Hate takes over in South Carolina

Hate takes over in South Carolina

Reconstruction died here, in a place not far from the Georgia border, where the thick green of new forest growth is bisected by a railroad line that hastened the end of the town of Hamburg.

Hamburg is gone now, but what happened here was the first of a series of events that re-established whites-only rule in South Carolina, gave a Confederate wannabe his first taste of blood, ushered in an era of black subjugation and energized a statewide inferiority complex that lingers to this day.

The Civil War, remembered again now 150 years after it began, brought the state to its knees even as it freed most of its citizens from bondage. Reconstruction followed, as black South Carolinians asserted themselves, established a system of public education and tried to chart a course away from the segregated past.

Civil War Cannon at Fort Moultrie Aimed at Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina




Civil War Cannon at Fort Moultrie Aimed at Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina


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What followed is called by several names — post-Reconstruction or Restoration or Redemption. Its seven decades drove 1 million black South Carolinians to Africa, to other states, anywhere but where they were.

Even in that dark period, there were important accomplishments, including an emphasis on rural and agricultural education that led to the birth of what is now Clemson University and S.C. State University. The need for teachers, who could improve the prospects of a now-downtrodden land, also gave life to what is now Winthrop University.

But deprivation, segregation and rage define this era more than anything else.

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