Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Professor Jane Landers on South Carolina History


Just Peace 
Mondays, 6pm - 7pm EST ----- WRFG-Atlanta 89.3 FM

Professor Jane Landers on South Carolina History
Tonight on Just Peace
Tonight on Just Peace we will talk with Jane Landers of Vanderbilt University. In the aftermath of the tragic killing of nine members of the Emanuel AME Church last Wednesday, June 17, tonight we on Just Peace will talk about South Carolina and its history. While there is, of course, much focus right now on the Emanuel AME member Denmark Vessey who, in 1822, had planned a slave rebellion, we will go one century earlier to Francisco Menendez - a West African Mandingo slave in  South Carolina. Menendez escaped to Spanish controlled Florida in the early 1700's for his freedom. His life and career are remarkable.

Jane Landers Ph.D. dissertation is on Menendez and she has continued and expanded her work on the slave culture and activities in the British and Spanish colonies. Her first monograph was "Black Society in Spanish Florida (Blacks in the New World" (Urbana, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2005).

Below is some basic information about South Carolina's unique role in the slavery which, as stated, is "different from anywhere else in America". The brief summary is from the International African American Museum:
Slavery in South Carolina was different from anywhere else in America:
  • Over 40% of all enslaved Africans to the U.S. came in through Charleston
  • Population ratios could be as high as 9 enslaved persons to 1 white resident in the Lowcountry
  • Enslaved persons comprised nearly 50% of Charleston's population before the Civil War
Today, nearly 80% of African Americans could potentially trace an ancestor who was brought through Charleston.
South Carolina was the only state founded exclusively as a slave colony.
Founded exclusively as a slave colony, South Carolina quickly grew to have the highest ratio of enslaved persons to free whites of any mainland colony, or later, state.
In the years preceding the Civil War, enslaved people comprised about half of Charleston's inhabitants. Population ratios in the Lowcountry were even more extreme, where some areas had 9 slaves to every 1 white resident.
In order to maintain control over the enslaved population, slave laws and methods of punishment were harsher in South Carolina than elsewhere in the country.
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Thanks everyone,

Heather Gray
Producer, Just Peace
WRFG 89.3 FM
404 523 8989 (studio)
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