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Historical South Carolina Newspapers: Reconstruction

Delve into the rich content of historical South Carolina newspapers dating from 1836 to 1922 through suggested topics, important dates, interesting articles, and tips for searching.

Selected Articles Found in Chronicling America

Reconstruction Topics Guide

Suggested Search Terms:

13th Amendment Gov. Benjamin F. Perry Reconstruction Acts
14th Amendment Gov. Robert K. Scott Republican party
Black Codes Headq'rs Dep't of South Carolina Scott Ring
Freedmen’s Bureau Labor Reform Second Military District
General Sickles Loyal League Stay Laws
Gov. Daniel H. Chamberlain Military Act Supplemental Act
Gov. Franklin J. Moses Radicals Union League
Gov. James L. Orr

Suggested Search Strategies:

  • To find  contemporary articles during the Reconstruction era, limit your search to between 1865 and 1876.
  • To find articles relating to occupying Federal forces in the years after the Civil War ended, try searching "Headq'rs Dep't of South Carolina" or "General Orders."

Important Dates:

1865 Freedman’s Bureau is established and will play a significant role in Reconstruction-era S.C. until 1872.
Benjamin F. Perry is S.C.’s provisional Governor during the first year of Reconstruction.
General W.T. Sherman declares Special Order No. 15 providing island lands to former enslaved peoples.
13th amendment, banning slavery, is ratified in S.C.
Black Codes adopted; later declared null & void in 1866.
James L. Orr, U.S. Representative and C.S.A. officer, serves as Governor 1865-1868.
1866 S.C. State Legislature rejects the 14th Amendment which ensures citizenship and equal protection under the law to all Americans regardless of race. S.C. will become the last state to ratify the amendment in July 1868.
Civil Rights Bill passed by S.C. State Legislature.
1867 Reconstruction Acts passed by Congress.
S.C. is part of 2nd Military District under command of General Daniel E. Sickles.
1868 S.C. State Constitutional Convention is held.
Robert K. Scott, a Union Army officer, serves as Republican Governor in, allegedly, one of the most corrupt periods in S.C. history from 1868-1872.
1870 Joseph Hayne Rainey becomes the first African-American elected to U.S. House of Representatives.
15th amendment is ratified, ensuring voting rights to Ameican citizens regardless of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
1871 Ku Klux trials are held in Columbia, S.C., U.S. Circuit Court (4th Circuit).

Wade Hampton III, member of the Bourbon old guard, is elected Governor.


Images & Headlines Found in Chronicling America

Congressman Robert Smalls, circa 1886

"The Troubles on Combahee," 1876

Headlines in the Charleston daily news, 1870

Death notice for B.F. Randolph, an African American legislator, 1868

Richard T. Greener circa 1904, the first African American professor and department chair at U.S.C.

"Great Riot in Hamburg," 1876