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Bernard Powers


Address: Maybank Hall, Room 323
Office Hours: MF 11-11:50 & 2-3, and by appointment
Phone: 843.953.8127

Bernard E. Powers, Professor of History, has served as Department Chair, Associate Chair and as Director of the M.A. History Program.  He has published numerous works on African American social and cultural evolution. His major work is Black Charlestonians: A Social History 1822-1885, (University of Arkansas Press,1994). which won a Choice Award for Best Academic Books.
He was associate editor for the The South Carolina Encyclopedia (Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina, 2006)

He serves as chief historian on the strategic plan for the International African American Museum (Charleston) and as evaluator for the African American Focus Tours at Drayton Hall Plantation for the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

His article "Community Evolution and Race Relations in Reconstruction Charleston, S.C." was selected as one of the "Three Articles From A Century of Excellence" Centennial Volume 1900-2000 of The South Carolina Historical Magazine.


1982 - Ph.D., American History, Northwestern University
1976 - M.A., American History, Northeastern University

Research Interests

He is presently conducting research on the history of the A.M.E. Church and African Methodism in South Carolina.

Courses Taught

U.S. History to 1865
African-American History, 1865-Present
African-American History, to 1865
Research Seminars in U.S. History and Lowcountry History

Honors and Awards

Teaching American History Grant: History Connections: From the Low Country to the North Coast -NHEC federal grant
Grants Reviewer, NEH Collaborative Research Program.

Professor Bernard Powers, was awarded the 2012 MOJA Festival Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Charleston Community in Education. The event was held at Magnolia Plantation & Gardens  Attending the event are Richard Bodek, Professor; Bernard Powers, Professor and Maureen Hays, Dean, School of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Media Appearances:
Historical consultant to the 2010 SCETV Forgotten Founders special on the life and legacy of Charles Pinckney.

Commenorating the End to the Slave Trade in Charleston BBC Worldwide Radio Consultant to Slavery and the Making of America, the PBS series. WNET (New York).

Invited participant in the R.R.R. Cobb Forum on Southern Jurisprudence in Athens, Ga.

Research Consultant:
The International Museum of African American History, Strategic Planning Phase 2002-present.
Fort Sumter Visitor Education Center, the American History Workshop-Underground Railroad Museum, City of Charleston Office of Tourism, Drayton Hall - African American Memorial Steering Committee, Middleton Place, Magnolia Plantation Slave Cabins Project.

Presentations: "Religious Practices of Enslaved Africans and Free blacks Before 1860 in South Carolina" Celebrating the Founding of African American Churches in Clarendon County, Trinity A.M.E. Church.South Carolina Historical Society Lecture Series, "If Old Walls Could Talk" Charleston Post and Courier.


Black Charlestonians: A Social History 1822-1885 Fayetteville, AR: University of Arkansas, 1994.

"'The Worst of All Barbarism': Racial Anxiety and the Approach of Secession in the Palmetto State"  The South Carolina Historical Magazine, 2011, Vol. 112, 3-4.

"What We Thought We Knew About Nineteenth Century Black Carolinians and What We Now Know" Proceedings of the South Carolina Historical Association. (2006), 11-24.

"The Afro-Carolinian Quest for Religious Liberty to 1830" in Lewis Burke and James Underwood, South Carolina and the Dawn of Religious Freedom (Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 2006), 126-145. 

"Richard Harvey Cain: Black Nationalist Churchman and Reconstruction Era Leader" in Randy Finley and Thomas A. DeBlack eds., The Southern Elite and Social Change (Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 2002).

"Francis L. Cardozo, An Early African American Urban Educator" in Roger Biles, The Human Condition in Urban America (Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 202), 37-52.