"E" is for Enterprise Railroad

Jan 4, 2018

Credit SC Public Radio

"E" is for Enterprise Railroad. Chartered in 1870, with a capital of $250,000, this railroad is unique in South Carolina history: with one exception its initial board of directors were all African Americans. Constructed in 1874, the railroad used horse-drawn carriages to passengers and freight, connecting wharves and railroad depots throughout the city of Charleston. The railroad created tension within Charleston’s black community as 75% of the city’s draymen were African American. They feared the company would diminish their business. There were organized protests led by black clergy, but to no avail. The railroad continued to operate in the 1880s but the role of African Americans in directing its operations had declined by the end of Reconstruction. By the close the 1870s, the direction of the Enterprise Railroad was in the hands of whites.