Porgy Houses pay tribute to Nat Fuller, Philip Simmons, and other noteworthy African-Americans

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We've been knee-deep in putting to bed the first of the City Paper's three Spoleto issues, so we really haven't had a chance to take a tour of the nine stops on the fest's Porgy House tour, but thanks to the folks at Spoleto USA, we now have a handy-dandy map to the houses and soon you'll be able to pick up a helpful brochure. 

The Porgy Houses include homes of historical significance to Charleston's African-American story, and they've all been decorated with a reoccurring West African diamond motif that will be used for the Spoleto production of Porgy and Bess. Local painter Jonathan Green came up with the design while he was working on set and costume ideas for the celebrated folk opera.

The houses in question include the former homes of the noted antebellum/post-Civil War chef Nat Fuller, black educator Florence Alberta “Bertie” Clyde, and noted blacksmith Philip Simmons.

For the time being, you can read about the historical significance of each Porgy House here

That said, we'll give you a little teaser about one house — 103 Church Street, the home of Chef Fuller:

This property was owned by Nat Fuller (1812 – 1866), a caterer, an entrepreneurial African-American broker of wild game, and one of Charleston’s most prominent chefs. Mr. Fuller became the owner of Charleston’s finest 19th-century restaurant, “The Bachelor’s Retreat.” In the spring of 1865, he hosted a dinner commemorating the end of the Civil War. Toasts, songs, and lavish dishes welcomed the black and white Charleston residents, assembled in the spirit of reconciliation, who until that evening had never dined together. In 2015, the dinner was recreated in the same spirit of reconciliation and to pay tribute to Mr. Fuller, an African-American chef not often remembered.



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