A rich portrait of Black life in South Carolina's Upstate
Encyclopedic in scope, yet intimate in detail, African American Life in South Carolina's Upper Piedmont, 1780-1900, delves into the richness of community life in a setting where Black residents were relatively few, notably disadvantaged, but remarkably cohesive. W. J. Megginson shifts the conventional study of African Americans in South Carolina from the much-examined Lowcountry to a part of the state that offered a quite different existence for people of color. In Anderson, Oconee, and Pickens counties—occupying the state's northwest corner—he finds an independent, brave, and stable subculture that persevered for more than a century in the face of political and economic inequities. Drawing on little-used state and county denominational records, privately held research materials, and sources available only in local repositories, Megginson brings to life African American society before, during, and after the Civil War. Orville Vernon Burton, Judge Matthew J. Perry Jr. Distinguished Professor of History at Clemson University and University Distinguished Teacher/Scholar Emeritus at the University of Illinois, provides a new foreword.
W. J. Megginson (1943–2020) was a native of Upstate South Carolina. He received his PhD from George Washington University and taught at Arkansas State University, Hendrix College in Arkansas, Drexel University, and La Salle University.