I am interested in researching the history of Early Black Charlestonians, where should I start?


Charleston has had a interesting history with race relations. There are at least three different categories that a Black person could live under.

1. Enslaved person: This person was owned by another

2. Formerly enslaved person (freedman/freeperson): This person was once enslaved and obtained their freedom by purchasing themselves, freed by the enslaver, or who self liberated

3. Free person of color: This person was born free and never enslaved. 

Here is a selection of books that are helpful in this query

Here are some articles or websites/digital archives

See digital exhibits and resource guides using the links below. 

Here are some archival collections at the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture (you will also want to review materials at the South Carolina Historical Society and the Special Collections at the College of Charleston)


As you are searching in our catalog or other catalogs/databases you will want to use some of these key words

Free blacks

African Americans -- South Carolina -- Charleston -- History -- 19th century

Free African Americans


African Americans -- Education -- Southern States -- History

Southern States -- Race relations

  • Last Updated Apr 14, 2022
  • Views 11
  • Answered By Aaisha Haykal

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