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WIS Awareness 05/01/16

3mo ago
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While the exact dates may be disputed, the era of Reconstruction in the southern United States spans about a decade, roughly from 1865-1877. It was a period of transition after the Civil War where close to 4 million slaves were freed. Approximately 400,000 slaves resided in South Carolina. This shift from slavery to freedom was often tumultuous in much of the South, but ultimately resulted in passage of the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments guaranteeing freedom, citizenship and the right to vote (for African-American men). Black men became elected officials and former slaves were now considered American citizens with rights and recognized as human beings and not property. While the laws set the stage for equality, it was not immediately felt. Many argue it would take through the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement for equality to begin. In a discussion with two distinguished USC professors, we explore the period of Reconstruction. What the era meant for the South, for the country and for African-Americans. Also, what role did South Carolina play during the transition? This week’s Awareness is staged at the Woodrow Wilson family home; the childhood of the man who would become the 28th president of the United States. The house, situated in downtown Columbia on Hampton Street is the only presidential site in South Carolina. The home was built in 1871 during Reconstruction. We get a tour of the home and its significance to this period in Columbia’s history.