Walter Edgar

Host

Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his A.B. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens. In 1972 he joined the faculty of the History Department and in 1980 was named director of the Institute for Southern Studies. Dr. Edgar is the Claude Henry Neuffer Professor of Southern Studies and the George Washington Distinguished Professor of History. He retired from USC in 2012. He has written or edited numerous books about South Carolina and the American South, including South Carolina: A History, the first new history of the state in more than 60 years. With more than 37,000 copies in print and an audio edition, it has been a publishing phenomenon. Partisans & Redcoats: The Southern Conflict that Turned the Tide of the American Revolution is in its fourth printing. He is also the editor of the South Carolina Encyclopedia.

Ways to Connect

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"C" is for Colhoun, John Ewing (ca. 1749-1802). U.S. senator. Born in Virginia, Colhoun moved with his family to Long Canes (present-day Abbeville County). He graduated from Princeton in 1774. During the Revolution he was an aide-de-camp to General Andrew Pickens. After the war, he concentrated on his plantations in the lowcountry and in Ninety Six District where he controlled thousands of acres and owned at least 108 slaves. Colhoun entered the General Assembly in 1779 and over a span of two decades represented several different districts. He was elected to the U.S.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"C" is for the Cold War (1945-1991). The cold war was the period of intense ideological and military competition between the United States and the Soviet Union and had wide-ranging impact on the people, life, and economy of South Carolina. School children practiced emergency drills and radio and television stations announced periodic tests of the civil defense system. Nuclear-powered submarines began plying in and out of Charleston harbor.

David Mark, via Pixabay [CC0 1.0]

Crossroads: Change in Rural America is a traveling Smithsonian exhibit that offers small towns a chance to look at their own paths and to highlight the changes that affected their fortunes over the past century. Sponsored by SC Humanities in partnership with local communities, Crossroads: Change in Rural America will tour South Carolina in 2018 – 2019, visiting six communities: Union, Denmark, Newberry, Hopkins, Barnwell, and Dillon.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"B" is for Butler, Matthew Calbraith (1836-1909). Soldier, U.S. senator. In June 1861, the Edgefield Hussars—with Butler as captain—were mustered into Confederate service. He distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and service in the Virginia theater. Promoted to brigadier general in late 1864, he and his division were ordered to South Carolina in a vain attempt to thwart Sherman’s march. In 1870 he was a candidate for lieutenant governor on the fusionist Union Reform Party ticket.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"B" is for Butler, Andrew Pickens (1796-1857). Jurist, U.S. senator. After graduating from South Carolina College, Butler passed the bar and soon settled in his native Edgefield to practice law. He owed much of his early prominence and later political influence to his friendship with John C. Calhoun. He represented Edgefield District in both the South Carolina House and Senate. From1833-1846 he was a state judge. In 1846 he was elected to the U.S. Senate and was reelected twice. In the Senate he echoed his mentor’s extreme sectional stance.

"G" is for Gullah

Sep 3, 2018
South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"G" is for Gullah. The term “Gullah, “ or “Geechee,” describes a unique group of African Americans descended from Africans settled on the Sea Islands of the lowcountry of South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and North Carolina. The origin of the term “Gullah” (in South Carolina) is uncertain. Some believe it derives from “Angola”; others think it refers to the Gola people of Liberia and Sierra Leone. The term “Geechee” (in Georgia) may come from the Ogeechee River; or it may refer to the Kissi/Geesi people of Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"G" is for Guignard Brick Works. In 1803 James Sanders Guignard began making brick along the Congaree River near Columbia. Initially, he produced brick for his own use, but later manufactured them for commercial purposes under the name Guignard Brick Works. During the Civil War, the plant fell into dis-use. In 1886 Gabriel Alexander Guignard revived the company. He mined clay from alluvial deposits along the west bank of the Congaree River. In 1956 the Guignard family sold the company to a group of local investors.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"G" is for Guignard, Jane Bruce (1876-1963). Physician. Guignard attended the College for Women in Columbia and received teacher training at the Peabody Teachers College in Nashville. After teaching in Columbia for several years, her family supported her desire to become a physician. Guignard graduated from the Women’s Medical College in Philadelphia in 1904 and returned to Columbia as one of the city’s first female physicians. Obstetrics and gynecology became the cornerstone of her fifty-year medical practice.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"G" is for Guerard, Benjamin (d. 1788). Governor. Guerard studied law in England and was admitted to the South Carolina bar in 1761. He served in the Commons House, but spent most of his time dealing with litigation concerning the estates of father and his in-laws. During the Revolution, he served in the militia and lent the state £20,000. After the fall of Charleston Guerard was held captive on the prison ship Pack Horse. Between 1779 and 1786 he represented St. Helena’s Parish in both the House and Senate. In 1783 he was elected governor by the General Assembly.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"G" is for Grosvenor, Vertamae (1938-2016). Writer, culinary anthropologist. A native of Allendale County, Grosvenor moved with her family to Philadelphia when she was ten. After high school she lived in Paris and traveled throughout Europe. During her travels she became interested in the African diaspora and how African foods and recipes traveled and changed as a result of it. Her first book, Vibration Cooking or the Travel Notes of a Geechee Girl was published in 1970. It is a unique combination of recipes, reminiscences, and stories from family and friends.

Spinners and doffers in Lancaster Cotton Mills. Lancaster, S.C., circa 1912.
National Archives/Hine, Lewis Wickes

(Originally broadcast 03/09/18) - South Carolina in 1918 was still struggling with the changes to its economic and social systems brought about by the Civil War and Reconstruction. The United States’ entry into World War I affected the daily work life of South Carolinians and the state’s economy in a way that was unique to our state.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"S" is for Slave religion. Enslaved Africans brought their traditional belief systems with them and little effort was made to evangelize them until the 1820s—because some slaveholder thought conversion required emancipation. For all their differences, traditional African beliefs and Christianity had important points of convergence. A creator God was present in both, and the Christian Trinity and angels were suggestive of a multiplicity of deities. Also the story of death and resurrection was familiar to West and South Central Africans who believed in reincarnation.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"S" is for Slave patrols. Slave patrols were a crucial mechanism of slave control in colonial and antebellum South Carolina. Like the state’s earliest slave codes, the earliest slave patrol systems were based on Barbadian models. Following the Stono Rebellion in 1739, the Assembly passed the Negro Act of 1740, which provided for regular, constant patrols. In South Carolina all plantation owners were called upon to serve in patrols. Patrol beats were not large; most ranged between ten and fifteen miles.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"P" is for Pratt, Nathaniel Alpheus (1834-1906). Chemist, engineer, inventor. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Pratt, a native Georgian was named assistant chief of the Confederate States Nitre and Mining Bureau at Augusta. He was responsible for securing domestic supplies of raw materials for the manufacturing of gunpowder. He moved to Charleston after the war. In his wartime search for minerals, he realized that the rocky nodules he had discovered around Charleston Neck were phosphate of lime.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"P" is for Praise houses. “Praise houses” (sometimes called “prayer houses”) functioned on antebellum South Carolina plantations as both the epitome of slave culture and symbols of resistance to slaveholders’ oppressive version of Christianity. Generally simple, clapboard structures built by the slaves themselves, praise houses were erected with the knowledge of the master class. Meetings in the praise house usually occurred on weeknights, rather than Sunday mornings. The simple architecture of the praise house mirrored the style of slave religion.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"M" is for Montgomery, John Henry (1833-1902). Manufacturer, merchant. In the late 1850s Montgomery farmed and entered into general merchandising business. After service in the Civil War, he continued his farming and mercantile activities. In 1874 he moved to Spartanburg joined a firm that was largest cotton buyer in the county. He and his partners organized the Pacolet Manufacturing Company that began operations in 1884. Montgomery was president and treasurer of the company. Under his leadership, the company expanded to three mills.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"M" is for Montagu, Lord Charles Greville (1741-1784). Governor. In 1766 Montagu was appointed governor of South Carolina. During the first three years he managed to settle differences between backcountry settlers and coastal residents—and supporting an act that established circuit courts throughout the colony. In 1769 he sailed to England and did not return until 1771. He was embroiled in a controversy with the Commons House over its control of funding the colony’s budget. His attempt to relocate the capital to Beaufort created a furor.

Written on print: Spartanburg, S.C. Saxon Mills; "Girl workers in the half-time mill school."
Library of Congress/Goldsberry Collection of open-air school photographs.

(Originally broadcast 03/02/18) - There were progressives in South Carolina in 1918. And the progressive movement in this state was different from the movement in the Northeast. However, the United States’ entrance into World War I provided an extra momentum to the movement that led to some fundamental changes the interaction between state and federal authority that lasted through the 20th century.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"B" is for Busbee, Cyril B. (1908-2001). Educator. In his early years Busbee was a teacher, coach, and administrator in various schools in Georgia and South Carolina. In 1943 he moved to Brookland-Cayce Schools (later Lexington District Two), where he rose to superintendent. After service in World War II he returned to the district where he remained as superintendent for twenty-one years. As an administrator, he was considered quite teacher-oriented. In 1966, he was elected state Superintendent of Education and was twice re-elected—serving until 1979.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"B" is for Burton, Edward Milby (1898-1977). Museum director, naturalist, historian. As a young man Burton had an avid interest in hunting and fishing that led to an interest in natural history. In 1930 he joined the board of the Charleston Museum and two years later was appointed its director. He set out to enlarge the museum’s collections of freshwater fish (personally adding 3,156 specimens). During the late 1930s he secured the historic Joseph Manigault House for the museum, thereby saving it from destruction. During World War II, he served in the U.S.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"B" is for Burt, Armistead (1802-1883). Congressman. After attending Pendleton Academy, Burt married John C. Calhoun’s niece and became his protégé. He supported Calhoun’s opposition to the Tariff of 1828 and was the secretary of the 1832 Nullification Convention. He sat in Congress for ten years (1843-1853). Burt was an accepted spokesman in the House for Calhoun’s prosouthern policy, particularly preserving states’ rights, reducing tariffs, and maintaining the balance between free and slave states in the Senate.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"P" is for Powder Magazine (Charleston). In 1703 the colonial assembly authorized the construction of a storehouse for gunpowder as part of the defenses of Charleston. The Powder Magazine was built on the northern edge of the walled city in 1713. The one-story brick structure has a pyramidal tile roof with cross gables and a single room measuring approximately twenty-seven feet square. The walls are thirty-six inches thick. The National Society of the Colonial Dames in South Carolina purchased the building in 1902 to save it from demolition—and turned it into a museum.

"P" is for Poultry

Aug 13, 2018
South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"P" is for Poultry. The humble chicken has risen from the obscurity of the barnyard to the summit of South Carolina agriculture. In the late twentieth century the poultry industry (broilers, turkeys, and eggs) became the state’s leading agribusiness, contributing $500 million annually to the state’s economy. Before chickens and turkeys were cash crops, they were a part of the culture. Native Americans raised turkeys long before settlers came to South Carolina—and chickens arrived with the first settlers.

Unidentified African American soldier in uniform with marksmanship qualification badge and campaign hat, with cigarette holder in front of painted backdrop.
Library of Congress

(Originally broadcast 02/23/18) - Upon the United States' entrance into World War I, President Woodrow Wilson told the nation that the war was being fought to "make the world safe for democracy." For many African-American South Carolinians, the chance to fight in this war was a way to prove their citizenship, in hopes of changing things for the better at home.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"M" is for Monck’s Corner (Berkeley County, 2010 population 7,755). The village of Monck’s Corner in St. John’s Berkeley Parish derived its name from Thomas Monck’s eighteenth century plantation. A small commercial community grew up near the plantation, located at a fork where the Charleston Road intersected with the Cherokee Path. During the siege of Charleston in 1780, it became a point of strategic importance and the scene of a major British victory. After the Revolution, the completion of the State Road and the Santee Canal caused the village to decline.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"M" is for Molloy, Robert [1906-1977]. Novelist, editor, critic. Malloy was born in Charleston, but at the age of twelve his family moved to Philadelphia. He began his literary career as a publisher’s reader, translator, and book reviewer. Eventually he became the literary editor of the New York Sun and began writing short stories that appeared in national magazines. In 1945 he published his first novel, Pride’s Way—an engaging social comedy of a large Charleston Catholic family.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"M" is for Moïse, Penina (1787-1880). Educator, poet, hymn writer, activist. In 1819, Moïse published her first poem in Charleston. Her poems subsequently appeared in newspapers throughout the country and in national magazines such as Godey’s Ladies Book and the American Jewish Advocate. Demonstrating a cosmopolitan world-view, she addressed anti-Semitism, politics and history—and included her personal insights on society. Her poems contained romantic, sentimental, and classical themes, as well as emotional and non-denominational religious topics.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"H" is for Hume, Sophia Wigington (ca. 1702-1774). Minister, writer. A native Charlestonian, Hume was reared an Anglican, but embraced the Quakerism of her grandparents in the 1740s. Re-examining her faith and her life of luxury she moved to London; embraced a life of simplicity; and joined the Society of Friends. She returned to Charleston in late 1747, convinced of the need to warn her neighbors and others of their erring ways. Hume spent the rest of her life inspiring others through her religious writings and dedication to the Quaker faith.

"H" is for Huguenots

Aug 6, 2018
South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"H" is for Huguenots. Huguenots are French Calvinists. The French Reformed church was formally founded in 1559. Because of intense religious strife in France, Jean Ribaut sponsored the short-lived (1562-1563) Huguenot settlement at Charlesfort on Parris Island. The Edict of Nantes, guaranteeing religious freedom, was revoked in 1695 and individuals had the choice of renouncing their faith or fleeing France. The Huguenot migration to South Carolina is part of a larger diaspora, traditionally known as le Refuge—some 2,500 migrated to North America, about 500 to South Carolina.

(Originally broadcast 02/09/18) - With the United States’ entrance into World War I, three Army training bases were set up in South Carolina. The social and economic impact on a state still suffering from the devastation of the Civil War was dramatic. Three infantry divisions, including support personnel, swelled the Upstate and Midlands population by 90,000. On the coast, recruits flocked to Charleston’s Navy base. And some of those trainees were African Americans, which caused political turmoil and civil strife in a Jim Crow state.

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