Four Historic Markers Unveiled on College of Charleston Campus

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The College of Charleston Committee on Commemoration and Landscapes unveiled four historic markers on Tuesday, April 16, 2024.

Photo by Lizzie Koschnick

The College of Charleston Committee on Commemoration and Landscapes unveiled four historic markers on Tuesday, April 16, 2024.

The signs are a significant contribution to the CCL’s mission of truth telling and the creation of an inclusive and welcoming campus landscape. The signs for 63 1/2 Coming Street, 14 Green Way, 9 College Way and at the Civil War Monument at Fort Johnson will be installed later this summer.

“These signs reflect how much the College of Charleston has evolved since its early days as a small college serving only one group of Charlestonians,” says CCL co-chair Julia Eichelberger, director of the College of Charleston Southern Studies Program and the Marybelle Higgins Howe Professor of Southern Literature. “These signs commemorate stories from the diverse neighborhood that has always surrounded the College. The sites where these stories took place have become part of our university campus, and these diverse stories have become part of our collective story. There are many more stories to tell. We look forward to continuing to explore our campus’ full history.”

During the unveiling, faculty and students offered brief reflections on the significance of the signs, and College of Charleston President Andrew T. Hsu offered his own remarks.

“When I arrived on campus back in 2019, there was a lot of discussion of the College of Charleston doing a better job of telling a more complete story of the institution’s history. In my experience, growing up under an authoritarian regime, I know how history can be warped and reshaped to obscure the truth,” he says. “Through the dedication of the CCL on these projects, we showcase our institution’s collective commitment to the truth, of making all peoples seen and heard, so that everyone feels that they belong.”

Black Student Union President Mikyra Joines agrees that these efforts provide powerful recognition for students of color.

“These markers show that we have been here arguably since this College’s inception,” says the political science major and communication minor. “Although, for a long time, our place here was erased and hidden, we were here. This signage represents hope and validation and sends a message that we are here, we have been here and we will stay here, making our mark as College of Charleston Cougars.”

In his role as director of the College’s Historic Preservation and Community Planning Program, Grant Gilmore sees students engaging with these issues on a daily basis.

“The College of Charleston campus is a resource that cannot be replicated in any other time or place – the interpretation of the history of our campus provides an unparalleled opportunity to begin community conversations that cannot happen elsewhere,” he says. “When people engage with the past because they have read these signs, we have begun the process of mitigation history’s damaging legacies.”

The four historic markers serve as a reminder that while the College has a complex past, it is striving to create a more equitable and welcoming environment for all.

“History gives us the unique opportunity to empathize with the past,” says Nicole Hemphill, a Cougars basketball player in the Master of Arts in History program who was awarded the Elite-18 last fall for the highest GPA on each sport team. “So we may find ways to love in the present.”

As the CCL continues its vital work, the College community can take pride in this significant milestone and look forward to further exploring and sharing its full history.

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