History Forum of the Lowcountry

Founded in 2012, The History Forum is presented monthly by the Coastal Discovery Museum between September and May.

This series of historically or culturally oriented programs is intended to encourage discussion about the Lowcountry region’s fascinating past. Since its inception, the Museum has hosted over 50 speakers who have shared their knowledge with our members and visitors. Speakers have included university professors, museum curators, authors, archivists, librarians, not-for-profit directors, archaeologists, anthropologists, and first-person interpreters. Join us at the History Forum to dig deeper into our area’s unique history – from the experts. For a list of past presenters and subjects, click here.

Offered at no charge to Coastal Discovery Museum members at the Supporting or above level; $5 per person for Basic Members; $10 per person for non-members.   Please contact 843-689-6767, ext. 224 to register. All programs are at 3 PM unless otherwise noted.

2019 – 20 History Forum Schedule (Please check back for the 2020-2021 schedule soon.)

September 24, 2019 – “Francis Marion and the Battle of Parker’s Ferry” – Doug Bostick, CEO of the South Carolina Battleground Preservation Trust
Francis Marion, the “Swamp Fox,” is a familiar name in South Carolina.  Join us to learn about the Battle of Parker’s Ferry from Doug Bostick, Executive Director and CEO of the South Carolina Battleground Preservation Trust. Located about 30 miles from Charleston, near Jacksonboro, the Battle of Parker’s Ferry took place on August 30, 1781. Although outnumbered, Francis Marion set up an ambuscade along a causeway about a mile from the Ferry.  The British advancing along the causeway took heavy casualties and were forced to withdraw.

October 15, 2019 – “Emancipating the Past: Reinterpreting Savannah’s Best Historic Site  – Shannon Browning-Mullis, Curator of History and Decorative Arts – Telfair Museum

For decades, enslaved people have been invisible in the Savannah history that was presented to our visitors.  Finally, a few historic institutions are taking a stand to share a full history of the people who lived and worked on their sites.  The Owens-Thomas House and Slave Quarters is proud to share the stories of the complicated and intimate relationships between the most powerful and least powerful people in the city of Savannah in the 1820s and 1830s.  Telfair Museums’ Curator of History and Decorative Arts, Shannon Browning-Mullis, will share stories from the lives of people who were enslaved on the site through the lens of historical documents.

November 14, 2019 -“Between The Waters: A Brief History of Hobcaw Barony” – Lee Brockington, author and Coordinator of Public Engagement at Hobcaw Barony

Learn of the 16,000-acre plantation in Georgetown County, privately owned by The Belle W. Baruch Foundation serving as SC’s premier research reserve. On the National Register of Historic Places, an International Biosphere, a NOAA National Estuarine Research Reserve and an active SC Tree Farm, Hobcaw Barony hosts the scientific Baruch Institutes of Clemson University and the University of South Carolina and a new Humanities Institute of Francis Marion and Coastal Carolina Universities. Ecology and history combine to unravel the past story of Native Americans, African Americans, rice planters and northern hunters, but its present and future were laid out by the last single owner, Belle Baruch, who crafted a plan for research and education. Lee Gordon Brockington introduces and discusses “Belle’s legacy.”

December 3, 2019 – All Day – Member Field Trip to Charleston to visit the Charleston Museum and the H.L. Hunley.  $73 per person (lunch on your own) – Reservations will open 9/26/19.

The History Forum of the Lowcountry, in association with the Coastal Discovery Museum, is pleased to offer to its members a field trip to historic Charleston on Tuesday, December 3, 2019.  We will visit The Charleston Museum, America’s first museum, and the Warren Lasch Conservation Center to see the Hunley in its current state of restoration.  The Hunley was the first successful submarine in history that was deployed in Charleston during the American Civil War.

January 24, 2020 – “African Americans in the Civil War” – Donald West, Ph.D – Professor of History, Trident Technical College. – SOLD OUT

What role did black people play in preserving the Union and ending slavery? With (or without) a period uniform, including Springfield rifle, Donald West will present a brief history of African Americans and the Civil War which includes data, facts and figures, and key people.

February 2020 – Gullah Days – SOLD OUT

March 13, 2020 – 2 PM- “Bunged up like the veriest rathole.” The Stone Fleet, 1861-1862– Jim Spirek, South Carolina State Underwater Archaeologist, SC Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology.

In late 1861, the Union navy purchased 45 whaling and merchant vessels and loaded them with stones planning to sink them at the entrances to the ports of Savannah and Charleston during the Civil War. The Union navy intended for these underwater obstructions to prevent Confederate blockade runner activity at the two port cities. Popularized as the Stone Fleet, these stone-laden vessels ended their days either shipwrecked, scuttled, or diverted for other uses in and around the Savannah River, Port Royal Harbor, and Charleston Harbor.  Only one of the stone fleet vessels escaped their fate and sailed away to reenter the merchant marine after the war.  The bulk of these vessels obstructed the two main channels at Charleston Harbor. Although the two sunken obstacles did not result in the desired effect by Union strategists, the historical and archaeological record suggests they did alter subsequent naval movement on the coastal battlefield.  This illustrated presentation will provide a historical sketch of the purchasing, outfitting, and sinking of the stone fleet and the archaeological consequences of these shipwrecks, obstructions, and abandonments on the naval battlefields of South Carolina and Georgia.

 “Gullah Geechee culture on the Georgia Sea Islands” – Jamal Toure – POSTPONED

“A Short History of the Yamasee Indians” – Eric Poplin – Brockington and Associates

A Short History of the Yamasee Indians will review the origins of the Yamasee (arguably the most important Native allies of the nascent Carolina Colony in 1685-1715 and most influential group in the American Southeast), their migration to and evolution in South Carolina, the Yamasee War and the departure of the Yamasee from South Carolina, and the material culture of the Yamasee and 16th – 18th century Native groups in coastal South Carolina.

Program Rescheduled for Fall 2020- Date TBD – “African and African American Oral Histories and the Call for Reparation” – Anne C. Bailey, SUNY-Binghamton

Dr. Bailey’s talk will address the issue of reparations via the lens of oral history material in the book, The Weeping Time: Memory and the Largest Slave Auction in American History (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2017). Slave auctions were an everyday part of Antebellum American life, but this auction on the eve the Civil War, brings home the very human drama that was slavery.  It is also a reminder that the call for reparations cannot simply be about monetary compensation.  While monetary compensation is important, there are things that were lost such as the family ties and family stories represented in this auction that tell a much broader story. *Program partially underwritten by the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor.