Friday, January 22, 2010

notes and tourist pictures of Charleston, SC

(posting pics here these days because my flickr is down). i enjoyed the architecture in Charleston, really beautiful, historical, colorful, and diverse in style. we saw some buildings and gravestones from the 18th century, very impressive!! the preserved spaces (churches, homes of politicians, diplomats, militarymen, people with high ranking in the church), were clearly "monumental" spaces--only those which originally belonging to the wealthy, white, Christian, and mostly slave-owning class. i guess spaces that didn't fit under that lucky profile weren't deemed worthy of preserving as cultural heritage (or getting their photos posted on my blog...). {:-7

besides the architecture, in the bustling downtown area I also saw segregated neighborhoods, African-American beggars, African-Americans primarily working as street basket sellers, an abundance of SUVs in the whiter part of town, whites wearing Polo RL shirts
, two white-owned stores that had door-signs reading "only serious buyers please," and overall almost no socialization between blacks and whites. this made me wonder how much "the nation is progressing," as a gravestone I saw read (Charles Pinckney's gravestone). i'd have to research to say for sure, but i got the wary impression that (like around Detroit, my hometown), 200 years later, the economic and racial divide between the haves and the have-nots is still abysmal/ intimately tied to slavery.

(some research that appears to verify the hypothesis: Racial Segregation and Redlining in Cities"

however, cities can foster solidarity and some level of tolerance. and from what i've browsed online, it looks like Charleston eventually became important in slavery abolition, at least in the early phases. it looks like several unsuccessful slave uprisings occurred. the most famous one was led by Denmark Vesey, who was hung with his followers in 1822. but eventually the cause he fought for gained some white supporters (most notably a female: Angelina Grimke) and sparked debates across the South.

other bibliography (thanks Google Books): The Abolition Crusade and Its Consequences (pp 59-60) and Forgotten Readers... (pp 25-).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The recent book,Dead Weight, by Batt Humphries,relates a true story of 1910 Charleston that is quite relevant to the current blog. The interview lasts about 15 minutes and the author and the interviewer read a bit from the book.