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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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
A small percentage of the businesses listed on BlackCityInfo.com 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.
Urban Nirvana Day Spa - Category: Beauty Salons - 8 Windermere Boulevard, Charleston, South Carolina (843) 720-8000
BLACK BUSINESSES - SERVICES - VENDORS ETC.
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)
100 Black Men of Charleston, Inc. - Category: Community Services - - President: Mr. Anthony B O'Neill, Sr. P.O. Box 80238 Charleston, South Carolina 29416
AFRICAN AMERICAN CULTURE
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)
Gullah Tours Charleston, SC - Category: Culture - Gullah- The language spoken by the Lowcountry's first black inhabitants. - (843) 763-7551 - (visit website)
International African American - Category: Culture - 103 Logan Street, Charleston, SC 29401-2065 (843) 720-4992
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)
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
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
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)
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.
Mt Zion Ame Church - 5 Glebe Street - Charleston, SC (843) 722-8118
Nichols Chapel AME Church - 132 Bogard Street - Charleston, SC (843) 577-7366
Old Bethel United Methodist Church - 222 Calhoun St. Charleston, SC (843) 722-3470
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)
Wet Willie's - Category: Nightclub - - 209 East Bay Street, Charleston, SC (843) 853-5650 - (visit website)
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