time period

Modern Day

Today’s Charleston retains its beauty – and its complexities: historic and current. Since 2010, it has consistently been voted the No. 1 travel destination in the U.S. and Canada based on its historic sites and landmarks, culture and arts, restaurants and food, people, friendliness, and shopping. The roots of much of Charleston’s unique built environment, food, music, arts, and culture are found in the African American community – and the generations of enslaved Africans on whose backs an economic empire was built.

From fine art, craft, social justice, gospel music, and jazz to architecture, ironwork, poetry, cuisine, education, law, and medicine, the African American community enriches and influences every part of Charleston culture. We invite you to explore Charleston’s historic sites, exhibits, artifacts, archives, places, and people – to deepen your understanding and experience of this incomparable city.

Reuben Greenberg, an African American, is appointed city of Charleston police chief.
On July 3, a 6-foot historical marker is placed on Sullivan’s Island near Fort Moultrie to honor those enslaved Africans who died in transit or arrived in bondage via Charleston Harbor. Annual commemoration tributes continue as a part of ‘Juneteenth’ celebrations.
A statue in honor of Denmark Vesey, whose planned insurrection resulted in the building of the Citadel, is erected in Hampton Park, away from the main visitor district, but ironically adjacent to the current Citadel campus.
In April of 2015, Walter Scott, an unarmed African-American, was fatally shot by Michael Slager, a white North Charleston police officer, after fleeing from a traffic stop. Slager was charged with murder after video surfaced showing him shooting Scott in the back while Scott was running away from him. The video contradicted Slager’s official police report, leading many to believe the shooting was racially motivated. Slager’s state trial for murder ended in a hung jury; he was then tried on several federal charges and sentenced to 20 years in prison.
In June of 2015, nine African-Americans were murdered by 21 year old white supremacist Dylan Roof during bible study at historic Emanuel AME Church. Roof was captured the next day and stated that his intent was to start a race war. He was convicted on federal hate crime and murder charges and sentenced to death. Roof’s use of the Confederate flag in his racist internet postings led the SC General Assembly to order its removal from the grounds of the state capitol. A memorial is planned on the grounds of Emanuel AME Church. Learn more at emanuelnine.org
On June 19 Charleston City Council passes a resolution apologizing for the city's historical role in slavery and the slave trade.
On July 1 the City of Charleston establishes the Office of Diversity, Racial Reconciliation, and Tolerance to ensure the city embraces diversity.
In the aftermath of the horrific death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers, organized as well as spontaneous protests occurred in Charleston to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement. As attention turned to the future of Confederate monuments and historical markers, public support grew for the removal of the statue of former Vice President and South Carolina statesman John C. Calhoun from atop its pedestal in Marion Square. Calhoun was well-known for his support of the institution of slavery, and for the concept of states’ rights. Although Calhoun died in 1850, his beliefs heavily influenced the South’s decision to secede from the United States a decade later. His statue was removed and put into storage on June 24, 2020.