Experience Columbia SC today launched the destination’s first history-centered tourism trail. Reconstructed: A Journey Through the Reconstruction Era in Columbia, SC was curated with the assistance of Historic Columbia and highlights eight locations and 10 trailblazers of the post-Civil War period to provide a new perspective to residents and visitors on how the past has shaped our modern nation. The trail touts the only museum dedicated to the Reconstruction Era, Historic Columbia’s Museum of The Reconstruction Era at the Woodrow Wilson Family Home.
Following the Civil War, the United States faced challenges in learning how to rebuild and reintegrate states that had seceded in the union, while African Americans sought a better life, as slavery was abolished and their legal status was being determined. A Black-majority legislature was the first to occupy the South Carolina State House, and South Carolina is the only state in the U.S. to elect a Black-majority legislature to this day.
“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 Charlene 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.”
“The period of Reconstruction was pivotal in our city and the nation’s history, yet myths surrounding this time remain prevalent today,” said Robin Waites, executive director for Historic Columbia. “We found it critical in this moment to partner with Experience Columbia SC on ‘Reconstructed’ to showcase Columbia’s historic sites essential to the Reconstruction Era. Through this tour, visitors 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.”
The Museum of The Reconstruction Era at the Woodrow Wilson Family Home
Reconstruction Era Churches
South Carolina State House
University of South Carolina
Hampton-Preston Mansion & Gardens
In addition to historic sites, the experience highlights noteworthy trailblazers such as Clarissa Minnie Thompson, Mack Johnson, Robert Brown Elliot and the Rollins sisters.
Visitors and residents 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 by visiting reconstructedcolumbiasc.com, a new web presence meant to accompany the experience. The trail can be accessed digitally by scanning the QR code found on the Reconstruction Trail booklets.
Historic Columbia will continue to examine the historical connection between recent national events, the state of American democracy and the Reconstruction Era through a virtual program series called, “Our Vulnerable Democracy: Past, Present, and Future.” To learn more, visit historiccolumbia.org.