Discussion will Highlight the Role of Germans in Charleston

A talk at the College of Charleston will look at the role German immigrants played during the Civil War and how they were perceived by Southerners. The discussion, “More Southern than Anyone Else,” will be led by author and scholar Dr. Andrea Mehrländer on Sunday, November 11, 2012 at 2:30 p.m. on the second floor of Randolph Hall (Alumni Memorial Hall). The event is free and open to the public.

“Dr. Mehrländer explores a previously under-researched aspect of South Carolina history that informs both our understanding of the state’s relationship with Germany in the past as well as the present,” says Associate Professor of German Nancy Nenno.

Mehrländer’s research reveals a German immigrant population that supported slavery and was heavily involved in fighting the Civil War. It includes detailed descriptions of individuals and families, communities and businesses, population and ethnicity, slave owning and military service.  Even as the German community formed all-German units and fought for the Confederacy, Mehrländer looks at why many Southerners saw them as traitors and Germans were investigated and arrested.

Mehrländer specializes in 19th Century North American history and has conducted her main research on immigration history, the American Civil War and slavery. She is also the executive director of the Checkpoint Charlie Foundation in Berlin, Germany, a nonprofit organization that works to develop and maintain German-American relations.

“Germans settled on James Island in the late 1600s, but we can’t find a lot of information about it,” says David Sikes, a member of several German organizations in Charleston, including the Deutscher Brüderilche Bund, German Friendly Society and the Arion Society. “Dr. Mehrländer’s talk will be important to anyone in Charleston with German ancestors.”

For more information, contact David Sikes at 843.475.6408.