Charleston's African-American Heritage

Welcome to the city where many scholars argue that the African-American experience in North America began. Scholars support this argument by showing that Charleston - more than any other American city - has preserved the African cultural heritage of African-Americans. In addition, as a city that had an African-American majority for part of its 340-year history, Charleston has been profoundly influenced and shaped by its African-American population.

Charleston is also an important place to learn more about African-American history and culture. Key events in African-American history, as well as in American history, have shaped the city's growth and development. For example, as you tour the city, you will learn about the enslavement of Africans, the Civil War and Emancipation, Reconstruction, the Civil Rights Movement, and the unique linguistic, artistic, and culinary traditions that Africans and African Americans contributed to Charleston's history and culture.

We encourage you to discover and explore the city's unique African-American historical and cultural traditions. Please be sure to visit the College of Charleston's Avery Research Center for African-American History and Culture where you will find educational exhibits, archives, and artifacts that document the African-American experience in Charleston, South Carolina.

The Charleston Area Convention & Visitors Bureau is extremely grateful to the Avery Institute for African-American History and Culture for providing the editorial and images used to produce this guide to Charleston's African-American heritage.