Charleston is nicknamed the “Holy City,” because of the many steeples that punctuate the graceful poetry of its skyline. There are more than 900 houses of worship in the Low Country, representing all of the world’s major faiths, and more than a few minor ones. Some of the congregations were founded in the 1600s, others in the 2010s. Some meet in grand buildings on the National Historic Registry, others in humble strip mall storefronts. Regardless of how old they are or where they meet, Charleston’s congregations are driven by faith. That faith was sorely tested this week with the racially motivated murders of worshipers in Emanuel AME church. How could a city so steeped in faith witness a scene of such unimaginable horror in one of its holy places?
By the 1980s, the Charleston police department and departments around the country were deployed to fight two “wars” on the home front. They fought a war on crime, of course, but also on drugs. Thinking about policing as war and civilians as the enemy led to a crackdown on impoverished urban minority communities the likes of which the country had never seen before.
In this excerpt from ‘Forging Freedom: Black Women and the Pursuit of Liberty in Antebellum Charleston,’ by Amrita Chakrabarti Myers, we meet a family of free black women who possessed an unusual amount of wealth and autonomy.
With the start of Rosh Hashana at sundown this evening, we welcome a guest post from Leonard Rogoff, author of Down Home: Jewish Life in North Carolina. Published in association with the Jewish Heritage Foundation of North Carolina, Down Home is part of a larger documentary project of the same name that includes a film …