Charleston in Black and White

Race and Power in the South after the Civil Rights Movement

By Steve Estes

232 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 9 halftones, notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-4550-6
    Published: August 2018
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-2232-3
    Published: September 2015
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-4272-5
    Published: July 2015
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-1-4696-2233-0
    Published: July 2015

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Once one of the wealthiest cities in America, Charleston, South Carolina, established a society built on the racial hierarchies of slavery and segregation. By the 1970s, the legal structures behind these racial divisions had broken down and the wealth built upon them faded. Like many southern cities, Charleston had to construct a new public image. In this important book, Steve Estes chronicles the rise and fall of black political empowerment and examines the ways Charleston responded to the civil rights movement, embracing some changes and resisting others.

Based on detailed archival research and more than fifty oral history interviews, Charleston in Black and White addresses the complex roles played not only by race but also by politics, labor relations, criminal justice, education, religion, tourism, economics, and the military in shaping a modern southern city. Despite the advances and opportunities that have come to the city since the 1960s, Charleston (like much of the South) has not fully reckoned with its troubled racial past, which still influences the present and will continue to shape the future.

About the Author

Steve Estes is professor of history at Sonoma State University and author of I AM a Man!: Race, Manhood, and the Civil Rights Movement and Ask and Tell: Gay and Lesbian Veterans Speak Out.
For more information about Steve Estes, visit the Author Page.


"Southern history aficionados and scholars alike will appreciate this compact analysis of race relations in Charleston that has sadly become all too relevant in the wake of recent events."--Library Journal

“A good narrative, full of insight and aware of the broader urban and regional contexts.”--American Historical Review

“Commended for its extensive use of interviews, [and] is helpful in putting the recent history of Charleston into perspective.”--Choice

“For those endeavoring to make sense of the color line in the post-civil rights era, Charleston in Black and White is an excellent starting point.”--Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

“An essential read on recent southern history.”--H-Net Reviews

“Beyond his important contributions to Charleston's history, Estes explicitly addresses civil right historiography.”--North Carolina Historical Review

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Estes was born in North Carolina and grew up in Charleston, South Carolina. He received a B.A. from Rice University in Houston, Texas, in 1994, an M.A. from the University of Georgia in 1996, and a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina in 2001. Along the way, he worked as an interviewer for the Southern Oral History Program in North Carolina, a counselor at the Interlochen Arts Camp in Michigan, a teacher in the Sunflower County Freedom Project in Mississippi, a researcher at the American Youth Policy Forum in Washington, D.C., and a guest curator at the GLBT Historical Society in San Francisco. He lives with his wife and daughter in San Francisco.