Tuesday, June 29, 2021

The Great Getting Out Of The House Southeast USA Vacation Of 2021 - Part Of Day 6 And Day 7

After visiting the Hunley we headed back to the market district of Charleston.  Ruling out a walking tour due to humidity we decided to substitute a horse drawn carriage tour instead.  We were a little early so we had an ice cream lunch (Chocolate and Banana Pudding for those wondering) while we waited.

A garden from one of the one hundred thirty churches in Charleston.
The carriage held sixteen people and took us through various historic parts of downtown Charleston.  The Wife and I both registered the lack of African-American history in the driver's descriptions.  Good parts were emphasized and bad parts were glossed over.  It was a very sanitized history of Charleston.  The most controversial thing on the tour were the college students yelling "Ride a bike" at us as they passed the carriage.

A gate make by Philip Simmons, a renown blacksmith.
Our last stop of the day was the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon which had been recommended to us by a couple we'd met at the Hunley.  The tour was through the basement ("Dungeon") of the exchange building where trade goods once flowed in and out and, as the name suggests, held prisoners.  The interesting thing is how far the Exchange building is from the water.  Over the years land was reclaimed resulting in the coast being pushed back a couple blocks from where it once was.  The basement was inhabited by poorly made mannequins which gave everything a cheesy feel.  The docent in period costume talked of the history and how the African-Americans were enslaved by other Africans.  How he did this with a straight face while standing next to an African-American family is beyond me.

Inside the Charleston Gaillard Center.
On the seventh day we decided to risk a walking tour and met with Franklin Williams, the guide of Frankly Charleston African-American tours.  This morning we were the only ones with Frank.  The tour was a casual walking tour that took us to various locations important to the African-American history of Charleston.  We clicked with Frank right away.  He filled in the blanks that we'd seen the day before.  He came across as honest and truly caring about getting the truth out there.  We all had a laugh as we compared the sanitized history we'd heard the day before with the grittier side that Frank showed us.

A little literary history for lunch.
(Picture taken by the Wife)
After the tour (which we survived despite the humidity) we headed just outside of Charleston to a restaurant recommended by one of the Wife's students.  Poe's Tavern was exactly the type of restaurant we liked.  Good food and good atmosphere.

The Aiken-Rhett House with the enslave quarters,
kitchen, and stables along the sides.
Back in Charleston we headed to the Aiken-Rhett House that had been recommended to us by Frank.  The house and adjoining enslaved quarters are now a museum.  Unlike other museums that gloss over the enslaved, this self guided audio tour is honest and includes the lives of the enslaved using their actual names.  You hear about their lives and the lives of the house owners in an unvarnished way that was quite refreshing.

A Joggling Board.
These last couple days were very interesting.  It is hard to find honesty and truth.  We were reminded of the undercurrents of racism as we visited the Mother Emanuel AME Church where nine African-Americans engaged in Bible study were murdered.  People just want to forget the indiscretions of the past but if we forget them, how are we supposed to learn from them and improve ourselves? 

Photos can be found in my 2021-06 Southeast USA Google Photos album.

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