Charleston, South Carolina

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A Taste of Charleston, South Carolina

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  1. Charleston is a city in the United States state of South Carolina and is the second largest city in the state. The population was counted by the U.S. Census in 2010 at 120,083, making it the second most populous city in South Carolina, closely behind the state capital Columbia.

  2. Following President Abraham Lincoln's assassination in April 1865, there were a variety of events of commemoration. The first well-known observance of a Memorial Day-type observance after the Civil War was in Charleston, South Carolina on May 1, 1865. During the war, Union soldiers who were prisoners of war had been held at the Charleston Race Course; at least 257 Union prisoners died there and were hastily buried in unmarked graves. Together with teachers and missionaries, black residents of Charleston organized a May Day ceremony in 1865, which was covered by the New York Tribune and other national papers. The freedmen cleaned up and landscaped the burial ground, building an enclosure and an arch labeled, "Martyrs of the Race Course." Nearly ten thousand people, mostly freedmen, gathered on May 1 to commemorate the war dead. Involved were about 3,000 school children newly enrolled in freedmen's schools, mutual aid societies, Union troops, black ministers, and white northern missionaries. Most brought flowers to lay on the burial field. Today the site is used as Hampton Park. Years later, the celebration would come to be called the "First Decoration Day" in the North.

    David W. Blight described the day:
    "This was the first Memorial Day. African Americans invented Memorial Day in Charleston, South Carolina. What you have there is black Americans recently freed from slavery announcing to the world with their flowers, their feet, and their songs what the war had been about. What they basically were creating was the Independence Day of a Second American Revolution.”

  3. Although the city would lose the status of state capital to Columbia, Charleston became even more prosperous in the plantation-dominated economy of the post-Revolutionary years. By 1820 Charleston's population had grown to 23,000, with a black majority. When a massive slave revolt planned by Denmark Vesey, a free black, was discovered in 1822, such hysteria ensued amidst white Charlestonians and Carolinians that the activities of free blacks and slaves were severely restricted.

  4. After the defeat of the Confederacy, Federal forces remained in Charleston during the city's reconstruction. The war had shattered the prosperity of the antebellum city. Freed slaves were faced with poverty and discrimination.

  5. The William Enston Homes, a planned community for the city's aged and infirm, was built in 1889. J. Taylor Pearson, a freed slave, designed the Homes, and passed peacefully in them after years as the maintenance manager post-reconstruction. An elaborate public building, the United States Post Office and Courthouse, was completed in 1896 and signaled renewed life in the heart of the city.

  6. The Charleston Hospital Strike of 1969 was one of the last major events of the civil rights movement and brought Ralph Abernathy, Coretta Scott King, Andrew Young and other prominent figures to march with the local leader Mary Moultrie. Its story is told in Tom Dent's book "Southern Journey." It was not until the election of Joseph P. Riley, Jr. as mayor that the city experienced a modern day renaissance. Riley has been the major proponent of reviving Charleston's economic and cultural heritage. The last thirty years of the 20th century saw major new reinvestment in the city, with a number of municipal improvements and a commitment to historic preservation.

  7. Charleston is a major tourist destination, with a considerable number of luxury hotels, hotel chains, inns, and bed and breakfasts and a large number of award-winning restaurants and quality shopping. The city has two shipping terminals, owned and operated by the South Carolina Ports Authority, which are part of the fourth largest container seaport on the East Coast and the eighth largest container seaport in North America in 2009.

  8. Charleston's unique but vanishing dialect has long been noted in the South and elsewhere, for the singular attributes it possesses. Alone among the various regional Southern accents, the Charleston accent traditionally has ingliding or monophthongal long mid vowels, raises /ay/ and /aw/ in certain environments, and is non-rhotic. Some attribute these unique features of Charleston's speech to its early settlement by the French Huguenots and Sephardic Jews, both of which played influential parts in Charleston's development and history. However, given Charleston's high concentration of African-Americans that spoke the Gullah language, the speech patterns were more influenced by the dialect of the Gullah African-American community.

  9. Today, the Gullah language and dialect is still spoken among African-American locals. However, rapid development, especially on the surrounding sea islands, is slowly diminishing its prominence.

  10. Charleston annually hosts Spoleto Festival USA, a 17-day art festival featuring over 100 performances by individual artists in a variety of disciplines. The Spoleto Festival is internationally recognized as America's premier performing arts festival. The annual Piccolo Spoleto festival takes place at the same time, and features local performers and artists, with hundreds of performances throughout the city. Other notable festivals and events include the Taste of Charleston, The Lowcountry Oyster Festival, the Cooper River Bridge Run, Charleston Food and Wine Festival, Charleston Fashion Week, and the MOJA Arts Festival, and the Holiday Festival of Lights (at James Island County Park).

Radio Stations
W220CN (WMBJ) 91.9 FM Charleston, SC Christian Contemporary
WSSX 95.1 FM Charleston, SC Top-40
W257BQ (WSPO) 99.3 FM Charleston, SC Sports
WALC 100.5 FM Charleston, SC Christian Contemporary
WWWZ 93.3 FM Summerville, SC Hip Hop
WXST 99.7 FM Hollywood, SC Urban Contemporary
WTUA (CP) 105.9 FM Pinopolis, SC Gospel Music
WJNI 106.3 FM Ladson, SC Gospel Music
WMGL 107.3 FM Ravenel, SC Urban Contemporary
WSPO 1390 AM Charleston, SC Sports
WQNT 1450 AM Charleston, SC Sports

submitted articles

MLK breakfast leaders announced

MLK breakfast leaders announced

Charleston, SC – The YWCA of Greater Charleston today announces Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr. will serve his sixteenth year as Honorary Chairman for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Business and Professional Breakfast, set for January 19, 2016, at the Charleston Marriott Hotel. Mayor Riley co-founded the event in 2000, along with then YWCA Executive Director Christine O. Jackson, first cousin to the late Coretta Scott King. Co-sponsored by the City of Charleston and the YWCA, the breakfast is a signature event of the MLK Celebration, now in its 44th presentation year, and considered the state’s largest tribute to the slain civil rights leader. For details visit or call YWCA at 843-722-1644.

Dorothy Harrison, Chief Administrative Officer of Charleston Water System, Inc., will chair the breakfast planning committee.

“The MLK Breakfast symbolizes what America already knows, that the Lowcountry embraces Dr. King’s ideals of justice and respect for all humankind,” Riley said. “We are a community that triumphs over tragedy, and celebrates our diversity.”

Immediately upon his election as mayor in 1975, Mayor Riley assumed a leading role in the MLK Celebration, which today attracts 30,000 celebrants annually to its series of January events. “Much of the MLK Breakfast’s success is attributed to Mayor Riley’s leadership,” said YWCA Board President Kerri Forrest. “More than 600 top corporate, civic and clergy leaders attended the MLK Breakfast in 2015.”

Prior to joining Charleston Water System in 2001, Harrison spent 26 years in the banking industry where she was among the first African-American commercial loan officers and vice presidents in the state. “I am honored to work with Mayor Riley and the MLK Breakfast committee,” said Harrison. In serving her first year as committee chair, Harrison succeeds Cecelia Gordon Rodgers, Charleston Development Academy Charter School Director.

Other committee members include: Vanessa Turner Maybank, Clerk of Council, City of Charleston; Stacy Davis, Internal Audit Director, Blackbaud; Leroy Lewis, Community Outreach Coordinator, Office of Community Relations, CofC; Elonda Fair O’Neil, Esq., Vice President, YWCA Board of Directors; Elease Amos-Goodwin, MOJA Festival Chairperson; Theresa Hilliard, retired EEO manager, Department of Veteran Affairs; Dr. Luther Seabrook, educator.

The January MLK Breakfast will also feature the second annual presentation of the Joseph P. Riley Jr. Vision Award. Established last year by the YWCA, the award cites a corporation, institution or individual for their corporate citizenship and outstanding community service. Last year’s Riley Award inaugural honorees were Dr. Mary Thornley, Trident Technical College President, and posthumously, Dr. Theodore S. Stern, College of Charleston President Emeritus.

For information about the MLK Business and Professional Breakfast contact the YWCA of Greater Charleston, at 843-722-1644 or visit


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Demographics of Charleston, South Carolina

By Race



Native American



Total Population






Because Hispanics could be counted in other races, the totals above could possibly be more than 100%. If you would like a detailed listing of all ethnic groups in the U.S., please Click Here.



Billy Johnson, 1858-1916

Billy Johnson

Chicken by Will Accooe (New York : Howley, Haviland and Co., c1899.). African-American Sheet Music, 1850-1920, American Memory, Library of Congress.

Billy Johnson was born in Charleston, South Carolina, in1858 and was educated in Augusta, Georgia. By 1881 he was performing in minstrel shows. In 1886 he joined Lew Johnson's minstrels and the following year moved to Hicks and Sawyer's minstrels, where he stayed for six seasons. During stints with several other minstrel troops, he began writing songs and eventually landed a job with Bob Cole as songwriter and stage producer for the more upscale Black Patti Troubadours.

Cole and Johnson produced a musical sketch for Black Patti, then left that company to produce their own musical, A Trip to Coontown (1898), the first full length black-produced musical on an American stage. Johnson and Cole both played starring roles. However, during the third season of this musical, Cole accused Johnson of either financial impropriety or of drinking too much (sources vary).

After a period in Chicago, where Johnson got married, dabbled in politics, wrote some songs, and appeared in the last Pekin Stock Company production, he returned to the New York stage around 1911. The last show he performed in was Twenty Miles from Home in 1914. Billy Johnson died in 1916 after a fall.


The articles on this site are provided as a public service and to be used for information purposes only. does not accept any responsibility or liability for the use or misuse of the article content. Use at your own risk.

No Endorsement: does not endorse or recommend any article on this site or any product, service or information found within said articles. Resources and links included in said articles are only suggested as sources for further exploration, but we cannot vouch for or take responsibility for information contained in these resources. The opinions and views of the authors who have submitted articles to belong to them alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of


Businesses in Charleston, South Carolina

A small percentage of the businesses listed on may not necessarily be black owned and operated but have received favorable reviews from users who have visited the establishment, or from the owners themselves who warmly seek out African American patronage.


  1. Ebony Hair Affaire -  Category: Beauty Salons -  116 Cannon Street, Charleston, South Carolina (843) 722-1334

  2. Family Barber Shop -  Category: Barbers -  147 Spring Street, Charleston, South Carolina (843) 722-3022

  3. Inner Image (Florence Heyward, Natural Hair stylist) -  Category: Beauty Salons -  36 Blake Street, Charleston, South Carolina 29408

  4. Klipper Kings -  Category: Barbers -  1636 Ashley Hall Rd, Charleston, South Carolina (843) 766-8492

  5. Miss Ebony 2000 -  Category: Beauty Salons -  590 Meeting Street, Charleston, South Carolina (843) 723-4559

  6. Settles Beauty Supply -  Category: Beauty Supply -  472-C Meeting St, Charleston, SC 29403 (843) 853-8122

  7. Style Beauty & Hair Weeve Salon -  Category: Beauty Salons -  186 Coming Street, Charleston, South Carolina (843) 577-4161

  8. The Distinguished Gentleman Barbershop -  Category: Barbers -  11 Cannon Street, Charleston, South Carolina (843) 853-6411

  9. Urban Barber Shop -  Category: Hair Salons -  41 Cannon Street, Charleston, South Carolina (843) 722-0109

  10. Urban Nirvana Day Spa -  Category: Beauty Salons -  8 Windermere Boulevard, Charleston, South Carolina (843) 720-8000



  1. DeBorah's Bridal LLC -  Category: Bridal -   We are Full Service Bridal Salon providing service of excellence and high quality gowns at good prices.  - 1704 Old Towne Road, Charleston, South Carolina (843) 556-8092  - (visit website)

  2. 100 Black Men of Charleston, Inc. -  Category: Community Services -   - President: Mr. Anthony B O'Neill, Sr. P.O. Box 80238 Charleston, South Carolina 29416



  1. Drayton Hall -  Category: Culture -  Offers “Connections,” an interactive program on African-American life from the 1700’s into the 20th century.  - 3380 Ashley River Road Charleston, SC 29414 (843) 769-2600  - (visit website)

  2. Gullah Tours Charleston, SC -  Category: Culture -  Gullah- The language spoken by the Lowcountry's first black inhabitants.  - (843) 763-7551  - (visit website)

  3. International African American -  Category: Culture -   103 Logan Street, Charleston, SC 29401-2065 (843) 720-4992

  4. Middleton Place -  Category: Culture -  Tours include: Demonstration Rice Field, Rice Mill, Slave Chapel & Cemetery.   - (843) 556-6020 (800) 782-3608

  5. The Charleston Jazz Initiative -  Category: Culture -  The Charleston Jazz Initiative (CJI) is a multi-year research project that documents the African American jazz tradition in Charleston, South Carolina Lowcountry.  - Charleston, SC  - (visit website)



  1. Alluette's Café -  Category: Soul Food, Vegetarian Soul Food -   80-A Reid St, Charleston, SC (843) 577-6926   - (visit website)

  2. Craves Soul Food -  Category: Soul Food Restaurants -  Heritage cooking at its best!  - 616 Meeting Street, Charleston, SC (843) 577-3773   - (visit website)

  3. Hugers -  Category: Soul Food Restaurants -  Buffet style southern and soul food. Chicken, fish, ribs, greens, sweet potato pie.  - 587 King Street, Charleston, SC (843) 577-7855

  4. Jestine's Kitchen -  Category: Soul Food Restaurants -   Fried Chicken, Fried Okra, Mac n Cheese, Cornbread, and Sweet Tea and more.  - 251 Meeting Street, Charleston, SC (843) 722-7224

  5. Martha Lou's Kitchen -  Category: Soul Food Restaurants -   - Heritage cooking at its best! craves is revealing a substantial menu of southern and lowcountry specialties and favorites". - 1068 Morrison Drive, Charleston, SC (843) 577-9583

  6. On the Fly -  Category: Soul Food Restaurants -  Specialize in gourmet dinners on the go and weddings.  - 1209 Savannah Highway, Charleston, SC (843) 225-3592   - (visit website)

  7. The Glass Onion -  Category: Soul Food, Vegetarian Soul Food -   1219 Savannah Hwy, Charleston, SC (843) 225-1717   - (visit website)



Enslaved Africans in the Lowcountry brought with them unique customs, art forms, and created new ones, as they assimilated into a newer European-style culture on the plantations. Today, sweetgrass baskets have become a cherished and sought after Lowcountry art form with the majority of basketmakers centered in the beautiful Charleston and Mt. Pleasant areas.



Jobs from Indeed





  1. Central Baptist Church -  26 Radcliffe Street - Charleston, SC (843) 577-4543

  2. Ebenezer AME Church -  44 Nassau Street - Charleston, SC (843) 723-4660

  3. Macedonia AME Church -  341 East Bay Street - Charleston, SC (843) 723-1829

  4. Morris Brown AME Church -  13 Morris Street - Charleston, SC (843) 723-1961

  5. Mother Emanuel AME Church -   110 Calhoun Street, Charleston, SC (843) 722-2561   - (visit website)

  6. Mt Zion Ame Church -  5 Glebe Street - Charleston, SC (843) 722-8118

  7. Nichols Chapel AME Church -  132 Bogard Street - Charleston, SC (843) 577-7366

  8. Old Bethel United Methodist Church -  222 Calhoun St. Charleston, SC (843) 722-3470



  1. South Carolina Aquarium on Charleston Harbor -  Category: Entertainment -  The South Carolina Aquarium, Charleston’s most visited attraction.  -100 Aquarium Wharf, Charleston, SC (843) 720-1990  - (visit website)

  2. Wet Willie's -  Category: Nightclub -   - 209 East Bay Street, Charleston, SC (843) 853-5650  - (visit website)



    South Carolina, Charleston -   Lowcountry Blues Bash -  14 days, 25 venues, 59 acts, 100 shows.

  1. Lowcountry Blues Bash
    (February)   Charleston, SC   - (visit website)

    14 days, 25 venues, 59 acts, 100 shows.

  2. Lowcountry Cajun Festival
    (April)   861 Riverland Drive, Charleston, SC   - (visit website)

    Bringing Louisiana to the Lowcountry, Cajun Fest is a full-day of Zydeco food and entertainment!

  3. Moja Arts Festival
    September - October   - (visit website)

    The Festival highlights the many African-American and Caribbean contributions to western and world cultures.

  4. Spoleto Festival
    Held in Spring   - (visit website)

    Over 120 performances by renowned artists as well as emerging performers.




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