The College of Charleston in South Carolina has revealed that slaves were used to construct the first buildings on campus. Also, at least one early president of the college was a slave owner. Records show that in 1829 President Jasper Adams purchased a woman named Nancy and her daughter.
Now, like many of its peer institutions that had ties to the institution of slavery, the college has begun to more fully examine its history. A documentary film with the title If These Walls Could Talk, is in production and is scheduled for release in the spring.
The film project is being led by Charissa Owens, director of diversity education and training in the Office of Institutional Diversity and her husband, Micahel Owens, who is an adjunct professor in the English department at the college.
“This documentary is the first in CofC’s diversity docuseries that will take viewers on a transformative journey with reflective questions prompting them to discover, embrace and positively respond to the College of Charleston’s pluralistic history,” says Charissa Owens. “We are intentionally building a bridge for healthy reconciliation efforts by producing a film series that captures the narratives of marginalized individuals who contributed to the first municipal college in the United States.”
A trailer for the documentary can be viewed below.