From the Archives

History, documents, and photos

Slavery and African-American Life in the Upcountry

Written By: information_management - Feb• 17•10

During February and March, the library's special collections and archives departments have put together an exhibit on slavery and African-American life in the upcountry, which is on display in the library's gallery.  The exhibit runs until March 25.  

I would encourage those of you who are around Spartanburg to drop by to see the documents and books that my colleague Luke Meagher and I have put on display.  Campus graphic designer extraordinare Mark Olencki took high-resolution scans of our documents, enlarged them considerably, added text that we prepared, and printed large, 40 x 60 inch placards, which we have hung on the gallery walls.  The documents really come to life when seen at such a large scale.  

For those of you who aren't close by, here are a few of the images 

A recent discovery on campus was this receipt for the purchase of a slave by Professor James Carlisle.  

One of my earlier blog entries showed the letters between George Washington Carver and President Henry Nelson Snyder.  The Carver letter is on display.  

Another blog entry talked about the Rev. James Rosemond and the history of Silver Hill United Methodist Church in Spartanburg.  We used a photo of Father Rosemond in the exhibit.  

Another item was a letter written by a slave named Sanco, 

I'll work on adding the whole letter later, but the letter describes his life in Africa before he was kidnapped and enslaved, first in Jamaica, and later in South Carolina.  He was converted to Methodism by Bishop Francis Asbury, led prayer meetings on plantations, was beaten for doing so, and ultimately found his way into an environment that was more supportive.  The fact that he could write was unusual in that teaching slaves to read and write became illegal.  

The exhibit also contains a number of documents from the Littlejohn Collection and the rare books room, including a letter from Booker T. Washington, a slave trader's ledger, an advertisement for the sale of a number of slaves, and numerous books.  We don't try to sugarcoat the unpleasant side of history; instead, we're trying to show the change in African-American life over the course of the 19th century, the good, the bad, and the ugly.  I hope you'll come see it.  

Click on the images to see a larger version.  Both of these are part of the display.  

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