On August 31, 1886, a massive earthquake centered near
Charleston, South Carolina, sent shock waves as far north as Maine,
down into Florida, and west to the Mississippi River. When the dust
settled, residents of the old port city were devastated by the
death and destruction.
"Upheaval in Charleston" is a gripping account of natural
disaster and turbulent social change in a city known as the cradle
of secession. Weaving together the emotionally charged stories of
Confederate veterans and former slaves, Susan Millar Williams and
Stephen G. Hoffius portray a South where whites and blacks
struggled to determine how they would coexist a generation after
the end of the Civil War.
This is also the story of Francis Warrington Dawson, a British
expatriate drawn to the South by the romance of the Confederacy. As
editor of Charleston's "News and Courier," Dawson walked a lonely
and dangerous path, risking his life and reputation to find common
ground between the races. Hailed as a hero in the aftermath of the
earthquake, Dawson was denounced by white supremacists and murdered
less than three years after the disaster. His killer was acquitted
after a sensational trial that unmasked a Charleston underworld of
decadence and corruption.
Combining careful research with suspenseful storytelling,
"Upheaval in Charleston" offers a vivid portrait of a volatile time
and an anguished place.
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