Charleston is the second largest city in the U.S. state of South Carolina. It was made the county seat of Charleston County in 1901 when Charleston County was founded. The city's original name was Charles Towne in 1670, and it moved to its present location (Oyster Point) from a location on the west bank of the Ashley River (Albemarle Point) in 1680. It adopted its present name in 1783. In 1690, Charleston was the fifth largest city in North America, and remained among the ten largest cities in the United States through the 1840 census. As defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, and used by the U.S. Census Bureau for statistical purposes only, Charleston is a principal city for the Charleston North Charleston Summerville Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Charleston-North Charleston urban area.
Charleston is known as The Holy City due to the prominence of churches on the low-rise cityscape, particularly the numerous steeples which dot the city's skyline, and for the fact that it was one of the few cities in the original thirteen colonies to provide religious tolerance, albeit restricted to non-Catholics. Many Huguenots found their way to Charleston. Charleston was also one of the first colonial cities after Savannah, Georgia to allow Jews to practice their faith without restriction. Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim, founded in 1749, is the fourth oldest Jewish congregation in the continental United States. Brith Sholom Beth Israel is the oldest Orthodox synagogue in the South, founded by Ashkenazi (German and Central European Jews) Jews in the mid-19th century.
The population was counted by the U.S. Census in 2010 at 120,083, making it the second most populous city in South Carolina, closely behind the state capital Columbia. Current trends put Charleston as the fastest-growing municipality in South Carolina. The city's metropolitan area population was counted by the 2010 census at 664,607 the second largest in the state and the 75th-largest metropolitan statistical area in the United States.
The city of Charleston is located just south of the midpoint of South Carolina's coastline, at the confluence of the Ashley and Cooper rivers, which flow together into the Atlantic Ocean. Charleston Harbor lies between downtown Charleston and the Atlantic Ocean. Charleston's name is derived from Charles Towne, named after King Charles II of England.
America's most-published etiquette expert, Marjabelle Young Stewart, recognized Charleston 1995 as the "best-mannered" city in the U.S, a claim lent credibility by the fact that it has the first established Livability Court in the country. In 2011, Travel and Leisure Magazine named Charleston "America's Sexiest City", as well as "America's Most Friendly." Subsequently, Southern Living Magazine named Charleston "the most polite and hospitable city in America." In 2012, Travel and Leisure voted Charleston as the second best-dressed city in America, only behind New York City.
Colonial era (1670 1776)
After Charles II of England, Scotland and Ireland (1630 1685) was restored to the English throne following Oliver Cromwell's Protectorate, he granted the chartered Carolina territory to eight of his loyal friends, known as the Lords Proprietors, in 1663. It took seven years before the Lords could arrange for settlement, the first being that of Charles Town. The community was established by English settlers under William Sayle in 1670 on the west bank of the Ashley River, a few miles northwest of the present city. It was soon chosen by Anthony Ashley-Cooper, one of the Lords Proprietors, to become a "great port towne", a destiny which the city fulfilled. By 1680, the settlement had grown, joined by others from England, Barbados, and Virginia, and relocated to its current peninsular location. The capital of the Carolina colony, Charles Town was the center for further expansion and the southernmost point of English settlement during the late 17th century.
The settlement was often subject to attack from sea and from land. Periodic assaults from Spain and France, who still contested England's claims to the region, were combined with resistance from Native Americans, as well as pirate raids. While the earliest settlers primarily came from England, colonial Charleston was also home to a mixture of ethnic and religious groups. French, Scottish, Irish, and Germans migrated to the developing seacoast town, representing numerous Protestant denominations, as well as Roman Catholicism and Judaism. Sephardic Jews migrated to the city in such numbers that Charleston eventually was home to, by the beginning of the 19th century and until about 1830, the largest and wealthiest Jewish community in North America. Africans were brought to Charleston on the Middle Passage, first as servants, then as slaves, especially Wolof, Yoruba, Fulani, Igbo, Malinke, and other peoples of the Windward Coast. The port of Charleston was the main dropping point for Africans captured and transported to the United States for sale as slaves.
A 1733 map of Charleston, published by Herman Moll By the mid-18th century Charleston had become a bustling trade center, the hub of the Atlantic trade for the southern colonies, and the wealthiest and largest city south of Philadelphia. By 1770 it was the fourth largest port in the colonies, after only Boston, New York, and Philadelphia, with a population of 11,000, slightly more than half of that slaves.
Charleston was the hub of the deerskin trade. In fact, deerskin trade was the basis of Charleston's early economy. Trade alliances with the Cherokee and Creek insured a steady supply of deer hides. Between 1699 and 1715, an average of 54,000 deer skins were exported annually to Europe through Charleston. Between 1739 and 1761, the height of the deerskin trade era, an estimated 500,000 to 1,250,000 deer were slaughtered. During the same period, Charleston records show an export of 5,239,350 pounds of deer skins. Deer skins were used in the production of men's fashionable and practical buckskin pantaloons for riding, gloves, and book bindings.
Colonial low-country landowners experimented with cash crops ranging from tea to silk. African slaves brought knowledge of rice cultivation, which plantation owners made into a successful business by 1700. With the help of African slaves from the Caribbean, Eliza Lucas, daughter of plantation owner George Lucas, learned how to raise and use indigo in the Low-Country in 1747. Supported with subsidies from Britain, indigo was a leading export by 1750. Those and naval stores were exported in an extremely profitable shipping industry.
As Charleston grew, so did the community's cultural and social opportunities, especially for the elite merchants and planters. The first theater building in America was built in Charleston in 1736. Benevolent societies were formed by several different ethnic groups. The Charleston Library Society was established in 1748 by some wealthy Charlestonians who wished to keep up with the scientific and philosophical issues of the day. This group also helped establish the College of Charleston in 1770, the oldest college in South Carolina and the oldest municipally supported college in the United States.
American Revolution (1776 1785)
As the relationship between the colonists and Britain deteriorated, Charleston became a focal point in the ensuing American Revolution. It was twice the target of British attacks. At every stage the British strategy assumed a large base of Loyalist supporters who would rally to the King given some military support.
In late March 1776, South Carolina President and Commander in Chief John Rutledge learned that a large British naval force was moving toward Charleston. To help defend the city, he ordered the construction of Fort Sullivan, on Sullivan's Island in the harbor. He then placed Col. William Moultrie in charge of the construction and made him the fort's commanding officer.
On June 28, 1776 General Henry Clinton with 2,000 men and a naval squadron tried to seize Charleston, hoping for a simultaneous Loyalist uprising in South Carolina. When the fleet fired cannonballs, the explosives failed to penetrate Fort Sullivan's unfinished, yet thick palmetto log walls. Additionally, no local Loyalists attacked the town from behind as the British had hoped. Col. Moultries' men were able to return fire and inflicted heavy damage on several of the British ships. The British were forced to withdraw their forces, and the fort was renamed Fort Moultrie in honor of its commander.
Fort Moultrie in 1861.
This battle kept Charleson safe from conquest for four years, and therefore was perceived as so symbolic of the Revolution that it spawned a number of key icons of South Carolina and the revolution:
During the battle, the flag Moultrie had flown in the battle (which he'd designed, himself) was shot down. It was then hoisted into the air again by Sargent William Jasper and kept aloft, rallying the troops, until it could be remounted. This Liberty Flag was seen as so important that it became the Flag of South Carolina, with the addition of the very palmetto tree that was used to make the fort so impenetrable.
The day of that battle is now a holiday in the state, known as Carolina Day.
Clinton returned in 1780 with 14,000 soldiers. American General Benjamin Lincoln was trapped and surrendered his entire 5400 men force after a long fight, and the Siege of Charleston was the greatest American defeat of the war. Several Americans escaped the carnage, and joined up with several militias, including those of Francis Marion, the 'Swampfox', and Andrew Pickens. The British retained control of the city until December 1782. After the British left the city's name was officially changed to Charleston in 1783, naming it after King Charles II of England.
When the city was freed from the British, General Nathaniel Green presented its leaders with the Moultrie Flag, describing it as the first American flag flown in the South.
Antebellum era (1785 1861)
Rainbow Row Old Slave Mart Museum]] Although the city would lose the status of state capital to Columbia, Charleston became even more prosperous in the plantation-dominated economy of the post-Revolutionary years. The invention of the cotton gin in 1793 revolutionized this crop's production, and it quickly became South Carolina's major export. Cotton plantations relied heavily on slave labor. Slaves were also the primary labor force within the city, working as domestics, artisans, market workers or laborers. By 1820 Charleston's population had grown to 23,000, with a black majority. When a massive slave revolt planned by Denmark Vesey, a free black, was discovered in 1822, such hysteria ensued amidst white Charlestonians and Carolinians that the activities of free blacks and slaves were severely restricted.
As Charleston's government, society and industry grew, commercial institutions were established to support the community's aspirations. The Bank of South Carolina, the second oldest building constructed as a bank in the nation, was established here in 1798. Branches of the First and Second Bank of the United States were also located in Charleston in 1800 and 1817. By 1840, the Market Hall and Sheds, where fresh meat and produce were brought daily, became the commercial hub of the city. The slave trade also depended on the port of Charleston, where ships could be unloaded and the slaves sold at markets.
In the first half of the 19th century, South Carolinians became more devoted to the idea that state's rights were superior to the Federal government's authority. In 1832 South Carolina passed an ordinance of nullification, a procedure in which a state could in effect repeal a Federal law, directed against the most recent tariff acts. Soon Federal soldiers were dispensed to Charleston's forts and began to collect tariffs by force. A compromise was reached by which the tariffs would be gradually reduced, but the underlying argument over state's rights would continue to escalate in the coming decades.
Civil War (1861 1865)
The ruins of Mills House and nearby buildings. A shell-damaged carriage and the remains of a brick chimney in the foreground. 1865.
On December 20, 1860, following the election of Abraham Lincoln, the South Carolina General Assembly voted to secede from the Union. On January 9, 1861, Citadel cadets opened fire on the Union ship Star of the West entering Charleston's harbor. On April 12, 1861, shore batteries under the command of General Pierre G. T. Beauregard opened fire on the Union-held Fort Sumter in the harbor. After a 34-hour bombardment, Major Robert Anderson surrendered the fort, thus starting the war.
Union forces repeatedly bombarded the city, causing vast damage, and kept up a blockade that shut down most commercial traffic, although some blockade runners got through. In a failed effort to break the blockade on February 17, 1864, an early submarine, the H.L. Hunley made a night attack on the .
In 1865, Union troops moved into the city, and took control of many sites, including the United States Arsenal, which the Confederate Army had seized at the outbreak of the war. The War Department also confiscated the grounds and buildings of the Citadel Military Academy, and used this as a federal garrison for over seventeen years. It was finally returned to the state and reopened as a military college in 1882 under the direction of Lawrence E. Marichak.
Postbellum era (1865 1945)
After the defeat of the Confederacy, Federal forces remained in Charleston during the city's reconstruction. The war had shattered the prosperity of the antebellum city. Freed slaves were faced with poverty and discrimination. Industries slowly brought the city and its inhabitants back to a renewed vitality and growth in population. As the city's commerce improved, Charlestonians also worked to restore their community institutions. In 1865 The Avery Normal Institute was established by the American Missionary Association as a private school for Charleston's African American population. General William T. Sherman lent his support to the conversion of the United States Arsenal into the Porter Military Academy, an educational facility for former soldiers and boys left orphaned or destitute by the war. Porter Military Academy later joined with Gaud School and is now a prep school, Porter-Gaud School. The William Enston Homes, a planned community for the city's aged and infirm, was built in 1889. J. Taylor Pearson, a freed slave, designed the Homes, and passed peacefully in them after years as the maintenance manager post-reconstruction. An elaborate public building, the United States Post Office and Courthouse, was completed in 1896 and signaled renewed life in the heart of the city.
On August 31, 1886, Charleston was nearly destroyed by an earthquake measuring 7.5 on the Richter scale. It was felt as far away as Boston to the north, Chicago and Milwaukee to the northwest, as far west as New Orleans, as far south as Cuba, and as far east as Bermuda. It damaged 2,000 buildings in Charleston and caused $6 million worth of damage ($133 million(2006 USD)), while in the whole city the buildings were only valued at approximately $24 million($531 million(2006 USD).
Contemporary era (1945 present)
Memorial to the Confederate Defenders of Charleston at White Point Garden. Charleston languished economically for several decades in the 20th century, though the large military presence in the region helped to shore up the city's economy. The Charleston Hospital Strike of 1969 was one of the last major events of the civil rights movement and brought Ralph Abernathy, Coretta Scott King, Andrew Young and other prominent figures to march with the local leader Mary Moultrie. Its story is told in Tom Dent's book "Southern Journey." Joseph P. Riley, Jr. was elected as mayor in the 1970s, and helped advance several cultural aspects of the city. Riley has been the major proponent of reviving Charleston's economic and cultural heritage. The last thirty years of the 20th century saw major new reinvestment in the city, with a number of municipal improvements and a commitment to historic preservation. These commitments were not slowed down by Hurricane Hugo and continue to this day. The eye of Hurricane Hugo came ashore at Charleston Harbor in 1989, and though the worst damage was in nearby McClellanville, three-quarters of the homes in Charleston's historic district sustained damage of varying degree. The hurricane caused over $2.8 billion in damage. The city was able to rebound fairly quickly after the hurricane and has grown in population, reaching an estimated 124,593 residents in 2009.
Map showing the major rivers of Charleston and the Charleston Harbor watershed. The city proper consists of six distinct areas: the Peninsula/Downtown, West Ashley, Johns Island, James Island, Daniel Island, and the Cainhoy Peninsula.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of , of which is land and is water. The old city is located on a peninsula at the point where, as Charlestonians say, "The Ashley and the Cooper Rivers come together to form the Atlantic Ocean." The entire peninsula is very low, some is landfill material, and as such, frequently floods during heavy rains, storm surges and unusually high tides. The city limits have expanded across the Ashley River from the peninsula, encompassing the majority of West Ashley as well as James Island and some of Johns Island. The city limits also have expanded across the Cooper River, encompassing Daniel Island and the Cainhoy area. North Charleston blocks any expansion up the peninsula, and Mount Pleasant occupies the land directly east of the Cooper River.
The tidal rivers (Wando, Cooper, Stono, and Ashley) are evidence of a submergent or drowned coastline. There is a submerged river delta off the mouth of the harbor, and the Cooper River is deep, affording a good location for a port. The rising of the ocean may be due to melting of glacial ice during the end of the Ice Age.
Damage left from Hurricane Hugo in 1989. Charleston has a humid subtropical climate (K ppen Cfa), with mild winters, hot, humid summers, and significant rainfall all year long. Summer is the wettest season; almost half of the annual rainfall occurs during the summer months in the form of thundershowers. Fall remains relatively warm through November. Winter is short and mild, and is characterized by occasional rain. Snow flurries seldom occur, although in 2010, fell on the evening of February 12, the heaviest in 20 years. The highest temperature recorded (inside city limits at the Customs House on E. Bay St.) was , on June 2, 1985, and the lowest temperature recorded was on January 21, 1985. Hurricanes are a major threat to the area during the summer and early fall, with several severe hurricanes hitting the area most notably Hurricane Hugo on September 21, 1989 (a Category 4 storm).
Charleston was hit by a large tornado in 1761, which temporarily emptied the Ashley River, and sank five offshore warships.
Metropolitan Statistical Area
The Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville Metropolitan Statistical Area currently consists of three counties: Charleston, Berkeley, and Dorchester. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, the metropolitan statistical area had a total population of about 664,607 people. North Charleston is the second largest city in the Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville Metropolitan Statistical Area and ranks as the third largest city in the state; Mount Pleasant and Summerville are the next largest cities. These cities combined with other incorporated and unincorporated areas surrounding the city of Charleston form the Charleston-North Charleston Urban Area with a population of 548,404 as of 2010. The metropolitan statistical area also includes a separate and much smaller urban area within Berkeley County, Moncks Corner (2000 pop.: 9,123).
The traditional parish system persisted until the Reconstruction, when counties were imposed. Nevertheless, traditional parishes still exist in various capacities, mainly as public service districts. The city of Charleston proper, which was originally defined by the limits of the Parish of St. Philip & St. Michael. It now also includes parts of St. James' Parish, St. George's Parish, St. Andrew's Parish, and St. John's Parish, although the last two are mostly still incorporated rural parishes.
The racial/ethnic makeup of Charleston is 52.2% White Americans, 45.1% Black Americans, 1.6% Asian Americans, and 2.4% Hispanics or Latino.
Charleston has a strong mayor-council government, with the mayor acting as the chief administrator and the executive officer of the municipality. The mayor also presides over city council meetings and has a vote, the same as other council members. The current mayor, since 1975, is Joseph P. Riley, Jr. The council has twelve members who are elected from one of twelve districts.
The city's voters are among the most liberal in South Carolina. In 2006, Charleston's residents voted against Amendment 1, which sought to ban same-sex marriage in South Carolina. Statewide, the measure passed by 78% to 22% but the voters of Charleston rejected it by 3,353 votes (48%) to 3,563 (52%).
Fire Department station houses for Engines 2 and 3 of the Charleston Fire Department. The City of Charleston Fire Department consists over 300 full time firefighters. These firefighters operate out of nineteen companies located throughout the city: sixteen engine companies, two tower companies, and one ladder company. Training, Fire Marshall, Operations, Administration are the divisions of the department.  The department operates on a 24/48 schedule and had a Class 1 ISO rating until late 2008, when ISO officially lowered it to Class 3. Russell (Rusty) Thomas served as Fire Chief until June 2008, and was succeeded by Chief Thomas Carr in November 2008.
The City of Charleston Police Department, with a total of 382 sworn officers, 137 civilians and 27 reserve police officers, is South Carolina's largest police department. Their procedures on cracking down on drug use and gang violence in the city are used as models to other cities to do the same. According to the final 2005 FBI Crime Reports, Charleston crime level is worse than the national average in almost every major category. Greg Mullen, the former Deputy Chief of Police in the City of Virginia Beach, Virginia, serves as the current police chief. The former Charleston police chief was Reuben Greenberg who resigned August 12, 2005. Greenberg was credited with creating a polite police force that kept police brutality well in check, even as it developed a visible presence in community policing and a significant reduction in crime rates.
EMS and medical centers
Emergency medical services for the city are provided by Charleston County Emergency Medical Services (CCEMS) & Berkeley County Emergency Medical Services (BCEMS). The city is served by both Charleston & Berkeley counties EMS and 911 services since the city is part of both counties.
Charleston is the primary medical center for the eastern portion of the state. The city has several major hospitals located in the downtown area: Medical University of South Carolina Medical Center (MUSC), Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center, and Roper Hospital. MUSC is the state's first school of medicine, the largest medical university in the state, and the sixth oldest continually operating school of medicine in the United States. The downtown medical district is experiencing rapid growth of biotechnology and medical research industries coupled with substantial expansions of all the major hospitals. Additionally, more expansions are planned or underway at another major hospital located in the West Ashley portion of the city: Bon Secours-St Francis Xavier Hospital. The Trident Regional Medical Center located in the City of North Charleston and East Cooper Regional Medical Center located in Mount Pleasant also serve the needs of residents of the City of Charleston.
The following table shows Charleston's crime rate in six crimes that Morgan Quitno uses for their calculation for "America's most dangerous cities" ranking, in comparison to the national average. The statistics provided are not for the actual number of crimes committed, but how many crimes committed per 100,000 people.
||Charleston, South Carolina (2007)
Since 1999, the overall crime rate of Charleston has begun to decline. The total crime index rate for 1999 was 597.1 crimes committed per 100,000 people. the United States Average is 320.9 per 100,000. Charleston had a total crime index rate of 430.9 per 100,000 for the year of 2007.
According to the Congressional Quarterly Press 2008 City Crime Rankings: Crime in Metropolitan America, Charleston, South Carolina ranks as the 124th most dangerous city larger than 75,000 inhabitants. However, the entire Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville Metropolitan Statistical Area had a much higher overall crime rate, ranking at #21.
Infrastructure and economy
Economic sectors and major employers
Charleston is a major tourist destination, with a considerable number of luxury hotels, hotel chains, inns, and bed and breakfasts and a large number of award-winning restaurants and quality shopping. The city has two shipping terminals, owned and operated by the South Carolina Ports Authority, which are part of the fourth largest container seaport on the East Coast and the thirteenth largest container seaport in North America in 2009. Piggly Wiggly Carolina Company, a grocery store chain with stores in South Carolina and Georgia, is headquartered in the city. Charleston is becoming a prime location for information technology jobs and corporations, most notably Blackbaud, Modulant, CSS and Benefitfocus. Higher education is also an important sector in the local economy, with institutions such as the Medical University of South Carolina, College of Charleston, The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, and Charleston School of Law. Charleston is also an important art destination, named a top 25 arts destination by AmericanStyle magazine.
In 2011 Boeing opened a new facility to build the 787 Dreamliner in North Charleston adjacent to the airport.
U.S.P.S. zip codes
The City of Charleston is served by these Zip Codes:
- 29406 This zip code is incorrectly listed by U.S.P.S. as serving the City of Charleston. It only serves the City of North Charleston
- 29409 - This zip code serves the campus of The Citadel, which has its own post office and mail system.
- 29424 - This zip code serves the campus of The College of Charleston, which has its own post office and mail system.
Charleston is served by the Charleston International Airport, which is located in the City of North Charleston and is the busiest passenger airport in the state of South Carolina. The airport shares runways with the adjacent Charleston Air Force Base. Charleston Executive Airport is a smaller airport located in the John's Island section of the City of Charleston and is used by non-commercial aircraft. Both airports are owned and operated by the Charleston County Aviation Authority.
Interstates and highways
Near the exit from I-26 onto Meeting Street in Charleston,South Carolina. Intersection of Meeting Street and Line Street visible in photoInterstate 26 enters the city from the northwest and connects the city to North Charleston, the Charleston International Airport, Interstate 95, and Columbia, South Carolina. It ends in downtown Charleston with exits to the Septima Clark Expressway, the Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge and Meeting Street. The Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge and Septima Clark Expressway are part of U.S. Highway 17, which travels east-west through the cities of Charleston and Mount Pleasant. The Mark Clark Expressway, or Interstate 526, is the bypass around the city and begins at U.S. Highway 17 North/South. U.S. Highway 52 is Meeting Street and its spur is East Bay Street, which becomes Morrison Drive after leaving the Eastside. This highway merges with King Street in the city's Neck area (Industrial District). U.S. Highway 78 is King Street in the downtown area, eventually merging with Meeting Street.
- (Eastern terminus is in Charleston)
- (Eastern terminus is in Charleston)
- (Eastern terminus is in Charleston)
- 25px SC 7 Sam Rittenberg Boulevard
- 25px SC 30 James Island Expressway
- 25px SC 61 St. Andrews Boulevard/Ashley River Road
- 25px SC 171 Old Towne Road/Folly Road
- 25px SC 461 Paul Cantrell Boulevard/Glenn McConnell Parkway
- 25px SC 700 Maybank Highway
Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge
The Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge across the Cooper River opened on July 16, 2005, and was the second longest cable-stayed bridge in the Americas at the time of its construction. The bridge links Mount Pleasant with downtown Charleston, and has eight lanes and a 12-foot lane shared by pedestrians and bicycles. It replaced the Grace Memorial Bridge (built in 1929) and the Silas N. Pearman Bridge (built in 1966). They were considered two of the more dangerous bridges in America and were demolished after the Ravenel Bridge opened. second longest]] cable-stayed bridge in the Western Hemisphere at the time of its construction.
Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority
The logo of CARTA The city is also served by a bus system, operated by the Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA). The majority of the urban area is served by regional fixed route buses which are also equipped with bike racks as part of the system's Rack & Ride program. CARTA offers connectivity to historic downtown attractions and accommodations with DASH (Downtown Area Shuttle) trolley buses, and it offers curbside pickup for disabled passengers with its Tel-A-Ride buses.
Rural parts of the city and metropolitan area are served by a different bus system, operated by Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Rural Transportation Management Association (BCD-RTMA). The system is also commonly called the TriCounty Link.
Columbus Street Terminal viewed from the southwest. The Port of Charleston, owned and operated by the South Carolina Ports Authority, is one of the largest ports in the U.S. The Port of Charleston consists of five terminals. Two are in Charleston, on the Harbor. Two are on the Cooper River in the City of North Charleston and one is located on the Wando River in the Town of Mt. Pleasant. Despite occasional labor disputes, the port is ranked number one in customer satisfaction across North America by supply chain executives. Port activity, behind tourism, is one of the leading source of Charleston's revenue.
Today Charleston boasts the deepest water in the Southeast region and regularly handles ships too big to transit through the Panama Canal. A next-generation harbor deepening project is currently underway to take Charleston's shipping channel deeper than 45 feet at mean low tide.
Union Pier also includes a cruise ship passenger terminal and hosts numerous cruise departures annually. In May 2010, the Carnival Fantasy was permanently stationed in Charleston, offering weekly cruises to the Bahamas and Key West, eventually to include Bermuda. With the addition of the weekly Carnival Fantasy sailings, Union Terminal hosted 67 embarkations and ports of call in 2010.
- Wando Welch Terminal used for container cargo.
- Columbus Street Terminal used for project cargo, breakbulk and roll-on/roll-off cargo.
- Union Pier Terminal used for cruise ship operations originating in the city.
- North Charleston Terminal used for container cargo
- Veterans Terminal used for breakbulk and bulk cargo.
The Amtrak station, located in the City of North Charleston, is served by two Amtrak trains, the Palmetto and the Silver Meteor, operating between New York and Savannah, Georgia and Miami, Florida, respectively.
Charleston is well-known across the United States and beyond for its unique culture, which blends traditional Southern American, English, French, and West African elements. The downtown peninsula is well known for its prominence of art, music, local cuisine, and fashion. Spoleto Festival USA, held annually in late spring, is one of the world's major performing arts festivals. It was founded in 1977 by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Gian Carlo Menotti, who sought to establish a counterpart to the Festival dei Due Mondi (the Festival of Two Worlds) in Spoleto, Italy. Charleston's oldest community theater group, the Footlight Players, has provided theatrical productions of a high quality since 1931. A variety of performing arts venues includes the historic Dock Street Theatre. The annual Charleston Fashion Week held each Spring in Marion Square brings in designers, journalists, and clients from across the Nation. Charleston is well known for its local seafood, which plays a key role in the city's renowned cuisine, comprising staple dishes such as Gumbo, She-Crab Soup, Fried Oysters, Lowcountry Boil, Deviled Crab Cakes, Red Rice, and Shrimp and Grits. The culture in Charleston differs greatly even from the rest of South Carolina, with British and French elements heavily prevalent. Downtown, horse-drawn carriages share the cobblestone streets with cars. Tourism is among the main contributors to a strong local economy, as Charleston is annually among the nation's most visited cities, as well as being an enormously popular wedding destination. The city is the site of several significant historical sites pertaining to both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, including Fort Sumter, where the first shots of the Civil War were fired by Charlestonian Confederate soldiers.
Charleston's unique dialect has long been noted in the South and elsewhere, for the singular attributes it possesses. Alone among the various regional Southern accents, the Charleston accent traditionally has ingliding or monophthongal long mid-vowels, raises ay and aw in certain environments, and is non-rhotic (although non-rhoticity was definitely not unique to Charleston and some or all of the above features may not have been either). Some attribute these unique features of Charleston's speech to its early settlement by the French Huguenots and Sephardic Jews, both of which played influential parts in Charleston's development and history. However, given Charleston's high concentration of African-Americans that spoke the Gullah language, the speech patterns probably were more influenced by the dialect of the Gullah African-American community.
The "Charleston accent" can be particularly noted in the local's pronunciation of the city's name itself. A Charleston native will typically ignore the r, elongate the middle vowel, and shorten the ending vowel, pronouncing the name as "Ch-\aw\lst-un."
Today, the Gullah language and dialect is still spoken among African-American locals. However, rapid development, especially on the surrounding sea islands, is slowly diminishing its prominence.
Two important works which shed light on Charleston's early dialect are "Charleston Provincialisms" and "The Huguenot Element in Charleston's Provincialisms," both written by Sylvester Primer. Further scholarship is needed on the influence of Sephardic Jews to the speech patterns of Charleston.
French Protestant (Huguenot) Church The Roman Catholic Cathedral of St. John the Baptist]] (Started 1890 Completed 2009) St. Matthew's Lutheran Church]] spire soars 255 feet above Charleston Charleston, known as the "Holy City"  has long been noted for its numerous churches and denominations. It is the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston, the seventh oldest diocese in the United States. The well noted Bishop John England, D.D. was the first Roman Catholic Bishop of this city, and the private Bishop England High School was named in his honor. The city's oldest Roman Catholic parish, Saint Mary of the Annunciation Roman Catholic Church, is the mother church of Roman Catholicism to North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. It is also the Seat of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina. The city is home to one of two remaining Huguenot churches in America, the only one that is still a Protestant congregation. The city is home to many well known churches, cathedrals and synagogues. The churchtower spotted skyline is one of the reasons for the city's nickname, "The Holy City." The tallest church in South Carolina and the tallest building in Charleston is St. Matthew's German Evangelical Lutheran Church. Historically, Charleston was one of the most religiously tolerant cities in the New World. Recently, the conservative Episcopal diocese of South Carolina, headquartered in Charleston, has been one of the key players in potential schism in the Anglican Communion. Charleston is home to the only African-American Seventh Day Baptist Church congregation in the Seventh Day Baptist General Conference of the United States and Canada. The First Baptist Church of Charleston (1682) is the oldest Baptist church in the South and the first Southern Baptist Church in existence. It is also used as a private K-12 school.
Charleston also has a large and historic Jewish population. The American branch of the Reform Jewish movement was founded in Charleston at Synagogue Congregation Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim. It is the fourth oldest Jewish congregation in the continental United States (after New York, Newport and Savannah).
Annual cultural events and fairs
Charleston annually hosts Spoleto Festival USA founded by Gian Carlo Menotti, a 17-day art festival featuring over 100 performances by individual artists in a variety of disciplines. The Spoleto Festival is internationally recognized as America's premier performing arts festival. The annual Piccolo Spoleto festival takes place at the same time, and features local performers and artists, with hundreds of performances throughout the city. Other notable festivals and events include the Taste of Charleston, The Lowcountry Oyster Festival, the Cooper River Bridge Run, Southeastern Wildlife Exposition (SEWE), Charleston Food and Wine Festival, Charleston Fashion Week, and the MOJA Arts Festival, and the Holiday Festival of Lights (at James Island County Park).
Charleston has a vibrant theater scene, and is home to America's first theater. In 2010 Charleston was listed as one of the country's top 10 cities for theater, and one of the top 2 in the South. Most of the theaters are part of the League of Charleston Theatres, better known as Theatre Charleston http://www.theatrecharleston.com . Some of the city's theaters include:
- The Dock Street Theatre America's first theater. Home of the Charleston Stage Company, South Carolina's largest professional theater company.
The Village Playhouse A nationally recognized professional theater company east of the Cooper River.
The Footlight Players One of the leading community theaters in the South.
- Theatre 99 An improvisational theater company.
Pure Theatre A small professional theater that produces contemporary plays.
- Sottile Theatre, on the campus of The College of Charleston
Museums, historical sites and other attractions
Gibbes Art Gallery Charleston boasts many historic buildings, art and historical museums and other attractions. The following are among those which are open to the public:
- The Charleston Museum, America's First Museum, founded in 1773. Its mission is to preserve and interpret the cultural and natural history of Charleston and the South Carolina Lowcountry.
- The Exchange and Provost was built in 1767. The building features a dungeon which held various signers of the Declaration of Independence and hosted events for George Washington in 1791 and the ratification of the U.S. Constitution in 1788. It is operated as a museum by the Daughters of the American Revolution.
- The Powder Magazine is a 1713 gunpowder magazine and museum. It is the oldest surviving public building in South Carolina.
- The Gibbes Museum of Art opened in 1905 and houses a premier collection of principally American works with a Charleston or Southern connection.
- The Fireproof Building houses the South Carolina Historical Society, a membership-based reference library open to the public.
- The Nathaniel Russell House is an important Federal style house. It is owned by the Historic Charleston Foundation and open to the public as a house museum.
- The Gov. William Aiken House, also known as the Aiken-Rhett House is a home built in 1820 for William Aiken, Jr.
- The Heyward-Washington House is a historic house museum owned and operated by the Charleston Museum. Furnished for the late 18th century, the house includes a collection of Charleston-made furniture.
- The Joseph Manigault House is a historic house museum owned and operated by the Charleston Museum. The house was designed by Gabriel Manigault and is significant for its Adam style architecture.
- The Market Hall and Sheds, also known as the City Market or simply the Market, stretch several blocks behind 188 Meeting Street. Market Hall was built in the 1841 and houses the Daughters of the Confederacy Museum. The sheds house some permanent stores but are mainly occupied by open-air vendors.
- The Avery Research Center For African-American History and Culture was established to collect, preserve, and make public the unique historical and cultural heritage of African Americans in Charleston and the South Carolina Lowcountry. Avery's archival collections, museum exhibitions, and public programming reflect these diverse populations as well as the wider African Diaspora.
- South Carolina Aquarium
- Fort Sumter, site of the first shots fired in the Civil War.
- The Battery is an historic defensive seawall and promenade located at the tip of the peninsula along with White Point Garden, a park featuring several memorials and Civil War-era artillery pieces.
- Rainbow Row is an iconic strip of homes along the harbor that date back to the mid-18th century. Though the homes themselves are not open to the public, they are one of the most photographed attractions in the city and are featured heavily in local art.
Blackbaud Stadium, home of the Charleston Battery Charleston is home to a number of professional, minor league, and amateur sports teams:
- The Charleston Battery, a professional soccer team, plays in the USL Professional Division. The Charleston Battery play on Daniel Island at Blackbaud Stadium.
- The Charleston RiverDogs, a Minor League Baseball team, play in the South Atlantic League, and are an affiliate of the New York Yankees. The RiverDogs play at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park.
- The Charleston Outlaws RFC is a Rugby Union Football Club founded in 1973. The Club is in good standing with the Palmetto Rugby Union, USA Rugby South, and USARFU. The club competes for honors in Men's Division II against the Cape Fear, Columbia, Greenville, and Charlotte "B" clubs. The club also hosts a Rugby Sevens tournament during Memorial Day weekend.
Other notable sports venues in Charleston include Johnson Hagood Stadium (home of The Citadel Bulldogs football team) and Toronto Dominion Bank Arena at the College of Charleston which seats 5,700 people for the school's basketball and volleyball teams.
Charleston is a popular filming location for movies and television, both in its own right and as a stand-in for southern and/or historic settings. For a list of both, see here. In addition, many novels, plays, and other works of fiction have been set in Charleston, including the following:
- Several books by Citadel alumnus and novelist Pat Conroy, such as The Lords of Discipline (based on Conroy's experiences as a cadet at The Citadel) and South of Broad.
- The Gullah opera Porgy and Bess
- Clive Barker's novel Galilee
- Harry Turtledove's Southern Victory Series alternate history series about a Confederacy that won the Civil War
- Rafael Sabatini's novel The Carolinian
- The 1991 bestseller Scarlett, sequel to Gone with the Wind. In fact, Alexandra Ripley, the author of Scarlett, derived inspiration from the city for her novel Charleston and its sequel On Leaving Charleston.
The Notebook, 2004, starring Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling, was filmed in Charleston. The American Theatre on King Street was Allie and Noah's first date spot.
- The Novel, Werewolf Smackdown by Mario Acevedo is set in Charleston
- The novels Dreams of Sleep, Rich in Love and The Fireman's Fair were written by Josephine Humphreys, a native of Charleston. All are set in Charleston and the Charleston area. See the film entry for Rich in Love, which was filmed on Mount Pleasant and in Charleston.
- The 2010 film, Dear John.
- Gullah Gullah Island
- The College of Charleston's Cistern is featured in the 2000 movie The Patriot. It serves as the meeting house where the South Carolinians decide to join the fight against the British.
- Virals and Seizure by Kathy Reichs. The location of the books are set in Charleston.
Nearby cities and towns
- Town of Awendaw
- City of Folly Beach
- City of Hanahan
- City of Isle of Palms
- Town of James Island
- Town of Mount Pleasant
- City of North Charleston
- City of Walterboro
- Town of Cottageville
- Town of Sullivan's Island
- Town of Summerville
- City of Goose Creek
- Town of Hollywood
- Town of Rockville
- Town of Meggett
- Town of McClellanville
Other outlying areas
- Johns Island
- Wadmalaw Island
- Morris Island
- Edisto Island
- Dewee's Island
- Yonges Island
- Allan Park
- Bees Ferry Landing Park
- Brittlebank Park & Fishing Pier
- Cannon Park
- Charles Towne Landing (state historic site)
- Concord Park
- Corrine Jones Playground
- Etwin Park
- Hampton Park
- Harmon Park
- Hazel Parker Park
- Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park (Home of the Charleston RiverDogs)
- Hester Park
- Lenevar Park
- Mall Park
- Martin Park
- Mary Utsey Park
- McMahon Playground
- Mitchell Park
- Moultrie Park
- Parkshore Park
- Sunrise Park
- Waterfront Park
- West Ashley Park
- White Point Garden
The Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission (CCPRC) http://www.ccprc.com operates numerous facilities within Charleston County.
- Kiawah Beachwalker County Park, Kiawah Island, South Carolina
- Isle of Palms County Park, Isle of Palms, South Carolina
- Folly Beach County Park, Folly Beach, South Carolina
- Folly Beach Fishing Pier, Folly Beach, South Carolina
- Mt. Pleasant Pier, Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina
Marinas and boat landings:
- Cooper River Marina
- Multiple county-wide boat landings
- Palmetto Islands County Park, Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina
- Caw Caw Nature and History Interpretive Center, Ravenel, South Carolina
- North Charleston Wannamaker County Park, North Charleston, South Carolina
- Mullet Hall Equestrian Center, Johns Island, South Carolina
- James Island County Park, Charleston, South Carolina
- Splash Island at Palmetto Islands County Park
- Splash Zone at James Island County Park
- Whirlin' Waters at North Charleston Wannamaker County Park
Off-leash dog parks are offered at James Island, Palmetto Islands, and North Charleston Wannamaker County Park.
James Island County Park, approximately 11 minutes by car from downtown Charleston, features a 50-foot climbing wall and bouldering cave; cabin, RV, and tent camping facilities; rental facilities, fishing dock, challenge course, kayaking programs, summer camps, paved trails, and many special events such as the Lowcountry Cajun Festival (usually the first weekend in April), East Coast Canoe and Kayak Festival (3rd weekend in April), Holiday Festival of Lights (mid-November through the first of the year), and the summer outdoor reggae concerts.
Schools, colleges and universities
Because most of the city of Charleston is located in Charleston County, it is served by the Charleston County School District. Part of the city, however, is served by the Berkeley County School District in northern portions of the city, such as the Cainhoy Industrial District, Cainhoy Historical District and Daniel Island.
Charleston is also served by a large number of independent schools, including Porter-Gaud School (K-12), Ashley Hall (K-12), Charleston Day School (K-8), First Baptist Church School (K-12), Palmetto Christian Academy (K-12), Coastal Christian Preparatory School (K-12), Mason Preparatory School (K-8), and Addlestone Hebrew Academy (K-8).
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston Office of Education also operates out of the city and oversees several K-8 parochial schools, such as Blessed Sacrament School, Christ Our King School, Charleston Catholic School, Nativity School, and Divine Redeemer School, all of which are "feeder" schools into Bishop England High School, a diocesan high school within the city. Bishop England, Porter-Gaud School, and Ashley Hall are the city's oldest and most prominent private schools, and are in themselves a significant part of Charleston history, dating back some 150 years.
Public institutions of higher education in Charleston include the College of Charleston (the nation's 13th oldest university), The Citadel (The Military College of South Carolina) and Charleston Southern University. The city is home to a law school, the Charleston School of Law, as well as a medical school, the Medical University of South Carolina. Charleston is also home to the Roper Hospital School of Practical Nursing, and the city has a downtown satellite campus for the region's technical school, Trident Technical College. Charleston is also the location for the only college in the country that offers bachelors degrees in the building arts, The American College of the Building Arts. The Art Institute of Charleston located downtown on North Market Street and opened in 2007.
- Coast Guard Sector Charleston
- Coast Guard Station Charleston
South Carolina Army National Guard
Charleston is the nation's 98th largest Designated market area (DMA), with 312,770 households and 0.27% of the U.S. TV population. The following stations are licensed in Charleston and have significant operations or viewers in the city:
- WCBD-TV (2, NBC, CW): licensed in Charleston, owned by Media General, studios in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
- WCIV-TV (4, ABC): licensed in Charleston, (Allbritton Communications), studios in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
- WCSC-TV (5, CBS, Ind., Bounce TV): licensed in Charleston; owned by Raycom, studios in Charleston, South Carolina
- WITV-TV (7, PBS): licensed in Charleston, owned by South Carolina Educational Television, transmitter in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
- WLCN-CD (18, RTV) licensed in Charleston, owned by Faith Assembly of God, studios in Summerville, South Carolina
- WTAT-TV (24, Fox): licensed in Charleston, owned by Cunningham Broadcasting Company, studios in North Charleston, South Carolina
- WAZS-CD (29, Azteca America Independent) licensed in Charleston, owned by Jabar Communications, studios in North Charleston, South Carolina
- WJNI-CD (31, America One Independent) licensed in Charleston, owned by Jabar Communications, studios in North Charleston, South Carolina
- WMMP-TV (36, My Network Television, TheCoolTV): licensed in Charleston, owned by Sinclair Broadcasting Company, studios in North Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston has one official sister city, Spoleto, Umbria, Italy. The relationship between the two cities began when Pulitzer Prize-winning Italian composer Gian Carlo Menotti selected Charleston as the city to host the American version of Spoleto's annual Festival of Two Worlds. "Looking for a city that would provide the charm of Spoleto as well as its wealth of theaters, churches and other performance spaces, they selected Charleston, South Carolina as the ideal location. The historic city provided a perfect fit: intimate enough that the Festival would captivate the entire city, yet cosmopolitan enough to provide an enthusiastic audience and robust infrastructure."
Charleston is also twinned with Speightstown, St. Peter, Barbados. The original parts of Charlestown were based on the plans of Barbados's capital city Bridgetown. Many dispossessed indigo, tobacco and cotton planters departed from Speightstown, along with their slaves, and helped found Charleston after there was a wholesale move to adopt sugar cane cultivation in Barbados; a land and labour intensive enterprise which helped usher in the era of Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade in the former British West Indies.
- Charleston Historic District
- Old Slave Mart
- Charleston Sofa Super Store fire
- The Citadel
- College of Charleston
- Christopher Werner
- Daniel Island
- Dewees Island
- French Quarter (Charleston, South Carolina)
- Hampton Park Terrace
- History of the Jews in Charleston, South Carolina
- John Henry Devereux
- Hurricane Hugo
- List of people from Charleston, South Carolina
- List of tallest buildings in Charleston, South Carolina
- List of television shows and movies in Charleston, South Carolina
- National Register of Historic Places listings in Charleston, South Carolina
- Riverland Terrace
- West Ashley
- Borick, Carl P. A Gallant Defense: The Siege of Charleston, 1780. U. of South Carolina Press, 2003. 332 pp.
- Bull, Kinloch, Jr. The Oligarchs in Colonial and Revolutionary Charleston: Lieutenant Governor William Bull II and His Family. U. of South Carolina Press, 1991. 415 pp.
- Clarke, Peter. A Free Church in a Free Society. The Ecclesiology of John England, Bishop of Charleston, 1820 1842, a Nineteenth Century Missionary Bishop in the Southern United States. Charleston, South Carolina: Bagpipe, 1982. 561 pp.
- Coker, P. C., III. Charleston's Maritime Heritage, 1670 1865: An Illustrated History. Charleston, South Carolina: Coker-Craft, 1987. 314 pp.
- Doyle, Don H. New Men, New Cities, New South: Atlanta, Nashville, Charleston, Mobile, 1860 1910. U. of North Carolina Press, 1990. 369 pp.
- Fraser, Walter J., Jr. Charleston! Charleston! The History of a Southern City. U. of South Carolina, 1990. 542 pp. the standard scholarly history
- Gillespie, Joanna Bowen. The Life and Times of Martha Laurens Ramsay, 1759 1811. U. of South Carolina Press, 2001. 315 pp.
- Hagy, James William. This Happy Land: The Jews of Colonial and Antebellum Charleston. U. of Alabama Press, 1993. 450 pp.
- Jaher, Frederic Cople. The Urban Establishment: Upper Strata in Boston, New York, Charleston, Chicago, and Los Angeles. U. of Illinois Press, 1982. 777 pp.
- McInnis, Maurie D. The Politics of Taste in Antebellum Charleston. U. of North Carolina Press, 2005. 395 pp.
- Pease, William H. and Pease, Jane H. The Web of Progress: Private Values and Public Styles in Boston and Charleston, 1828 1843. Oxford U. Press, 1985. 352 pp.
- Pease, Jane H. and Pease, William H. A Family of Women: The Carolina Petigrus in Peace and War. U. of North Carolina Press, 1999. 328 pp.
- Pease, Jane H. and Pease, William H. Ladies, Women, and Wenches: Choice and Constraint in Antebellum Charleston and Boston. U. of North Carolina Press, 1990. 218 pp.
- Phelps, W. Chris. The Bombardment of Charleston, 1863 1865. Gretna, La.: Pelican, 2002. 175 pp.
- Rosen, Robert N. Confederate Charleston: An Illustrated History of the City and the People during the Civil War. U. of South Carolina Press, 1994. 181 pp.
- Rosen, Robert. A Short History of Charleston. University of South Carolina Press, (1997). ISBN 1-57003-197-5, scholarly survey
- Spence, E. Lee. Spence's Guide to South Carolina: diving, 639 shipwrecks (1520 1813), saltwater sport fishing, recreational shrimping, crabbing, oystering, clamming, saltwater aquarium, 136 campgrounds, 281 boat landings (Nelson Southern Printing, Sullivan's Island, South Carolina: Spence, 1976) OCLC: 2846435
- Spence, E. Lee. Treasures of the Confederate Coast: the "real Rhett Butler" & Other Revelations (Narwhal Press, Charleston/Miami, 1995)[ISBN 1-886391-01-7] [ISBN 1-886391-00-9], OCLC: 32431590
Art, architecture, literature, science
- Cothran, James R. Gardens of Historic Charleston. U. of South Carolina Press, 1995. 177 pp.
- Greene, Harlan. Mr. Skylark: John Bennett and the Charleston Renaissance. U. of Georgia Press, 2001. 372 pp.
- Hutchisson, James M. and Greene, Harlan, ed. Renaissance in Charleston: Art and Life in the Carolina Low Country, 1900 1940. U. of Georgia Press, 2003. 259 pp.
- Hutchisson, James M. DuBose Heyward: A Charleston Gentleman and the World of Porgy and Bess. U. Press of Mississippi, 2000. 225 pp.
- McNeil, Jim. Charleston's Navy Yard: A Picture History. Charleston, South Carolina: Coker Craft, 1985. 217 pp.
- O'Brien, Michael and Moltke-Hansen, David, ed. Intellectual Life in Antebellum Charleston. U. of Tennessee Press, 1986. 468 pp.
- Poston, Jonathan H. The Buildings of Charleston: A Guide to the City's Architecture. U. of South Carolina Press, 1997. 717 pp.
- ISBN 978-0-87049-555-7
- Stephens, Lester D. Science, Race, and Religion in the American South: John Bachman and the Charleston Circle of Naturalists, 1815 1895. U. of North Carolina Press, 2000. 338 pp.
- ISBN 0-941711-68-4
- Yuhl, Stephanie E. A Golden Haze of Memory: The Making of Historic Charleston. U. of North Carolina Press, 2005. 285 pp.
- Zola, Gary Phillip. Isaac Harby of Charleston, 1788 1828: Jewish Reformer and Intellectual. U. of Alabama Press, 1994. 284 pp.
- Susan Harbage Page and Juan Logan. "Prop Master at Charleston's Gibbes Museum of Art", Southern Spaces, 21 September 2009.
- Bellows, Barbara L. Benevolence among Slaveholders: Assisting the Poor in Charleston, 1670 1860. Louisiana State U. Press, 1993. 217 pp.
- Drago, Edmund L. Initiative, Paternalism, and Race Relations: Charleston's Avery Normal Institute. U. of Georgia Press, 1990. 402 pp.
- Egerton, Douglas R. He Shall Go Out Free: The Lives of Denmark Vesey. Madison House, 1999. 248 pp. online review
- Greene, Harlan; Hutchins, Harry S., Jr.; and Hutchins, Brian E. Slave Badges and the Slave-Hire System in Charleston, South Carolina, 1783 1865. McFarland, 2004. 194 pp.
- Jenkins, Wilbert L. Seizing the New Day: African Americans in Post-Civil War Charleston. Indiana U. Press, 1998. 256 pp.
- Johnson, Michael P. and Roark, James L. No Chariot Let Down: Charleston's Free People of Color on the Eve of the Civil War. U. of North Carolina Press, 1984. 174 pp.
- Kennedy, Cynthia M. Braided Relations, Entwined Lives: The Women of Charleston's Urban Slave Society. Indiana U. Press, 2005. 311 pp.
- Powers, Bernard E., Jr. Black Charlestonians: A Social History, 1822 1885. U. of Arkansas Press, 1994. 377 pp.
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