The Citadel: Facts and Milestones
1822: Amid the panic that following the Denmark Vessey slave rebellion, the South Carolina Legislature passes an “An Act to Establish a Competent Force to act as a Municipal Guard for the Protection of the City of Charleston and Vicinity.” The building, completed in 1829, was known as The Citadel and manned with state troops.
1842: The Legislature changes The Citadel’s mission to education. It becomes known as the South Carolina Military Academy and students replace the state troops.
1861: On Jan. 9, in the first overt hostilities of the Civil War, Citadel cadets stationed on Morris Island fire on the U.S. steamer the Star of the West.
1865: The Citadel closes when Union troops occupy the city of Charleston and does not reopen until 1882.
1910: The school’s name is officially changed to The Citadel: The Military College of South Carolina.
1922: After outgrowing its original home in the heart of downtown Charleston, The Citadel moves to its present-day site on the banks of the Ashley River.
• The first African American to attend The Citadel was Charles Foster, who enrolled in 1966 and graduated in 1970. He suffered a tragic and untimely death in a house fire in 1986.
• The oldest living African American graduate of The Citadel is Dr. Larry Ferguson, who enrolled in 1969 and graduated in 1973. Along with Joseph Shine (’71, deceased), he founded the Afro-American Society at The Citadel. He was named ‘Man of the Year’ by the school in 1983.
• Women were first admitted to The Citadel in 1995, though its court battle to bar them from the cadet corps did not cease until the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1996 ruling forcing Virginia Military Institute to admit women. The first female cadet graduated in 1999; the first African American female cadets graduated in 2002.
• Only 180 of The Citadel’s 2,099 undergraduate students are Black. More than one-quarter have been recruited to play football and fully 40 percent are scholarship athletes.
• Women comprise less than 5 percent of White students at the institution and around 10 percent of the African American students enrolled.
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