Lowcountry Digital History Initiative

A Digital History Project hosted by the Lowcountry Digital Library at the College of Charleston

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Recent Exhibits

Equalization Schools: South Carolina’s History of Unequal Educationclose

In 1951, South Carolina politicians knew that their racially segregated public school system did not meet the constitutional standard of “separate but equal.” Facing a lawsuit, South Carolina passed its first sales tax to fund new school buildings for Black children, which became known as "equalization schools." The state's goal was to preserve racial segregation in schools. However, like one-room schoolhouses and Rosenwald schools of the early twentieth century, equalization schools were notable spaces of Black culture and community, making the buildings contradictory symbols that represent both racism in the United States and the strength of Black communities. The story of equalization schools is a critical, though lesser-known, part of South Carolina history. This exhibit explores South Carolina's equalization school history and includes an interactive map that documents the state's equalization school buildings. Published April 2022.

Hidden Voices: Enslaved Women in the Lowcountry and U.S. Southclose

This exhibit explores the history of Black women in the American South from the Antebellum era to the Reconstruction era. Focusing on the experiences of enslaved women in the South Carolina and Georgia Lowcountry in both rural and urban contexts, the exhibit examines African American women’s labor, interconnected relationships, and cultural practices. It reveals the types of violence they were subjected to as well as the joys and triumphs they created for themselves. By exploring the history of slavery through the lens of gender, Hidden Voices illuminates African American women’s specific experiences and contributions. Published December 2020.

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The Stono Preserve's Changing Landscapeclose

The Stono Preserve's Changing Landscape exhibition explores the archaeology and history of a single geographic space in the South Carolina Lowcountry—a nearly 1,000-acre plot of land twenty miles west of the Charleston peninsula. The site's archaeology uncovers the region's prehistoric, colonial, antebellum, and twentieth-century histories. To illuminate the experiences of the people who shaped the landscape, this exhibit traverses the topics of prehistory, religion, slavery, agriculture, and wealth. Placed together, they reflect the defining narratives of South Carolina Lowcountry history. Published January 2020.

Revisiting Prop Masterclose

Revisiting Prop Master recreates and further exploresthe themes in the 2009 physical exhibition, Prop Master, an art installation by Susan Harbage Page and Juan Logan at the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, South Carolina. This digital exhibit serves as a catalog of Prop Master'sexploration of the South Carolina Lowcountry’s history of black/white and gender/sexual interconnectedness. In addition to serving as a catalog,Revisiting Prop Mastershares interviews with the artists and discusses the history that underpins the art withinProp Master. Published on the 10th anniversary ofProp Master, this new exhibition carries on the important conversations that Logan and Page's artwork unveiled.

Enslaved and Freed African Muslims: Spiritual Wayfarers in the South and Lowcountryclose

The slave ships docking in early colonial America carried enslaved people from a variety of religious and cultural backgrounds, including West African Muslims. Though the historical record is scantly populated with their history, it reveals that the West African Muslims brought to America carried their Islamic faith and cultural practices with them. This exhibit examines their background before being forced to the Americas, and it explores the lives of individual Muslims who lived in the American South and the Lowcountry. Published October 2018.

Samuel Williams and His World: Before the War and After the Unionclose

Samuel Williams was born into slavery in Charleston, South Carolina in 1852. In his later years, Williams penned his recollections about his life before and after slavery; but he published his memoir under a pseudonym, Sam Aleckson. Williams’s identity as the author was unknown outside of his family. The author's identity is published for the first time here! By weaving together his memoir and archival research, this exhibition traces Samuel Williams’s life from his childhood in Charleston, through Reconstruction and its aftermath, to his migration North in the late-nineteenth century. Published April 2018.

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