African-American history starts in the 16th century
with African Slaves who quickly rose up against the Spanish explorer Lucas Vásquez de Ayllón and progresses to the present day, when Barack Obama has
been elected as the 44th and current President of the United States.
Between those landmarks there were other events and issues, both resolved
and ongoing, that were faced by African Americans. Some of these were
slavery, reconstruction, development of the African-American community,
participation in the great military conflicts of the United States, racial
segregation, and the Civil Rights Movement.
A South Carolina African American History Monument
chronicling the experiences of African Americans in South Carolina now
stands on the grounds of the State House in Columbia. The bronze and
granite sculpture was dedicated in March 2001 and includes 12 panels that
depict milestones in South Carolina African American history. The monument
tells a story from the beginning of enslavement to the Middle Passage to
Emancipation Proclamation to the Civil Rights era to the great
achievements of South Carolina’s African Americans in various professions.
Typical Slave Ship
Only a few decades after the discovery of America by Europeans, demand
for cheap labor to work plantations made slave-trading a profitable
business. The peak time of slave ships to the Atlantic passage was between
the 18th and 19th century when large plantations developed in the British
colonies of North America.
In order to achieve profit, the owners of the ships divided their hulls
into holds with little headroom, so they could transport as many slaves as
possible. Unhygienic conditions, dehydration, dysentery and scurvy led to
a high mortality rate, on average 15% and up to a third of captives. Often
the ships, also known as Guineamen, transported hundreds of slaves, who
were chained tightly to plank beds.
This project started off as being a
Black Research Portal for the Upstate of SC.
However, it continues to grow in content.