Experience Columbia SC launched the Midlands' first history-centered tourism trail Tuesday. Reconstructed: A Journey Through the Reconstruction Era in Columbia, SC highlights eight Columbia locations and 10 trailblazers of the post-Civil War period, providing a new perspective to the way the past has shaped our modern nation.
"Many people don't know how important the Reconstruction Era was to our nation, let alone that many of the most iconic buildings are still standing today in South Carolina's capital," said Charles Slaughter, director of communications for Experience Columbia SC. "We're proud to partner with Historic Columbia to bring this time period to life in an authentic and meaningful way to residents and visitors."
Experience Columbia SC officials noted the challenges the United States faced following the Civil War, learning how to reintegrate states that had seceded in the union, while African Americans sought a better life after slavery was abolished. A Black-majority legislature was the first to occupy the SC State House, and according to Experience Columbia SC, the Palmetto state is still the only state in America to elect a Black-majority legislature to this day.
Historic Columbia executive director Robin Waites said visitors on the tour will explore the history of the places and people significant to Reconstruction, while also becoming familiar with the advancements made by Black citizens prior to their rights being revoked under Jim Crow. "It's our hope that everyone who takes the tour comes away with an appreciation for the Black men and women who were trailblazers for freedom and equality. Their stories deserve to be heard," she said.
Sites on the tour:
- The Museum of Reconstruction Era at the Woodrow Wilson Family Home
- Benedict College
- Reconstruction Era Churches
- Phoenix Building
- South Carolina State House
- University of South Carolina
- Hampton-Preston Mansion and Gardens
- Randolph Cemetery
Anyone interested can pick up a copy of the trail guide at the Columbia SC Visitor's Center, Historic Columbia's gift shop at Robert Mills, or learn more on reconstructedcolumbiasc.com. Participants can visit the sites in-person, or view them online. There is a QR code included in the trail guide booklets, so if anyone gets to the stops and wants additional information, they can scan it to read more.