Play setting: Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston was the first permanent European settlement in Carolina, its first seat of government, and the most important city in the southern United States, well into the nineteenth century.
1834 — End of slavery in most of the Empire, including Canada
1848 — John C. Calhoun, Senator from South Carolina, gives speech in opposition to the Oregon Bill (which prohibited slavery in the territory), in which he refutes the Declaration of Independence to make the case for the expansion of slavery.
1851 — Calhoun's A Disquisition on Government is published posthumously
1861 — Civil War begins
Union forces take control of the Sea Islands. Enslaved African-Americans flee to the area, especially to Edisto Island, where Union troops consider blacks to be free because they are the "contraband of war."
1862 — Robert Smalls sails The Planter through Confederate lines and delivers it and its cargo to Union forces off the South Carolina coast. He volunteers to help the Union Navy guide its ships through the dangerous South Carolina coastal waters for the rest of the war.
1865 — Civil War ends
1865 — End of slavery in the United States
1865 — The Ku Klux Klan is founded in Pulaski, Tennessee
1868 — State Senator and presidential elector B.F. Randolph is murdered by radical whites in Abbeville County
1870 — Joseph Rainey becomes the first African-American in South Carolina to become a U.S. Representative in Congress
1878 — Herman is born
1883 — Julia is born; Herman wins $20 for memorizing Calhoun's speech
1886 — Largest earthquake to hit the southeastern U.S. (est. 7.3) hits Charleston, killing 100+ and causing approximately $5 million in damages
1895 — South Carolina's rewritten state constitution enshrines segregation in education, prohibits marriage between a white person and Negro (including anyone >1/8th "Negro Blood"), and effectively disenfranchises its Black residents
1908 — Julia and Herman begin a romantic relationship
1910 — Suspected of murder and attempted assault, Flute Clark is lynched by a mob "of thousands" in Little Mountain (Newberry County), SC
1914 — World War I begins
When Congress declared war on Germany in April 1917, part of South Carolina was already on a war footing. More than 65,000 South Carolinians served in the armed forces, while others supported the war effort through liberty bond drives, home gardens, as well as meatless and wheatless days.
1915 — Jules Smith is murdered by a mob on the courthouse steps in Winnsboro, SC. The sheriff and deputy sheriff escorting Smith to his trial are also murdered
1917 — The 371st Infantry Regiment, an all African-American unit composed of many South Carolinians, trains at Ft. Jackson. Almost half of all South Carolinians serving in World War I are African-American
1918 — World War I ends
1918 — The influenza pandemic begins, caused by an H1N1 virus with genes of avian origin
The influenza pandemic of 1918 infected approximately one-third of the population of the United States and killed an estimated 675,000. Globally, roughly 500 million people were infected, with a death toll estimated at least 50 million.
1919 — The Charleston Riot of 1919 begins late the evening of May 10th, igniting the "Red Summer" during which dozens of African-Americans are killed and lynched in racially-motivated riotous disturbances.
1967 — The Loving v. Virginia case ends all race-based legal restrictions on marriage in the United States
1998 — A South Carolina referendum to remove the interracial marriage ban from its state constitution passes (62%-38%).
Research by Arminda Thomas
Arminda Thomas is the Dramaturge of Wedding Band. She is a resident dramaturg and a producing member of CLASSIX. Selected dramaturgy credits include The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window (Brooklyn Academy of Music); Death of a Salesman (Hudson Theatre); Wedding Band (Theatre for a New Audience); Black Picture Show (Artists Space); Mirrors (Next Door at New York Theatre Workshop); Black History Museum...According to the United States of America (HERE Arts Center); Jazz (Marin Theatre Company). She previously served as archivist and dramaturg for Dee-Davis Enterprises, where she was an executive producer for the Grammy-awarded audiobook, With Ossie and Ruby: In This Life Together, and consultant for the film Life's Essentials with Ruby Dee.