Black Charleston, South Carolina – Slavery and Races
North of Calhoun Street, which cuts the peninsula three kilometers from its southern tip from west to east, the picture of cheerful, dressed up Charleston changes . In Porgy’s day blacks and whites had lived together in mixed quarters and houses in Charleston as in no other city in the United States.
According to campingship, the restoration of old town Charleston segregated the races. Together with the general economic boom after World War II, it drove up land prices. Only wealthy whites could assert themselves in the houses and villas of the old town. The black Charlestonians found themselves pushed back into the northern parts of the city. Up to the Neck, the narrowest part of the peninsula, the black Charleston makes a rotty impression. Paint is peeling off the houses, some buildings are crooked, the streets are full of holes, the inner courtyards are covered in junk. But here too the construction crews and renovation teams are already on their way. White wealth extends beyond Calhoun Street. It is only a matter of time before the poor of the black population are driven from the peninsula south of the Neck.
The “Pearl on the Atlantic” and slavery
Anthony Ashley Cooper, Earl of Shaftesbury, founded Charleston in 1670 under King Charles II of England. Charles, the sensual, pleasure-loving ruler who restored the English monarchy after Cromwell’s Puritan rule, gave the city not only its name but also its cheerful spirit. The constitution of the new colony Carolina came from the philosopher John Locke, whose writings became fundamental to modern European liberalism and the constitutional state. Freedom of belief was enshrined in Locke’s constitution, not only for Christians but also for “Indians, Gentiles and Jews”. Tolerance, openness and a relaxed morality shaped Charleston in its early history. In contrast to the New England cities, it was not a religious but a commercially and politically motivated foundation.
Charleston’s first settlers were from Barbados. Depleted soils and declining plantation yields drove the English planters from the Antilles island in search of new land. On the coast of South Carolina they found rich soils and the same climatic conditions as on Barbados. The Charles Towne of the 17th and 18th centuries reflected in some ways the colonial culture of the Antilles. The form of government, the military organization, the structure of the constituencies came from Barbados. The single house also came from the Antilleswith its narrow, street-facing facade and the side porch above the garden that can still be found in Charleston today. From Barbados, however, the settlers also brought slavery into the country and the first slave code, the law, which regulated property and keeping and thus the living conditions of slaves.
Charleston grew rich in its early days through trade with England and the West Indies. Hides, corn, canvas, wood. Rum, sugar, cotton, salt, staves, tar, beef, candles, and a thousand other goods passed through its port. With 1200 residents, Charleston was behind New York, Boston, Philadelphia in 1690and Newport, the fifth largest city on the North American continent, dominated by merchants and traders. The social ideal that the ruling class strived for was, however, that of the Squires, the English country nobility, who, following the example of Charles II, led a feudal life and filled his time with hunting, horse riding, games, dancing and apron hunting. Large estates, large country houses and a bevy of servants were part of this colonial dream – rice and indigo made it a reality for some lard merchants. It was the slave economy that made rice big business. The West African slaves mastered the technique of rice cultivation and processing, possibly even bringing the rice to the New World. How wanted slaves from the rice countries of West Africa were, emerges from the advertisements of the slave traders in Charleston. During a true rice boom in the early 18th century, dozens of rice plantations emerged on the Charleston coastal plain. The ruling elite of traders gradually transformed into an elite of planters. Some of the new rice barons lived on the merchant’s city life. However, most of them settled on the plantation. They spent winter and spring in the manor house. From May to December, to avoid malaria and yellow fever, they lived in their townhouses. Some of the new rice barons lived on the merchant’s city life. However, most of them settled on the plantation. They spent winter and spring in the manor house. From May to December, to avoid malaria and yellow fever, they lived in their townhouses. Some of the new rice barons lived on the merchant’s city life. However, most of them settled on the plantation. They spent winter and spring in the manor house. From May to December, to avoid malaria and yellow fever, they lived in their townhouses.
Slavery shaped the mentality of the white ruling class
Slavery shaped the mentality of the white ruling class in the colony. The planter was the absolute ruler of his property and lord of the life and death of the people who worked for him. He did not have to fear the opposition of a working class since he literally owned the working class – the slaves – yes. The white underlayer was small and completely dependent on the lead layer. The middle class – farmers, craftsmen, traders – strived for the same ideals as the elite and shared their values. Most of the planters were related by marriage or friends of the members of the government and the courts. Hardly any group or class in the history of the United States ruled a city or colony as absolutely as Charleston’s elite.
The entire Charleston economy was based on slave labor. Field slaves cleared forests, drained swamps, built roads, houses and boats. They hunted. fished, planted and harvested. They tended the cattle and knew how to handle snakes, sharks and alligators. In 1848, 3,384 black women and 1,886 men worked in Charleston as house slaves, 68 as masons, 120 as carpenters, and 40 as blacksmiths. 39 as bakers, 36 as tailors, 67 as carters, 50 as pilots and sailors. Painters, shipbuilders, coppersmiths, cabinet makers, bookbinders, printers, shoemakers, armourers – the craft was firmly in black hands and remained so until after the civil war, when white craftsmen drove the now free black ones out of the business.
Instead of investing in commercial and industrial operations, the planters preferred to invest in slaves and land and thus failed to lay the foundation for a domestic industry. They also had little interest in setting up public facilities, as they lived largely independently and economically on the plantations. Charleston’s streets remained unpaved, and in the spring the city sank in mud. Healthcare, Waste disposal, poor relief remained undeveloped. Education also lagged behind that of the north, a deficit that the city has not been able to fully make up to this day. In return, entertainment and fine arts flourished. Balls and banquets alternated during the autumn months. Contemporary plays and Shakespeare were performed in four theaters. The music society “St. Cecilia Society “gave concerts and played to dance. But Charleston’s culture was an imported one. Wandering theater troupes from the north, music and musicians were bought in equally. There was hardly any local cultural production. No fewer than 1,321 books, pamphlets and tracts were printed in Boston between 1743 and 1760 – in Charleston as many as twelve.
The city taxed and controlled a lucrative slave lending system that the slave owners used to increase the return on their property. The owner was fined twenty dollars for borrowed slaves who did not bear a municipal control mark – the slave received twenty lashes on the bare back. Skilled, sought-after craftsmen made agreements with their owners that allowed them to rent out themselves. They paid their master a fixed monthly rent for it. That way they could make a profit and buy their way out. However, this did not make them much freer than the slaves. Whites feared free blacks as possible troublemakers and drastically restricted their rights and freedoms through laws and regulations.
Constant fear of riots
The white population lived in constant fear of uprisings and rebellions. The slave revolt of Santo Domingo in the! 790s, the rebellion of 1739 on the Stono River, twenty miles from Charleston, which killed twenty whites, the conspiracy of the free black Denmark Vesey of 1822 were visions of horror until the civil war into the minds of the slave owners. The laws regulating black rights were nothing more than an attempt to keep the black population, free or unfree, under control. Teaching blacks to read and write was strictly forbidden. Towards the end of the 18th century, white society began to systematically Christianize blacks. “The gospel is our best protector”, a preacher in Charleston justified this, “because it rules in secret as well as in public.” But some Charlestonians denied the soothing, humiliating effect of the preaching. Denmark Vesey. who had prepared his insurrection for four years before he was betrayed referred to the Bible as did the pious whites. His plot was forged in the bosom of the city’s first black church, the African Church. The city administration had them torn down. It wasn’t until thirty years later that Charleston’s black residents moved back into their own church. The city population had grown, the mixed churches were constantly overcrowded. Churches were the only institutions in the hands of blacks well beyond the civil war.