On Wednesday, January 15 the Avery Research Center held its grand reopening event. The Avery Research Center closed for the last two years, undergoing a $2.3 million renovation that included new HVAC, flooring and archival storage. The historic school, now preserves the roots of the African Diaspora in Charleston.
“It is a fixture here in Charleston Village, being that we were one of the first freedmen schools here in Charleston, South Carolina. And then we turned into a research center repository in 1985. We’ve just became an outlet for students of color to not only learn about their history but become an active part of their history here.” According to Courtney Hicks, an Alumna of the College and Outreach Assistant for Public Programming. The Avery Research Center has a variety of different exhibits that showcase African history. One of the exhibits, Robert “King David” Ross’s “The African Origins of Mathematics”, details the history of the Ishango bone and the origin of different concepts in mathematics. Ross is an approved artist by the AC Arts Commission
“Our Children need to know the true history of the African origin of humanity. And that’s why I brought the exhibit here,” Ross said.
Recording artist Benny Starr’s exhibit showcases the live recording of his album:“The Water Keeps Rising.”
Starr said, “The object of the exhibit was to play with time and space a little bit, while also recreating the stage from ‘A Water Album’ concert live at the music hall. We had access to the archives. So we had archive information kind of checked all of the boxes of the elements that went into creating the album. So civil engagement, spirituality, culture, police brutality, environmental racism, climate change,”
The Avery Research Center is a great place for students to visit despite its location away from the CofC campus.
Hicks noted that the Avery Center is “a great way for students to be able to learn more about Charleston, Black History, Lowcountry history and also see some really cool exhibits.” She continues, “ Not only do we have exhibits that focus on the past, but we also have some that highlight and celebrate the present and the future, so it’s a way for people to see that Black History is everywhere.”
The Avery Research Center is located on 125 Bull St and it is open Monday-Friday from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., closed between 12:30-1:30 p.m.. Staff offer tours on the half-hour between 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. daily.