Photograph of the historic wall and adjacent road, 2011

Slavery at South Carolina College, 1801–1865:

The Foundations of the University of South Carolina

The Wall

Photograph of wall section, 2011

Over time, the historic wall that surrounded South Carolina College has become an invisible feature of the campus. Once a prominent place on campus where students met to have their pictures taken or hang out, today the wall has devolved into a bulletin board for students to hang signs advertising different events on campus, a use that damages the historic fabric of the wall. Despite the fact that a multitude of people including students, teachers, faculty, and visitors pass by this landmark every day, most never notice that it is there.

As part of this website project, students studied the wall’s history and surveyed its current condition. In writing a general history of the wall, they built upon significant foundational research by University Archivist Elizabeth West and history undergraduate student Hannah Oakley.┬áThis research led them to conclude that the handmade bricks that comprise the wall and the wall itself were made by slaves, making the history of the wall an integral part of telling the story of slavery at South Carolina College.

The wall is a unique part of this overall story of slavery on the South Carolina College campus. While the scope of the research on this website ends around 1865, the importance of the wall, which is attributed to saving South Carolina College from the fires in Columbia at the end of the Civil War, required a modern survey to assess its present condition and structural integrity and to suggest future recommendations for its preservation.

This section of the website is intended to document the history of the wall and its relation to slavery and to make its presence and condition known today.