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Today In Charleston History: October 9

1784

Capt. Joseph Vesey imported “3000 Gallons of rum and 1 Negroe Woman from Guadaloupe on the brig Le Vigilant.”

By this time Vesey’s manservant, Telemaque, as he was known in the African population, had been taught to read by his master and was an important part of Vesey’s business. Telemaque realized city slaves had larger freedom of movement than those living on plantations. More than half of Telemaque days were spent apart from his Master’s house and business, a freedom of movement enjoyed by a majority of the slaves in Charlestown.  As Frederick Douglass wrote, “A city slave is almost a freeman, compared with a slave on the plantation.”

Through the years Telemaque became fluent in French, English, and Gullah, the common language among the slaves, born out of a diverse linguistic pool. His formal name was difficult for most Africans to pronounce, so it had been simply shortened to a nickname, “Telmak.” 

1886, Natural Disaster – Charleston Earthquake

Forty days after the earthquake, mass food distribution by the Earthquake Relief Committee (ERC) to the citizens of Charleston ended. There were less than 300 people in need, who were cared for by other charities.

eq - harpers illustrations

Harper’s Weekly – images of Charleston relief efforts

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