Happy Black History Month!
Happy Black History Month!!!
That’s right, February 1st is the start of Black History Month! Yes that’s right, an entire month to celebrate the people and events who have helped to make this world a better place. Since realistically there are just too many people and too many great things that have happened to be able to mention them all, we at Carolima’s would like to just highlight a shorter list focusing on our own Lowcountry area.
Today we will be highlighting some of our landmark areas in Charleston with a short summary of what makes these locations memorable.
EMANUEL AME CHURCH
Often called “Mother Emanuel,” this iconic house of worship is the oldest African Methodist Episcopal (AME) church in the Southern U.S. In 1822, Mother Emanuel was burned for its association with Denmark Vesey, a former slave who tried to organize a slave revolt. Throughout the years it remained a force for social change. Civil rights marchers gathered there, and Booker T. Washington and Martin Luther King Jr. spoke from the pulpit. In 2015, nine people, including Reverend Clementa Pinckney, were shot and killed inside the church. Days later, President Barack Obama gave an historic speech from the church’s pulpit.
Founded in 1865 as the Avery Normal Institute, the school was created as a school for African-American students by a missionary association. In addition to teaching students, there was a teacher education program that had alumni like Septima Clark, who taught at rural Lowcountry schools. The Avery Institute also established the city’s chapter of the NAACP and educated many future Civil Rights Movement activists. After the Brown vs. Board of Education decision, the school merged with Burke High School and it ceased operation. Today it’s the Avery Research Institute, operating in association with the College of Charleston.
Charleston native and writer DuBose Heyward penned the 1925 novel Porgy, which would go on to be a play and later the musical Porgy and Bess, produced by George Gershwin. It broke barriers by featuring African-American actors on Broadway. The fictional tale of African-American residents is set in Charleston and includes words in the Gullah language. Catfish Row is based on Cabbage Row, a section of former slums near what is now Rainbow Row, the most desirable street in the city.
We at Carolima’s hope you enjoyed getting to know more about these important locations. Perhaps you could take some time this week to visit them and bring history to life! Be sure to come back for next week's blog where we will discover some of the people that have called Charleston home. Happy Black History Month!