the History Book Club), Escaping Salem: The Other Witch Hunt of 1692 (published in 2004 by Oxford University Press), The Overflowing of Friendship: Love Between Men and the Creation of the American Republic (published in 2009 by Johns Hopkins University Press) and The Salem Witch Hunt: A Brief History with Documents (published in 2011 as a volume in the Bedford Series in History and Culture). Godbeer is currently working on a joint biography of Elizabeth and Henry Drinker, a Quaker couple who lived in Philadelphia during the second half of the eighteenth century.

Upheaval in Charleston: Earthquake and Murder on the Eve of Jim Crow


August 31st, 2011 at 6pm

College of Charleston, Addlestone Library, Room 227


Meet the Stephen Hoffius and Susan Williams, authors of the new book Upheaval in Charleston: Earthquake and Murder on the Eve of Jim Crow and learn how the great Charleston earthquake forever changed an iconic southern city.


Susan Millar Williams is the author of A Devil and a Good Woman, Too: The Lives of Julia Peterkin, winner of the Julia Cherry Spruill Award. She teaches American literature and creative writing at Trident Technical College and lives in McClellanville, South Carolina.

Stephen G. Hoffius is the author of Winners and Losers, a prize-winning novel for young adults, and coeditor of The Landscape of Slavery: The Plantation in American Art and Northern Money, Southern Land: The Lowcountry Plantation Sketches of Chlotilde R. Martin. A freelance author and editor, he lives in Charleston.