South of Broad Street (SOB)
One of Charleston's most exquisite antebellum structures, the Joseph Manigault House, built in 1803, reflects the urban lifestyle of a wealthy, rice-planting family and the enslaved African Americans who lived there.
A striking spiral staircase accents the impressive central hall, and many of the rooms are restored to their original color schemes. All feature historic pieces from the Museum's collections including a selection of American, English and French furniture dating to the early 19th century. Outside, a classical Gate Temple overlooks a period garden, and the locations of adjacent historical outbuildings (e.g., kitchen and slave quarters, stable, and privy) are marked with interpretive signs.
Descending from French Huguenots who fled religious persecution in Europe in the late 1600s, the Manigaults prospered as rice planters and merchants during the 18th century and became one of South Carolina’s leading families. Joseph Manigault inherited several rice plantations and over two hundred slaves from his grandfather in 1788, and also married well. Arthur Middleton, father of his first wife, Maria Henrietta Middleton, was a signer of the Declaration of Independence.
1920's Renasissance Charleston
The white aristocrats of Charleston, whose ancestors had profited from chattel slavery, became instrumental in presenting African Americans more sympathetically in literature like the works of Dorothy and Dubose Heyward (Mamba's Daughters, Porgy & Bess) than anyone had before. How could this be? It seems almost counterintuitive. How could Charleston--which virtually built the symbolic infrastructure of the old South and served as the Ellis Island of African Americans--be so assiduous and instrumental in dismantling it? How could the slow and graceful waltz of times gone by suddenly be usurped by "The Charleston" and its motions of hedonistic abandon?
One answer is that the Charleston art scene in the 1920s, to use the closing image of Porgy, was bathed in "an irony of sunlight."
Charleston lore behind "Annabel Lee" by Poe
“Charleston has a landscape that encourages intimacy and partisanship. I have heard it said that an inoculation to the sights and smells of the Carolina lowcountry is an almost irreversible antidote to the charms of other landscapes, other alien geographies. You can be moved profoundly by other vistas, by other oceans, by soaring mountain ranges, but you can never be seduced. You can even forsake the lowcountry, renounce it for other climates, but you can never completely escape the sensuous, semitropical pull of Charleston and her marshes.”
― Pat Conroy, The Lords of Discipline
South of Broad Street
North of Broad Street