Clemson University Recognizes Its Ties to Slavery With Historical Markers
Filed in African-American History on April 26, 2016
Clemson University in South Carolina was built on land that formerly was the Fort Hill Plantation of John B. Calhoun, who served as vice president of the United States under John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson. Thomas Green Clemson married into the Calhoun family and became heir to the property. Upon his death, he left the land to the state for the purpose of the betterment of education in South Carolina. Clemson University was founded in 1889.
Although the university was founded a quarter century after the end of the Civil War and the abolition of slavery, the university recently acknowledged the history of slavery on the land which the university now occupies. A groundbreaking was held recently for the site of a historical marker that will tell the story of the slaves who worked at the plantation from 1849 to 1865. Another part of the marker will relate the story of the housing of convicted laborers on land that is now part of the Clemson campus. These laborers, most of them African Americans, helped clear the land and construct the first buildings of the university. Two other markers, relating to early African Americans on the Clemson campus will also be installed at other sites.