We are marching to Zion: Zion Church and the distinctive work of Presbyterian slave missionaries in Charleston, South Carolina, 1849-1874
Pickett, Otis Westbrook
Poole, W. Scott
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From 1849-1874 there existed in the low-country of South Carolina and Georgia a unique brand of slave missions. These missions were conducted by Presbyterians and the significance of their work towards ecclesiastical equality, measured reform, expanded freedoms, and education have been largely marginalized in the historiography of slave missions. Indeed, Presbyterian slave missionaries in Charleston at Zion Presbyterian Church provide, in a multitude of ways, a counterexample to the prevailing cultural expectations of race, the institution of slavery, and perception of enslaved Africans among whites in the antebellum South, as well during Reconstruction. The purpose of this research is to display the many ways in which Presbyterian slave missionaries add complexity to the understanding of nineteenth century slave missions. Further, the research provides examples of the legacy of nineteenth century slave missionaries into the education, political experience, and development of a leadership base for the African American community in Charleston into the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. This research makes use of various primary sources including personal correspondences, church roll books, minutes of session records, and newspaper articles. Primary documents were gathered from repositories such as the South Caroliniana Library, The Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture, The South Carolina Historical Society, and the College of Charleston Special Collections Library. These documents combined with secondary literature allows for a thorough analysis of slave missions, racial reciprocity, and southern religious history in the South. The result of the study will display the importance of the distinctiveness of Presbyterian slave missions in the low-countries of South Carolina and Georgia.