Baptists and the American Civil War: June 25, 1865

South Carolina Civil War MapThe Confederacy continues winding down. This month the one remaining Confederate medical laboratory, located in Columbia, South Carolina, shutters its doors. There is not much left in the largely empty building when the keys are handed over to a Union officer in the city.

While the remaining vestiges of Confederate government properties are turned over to Union forces during the summer months, the North’s presence in the South is growing in other ways. From Mississippi to Virginia, the Freedmen’s Bureau is rapidly setting up schools for black children throughout the areas of the Southern states that only months ago were under Confederate control.

To the anger of many white Southerners, Northern Baptists frequently partner with the Freedmen’s Bureau in setting up schools for freedmen.

In some cases, local freedmen take the lead in establishing schools for black children. Such is the case this month in Augusta, Georgia, where the long-standing Springfield Baptist Church, founded by freed blacks and with roots reaching back to 1773, leads the way in establishing the city’s first school for blacks. In the years to come more schools for black citizens, from elementary to collegiate, are founded within Augusta.

Sources: “Union Blockade,” The Medical College of the State of South Carolina (link); Historic Augusta (link); “Springfield Baptist Church,” New Georgia Encyclopedia (link)