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The Georgetown planet. [volume] : (Georgetown, S.C.) 1873-1875
Place of publication:
Georgetown, S.C.
Geographic coverage:
  • Georgetown, Georgetown, South Carolina  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
Jas. A. Bowley
Dates of publication:
  • Began in 1873; ceased in 1875?
  • English
  • African Americans--South Carolina--Georgetown--Newspapers.
  • African Americans.--fast--(OCoLC)fst00799558
  • Georgetown (S.C.)--Newspapers.
  • Georgetown County (S.C.)--Newspapers.
  • South Carolina--Georgetown County.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01206896
  • South Carolina--Georgetown.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01211817
  • Archived issues are available in digital format as part of the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Description based on: Vol. 1, no. 10 (May 31, 1873).
  • Microfilmed by the Library of Congress for the Committee on Negro Studies of the American Council of Learned Societies.
sn 83025798
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The Georgetown planet. [volume] May 31, 1873 , Image 1


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The Georgetown Planet

The weekly Georgetown Planet, a Republican newspaper “devoted to politics, literature, and science,” sought to influence black voters in Georgetown County, South Carolina, in the waning years of the Reconstruction era (1865-77). James Alfred Bowley, formerly of Maryland, established the Georgetown Planet in 1873. Richard Oliver Bush, a native of Rhode Island, served as assistant editor. They pledged that the Planet would “advocate the great principles of the Republican Party, the party which guarantees to every citizen liberty, equal rights [and] justice before the law.” A one-year subscription cost $2.00.

The Georgetown Planet differed from other South Carolina Republican newspapers in an important respect--it supported the Independent Republican Party of South Carolina, a breakaway party established in 1872 to protest the Republican administration then in power.  A cursory glance at the issues for May 31, 1873, and October 17, 1874, bears out this observation. The Planet listed the platform and schedule of meetings of the Independent Republican Party and criticized Governor Robert Kingston Scott (1868-72) and gubernatorial candidate Daniel Henry Chamberlain. The paper endorsed the Independent Republican Party candidates John Thompson Green, a white lawyer and circuit judge from Sumter as governor and Martin Robison Delany, a black intellectual and former Union Army field officer, as lieutenant governor. The Planet underscored the party’s multiracial appeal, reminding readers that it was “working in the interest of state, both white and colored … it will not support Chamberlain for governor.” In November 1874, Daniel Chamberlain narrowly defeated John Green.

The Georgetown Planet also worked in the interests of its editor James Bowley, a man with political ambitions of his own. Bowley served as Georgetown County school commissioner, South Carolina representative from Georgetown (1869-74) and as a trustee for the University of South Carolina during its brief phase as an integrated school. His political ambitions, however, collided with those of another black leader in Georgetown, William H. Jones. In August 1874, a series of skirmishes broke out between Bowley’s and Jones’ supporters, culminating in attacks on both men’s homes. The United States revenue cutter Moccasin was ultimately dispatched to restore order. It transported Bowley and his supporters to Charleston for safety. 

It appears the Georgetown Planet never found wide acceptance. In 1874, the American Newspaper Directory, published by George Presbury Rowell and Company, recorded only 501 subscribers. The Planet ceased sometime in 1875, likely from a lack of capital.

Provided by: University of South Carolina; Columbia, SC