Early Spanish raiders, late-arriving African captives, and Gilded Age velocipede mania—that’s the menu for our November adventures in Charleston history. Once again we begin the month with a program inspired by the South Carolina 8th grade history curriculum, offering a local perspective on the U.S. Constitution’s oddly delayed closing of the African slave trade. Then we’ll leap backward to examine the 1686 Spanish invasion of Edisto Island and the broader ramifications of that long-forgotten event. Finally, we’ll end the month with a fun two-wheeled tour of the velocipede/bicycle mania that swept Charleston and the rest of the nation in the final years of the nineteenth century.
The U.S. Constitution and the African Slave Trade, 1787–1808
When the framers of the U.S. Constitution in 1787 sought to end the importation of enslaved people from Africa, delegates from South Carolina successfully argued for a twenty year delay before closing this trade. Join us for a discussion of the opaque politics behind this delay and of the “final victims” who came to South Carolina directly from Africa.
- Thursday, 5 November at 6 p.m., Charleston County Public Library, 2nd Floor Classroom, 68 Calhoun Street, Charleston SC 29401
- Tuesday, 10 November at 11:15 a.m., John’s Island Regional Library, 3531 Maybank Highway, Johns Island, SC 29455 (with students from Haut Gap Middle School
Unresolved Fury: The 1686 Spanish Raid on Edisto Island
The early development of Edisto Island suffered a great setback in 1686, when Spanish forces from Florida invaded and destroyed most of the island’s English settlements. Were it not for the sudden arrival of a hurricane, the Spanish would have continued northward and challenged the nascent fortifications of Charleston. Join us for a look at the motivations behind this attack and its impact on the early history of both Edisto and South Carolina in general.
- Thursday, 12 November at 5 p.m., Trinity Episcopal Church Hall, 1589 Highway 174, Edisto Island, S.C., 29438
- Monday, 16 November at 6 p.m., Charleston County Public Library auditorium, 68 Calhoun Street, Charleston SC 29401
Charleston’s Bicycle Mania, 1885–1910
The advent of the “Safety” bicycle in the 1880s fostered an explosion of cycling activity across America and in Charleston, with clubs, parades, tournaments, and white-knuckle oval-track racing. Please join us at Affordabike on King Street for the amusing true story of the excitement and chaos in the streets during Charleston’s “Golden Age” of cycling.
- Tuesday, 24 November at 6 p.m., Affordabike, 573 King Street, Charleston SC 29403
Questions? Drop me a line at butlern[at]ccpl.org or call 843–805–6968 for more information.