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Slavery and The University

Slavery and the University Graduate Class

Introduction to the Slavery and Universities LibGuide

In fall 2021, students in History 590, a special topics course within The Citadel and College of Charleston’s Joint M.A. in History program, produced a library research guide on the topic of Universities and Slavery. They read select literature from this exciting new field of historical research, recently described by Harvard University professor, Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham in Slavery and the University (2019), as “a new field of slavery studies for the twenty-first century.” They also conducted research on The Citadel’s historical ties to slavery, a research topic that members of The Citadel’s Universities Studying Slavery Committee have been investigating since 2017. Their work reveals that institutional narratives on the role of race and slavery in the founding and development of the Citadel have changed over time; that the views of antebellum-era faculty, staff and students as expressed through actions, speeches, letters, and memoirs were consistent with proslavery ideologies of the period; that slaveholding exists among board members, faculty, staff, and students at the institution during the antebellum era; and that enslaved and free Black people worked in a service capacity at the institution during the antebellum era—a fact that is unacknowledged in most institutional narratives.

This research guide features four sections: 1) Founding Narratives, 2) Proslavery and Confederate Ideologies; Slaveholding among Board Members, Faculty, Staff and Students, and 4) Early Black Workers. Each section features an introduction to the topic, a timeline of key events related to the topic, a list of primary and secondary sources on the topic, and a gallery featuring images of relevance to the topic. Researchers are encouraged to use the information in this guide as a starting point for deeper inquiry into the early history of race and slavery at The Citadel.

Happy researching!

-Dr. Felice F. Knight, Assistant Professor, Department of History; Instructor of HIST 590, Fall 2021 (