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

"G" is for Gregorie, Anne King (1887-1960). Historian, teacher, author, editor. After graduating from Winthrop in 1906, Gregorie taught for a while and then spent several years working with her father. In 1925 she embarked on the process of becoming a professional historian. Within a year she earned a master’s degree from the University of South Carolina. In 1929 Gregorie became the first woman to deceive a doctorate from USC’s Department of History. While teaching at colleges in Alabama and Arkansas, she prepared her biography of Thomas Sumter for publication.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"G" is for Gregg, William (1800-1867). Manufacturer. Industrial promoter. Gregg made his fortune as an importer of fancy goods and jewelry in Charleston. In 1844, he toured the leading manufacturing centers of the Northeast. Returning to Charleston he wrote a series of articles that evolved into a pamphlet, Essays on Domestic Industry. In these widely circulated publications, Gregg called on the South to invest in manufacturing and end its reliance on staple agriculture—and made him widely known among the South’s leading industrial advocates.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"C" is for Cleveland School Fire (May 17, 1923). Cleveland Public School was situated in Kershaw County, six mile south of Camden. The school was housed in a two-story frame building; an auditorium (40 feet by 20 feet) was on the second floor. On May 17, 1923 the room was packed with 300 people attending graduation ceremonies and a class play. During the performance, a large oil lamp fell to the stage and ignited an intense fire. Terrified spectators rushed toward the only exit. Some persons were trampled to death and the wooden stairway collapsed.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"C" is for Cleveland, Georgia Allen (1851-1914). Writer, activist. Georgia Allen Cleveland and her husband were noted for their generosity and charity in the Spartanburg community. Both played leading roles in the founding of Converse College. She kept a diary from 1890 to 1914 in which she chronicled life as an upper class married southern white female. Because of the richness of her entries, she left a legacy of South Carolina upcountry history that documented local, state, and regional history. Her diary is a valuable record of Victorian female domesticity from the grand to the mundane.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"C" is for Clemson University Extension Service. The Smith-Lever Act of 1914 created the Cooperative Extension Service. The act ended the rivalry between state agricultural commissioners and land grant colleges over the administration of extension work. In its place, Smith-Lever created a partnership of federal, state, and local governments that worked to improve the quality of rural life by disseminating the latest information to farmers, homemakers, and communities.

In an open letter to the South Carolina General Assembly, the Fellowship of South Carolina Bishops wrote, "Unfortunately, our state is marked by disparities in the delivery of education... Even in the most successful of school districts, too many students underachieve, or worse, fall through the cracks and do not achieve success."

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"W" is for Wright, Jonathan Jasper (1840-1885). Attorney, legislator, jurist. Born in Pennsylvania, Wright read law with antislavery advocate Dr. William W. Pride. In 1864 Wright took a position with the American Missionary Association teaching black soldiers stationed on the Sea Islands. He was admitted to the Pennsylvania bar in 1866, but returned to South Carolina the next year with the Freedman’s

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"W" is for Wright, Elizabeth Evelyn (1872-1906). A native Georgian, Wright enrolled as a night student at Tuskegee; she paid her tuition by working at the school during the day. Despite opposition from state and local education officials she tried to establish small industrial education schools in the lowcountry. In 1897, Wright relocated to Denmark and opened a school over a grocery store. She began raising money for what would become the Denmark Industrial Institute—modeled on her alma mater. Her most generous benefactor was Ralph Vorhees of New Jersey.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"W" is for Wright, Alice Buck Norwood Spearman (1902-1989). Human relations activist. A graduate of Converse College, Wright taught school in South Carolina before moving to New York City. She earned a master’s degree in religious education from Columbia Teacher’s College. In 1930 she began a three-year journey around the world, attending conferences, teaching, and studying Asian culture Returning home, Wright became the first woman appointed to administer a county relief program.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"W" is for Wragg, William (ca. 1714-1777). Loyalist. A native South Carolinian, Wragg was educated in England at Westminster, St. John’s College, Oxford, and the middle Temple. He was appointed to the Royal Council in 1753 and supported its positions in controversies with the Commons House. When Governor Lyttleton tried to appease the Commons House, Wragg vociferously defended the position of the Crown and the Council. Removed from the Council, he was elected to the Commons House.

S.C. State University logo
S.C. State

Since its founding in 1896, South Carolina State University has provided vocational, undergraduate, and graduate education for generations of African Americans. Now the state’s flagship historically black university, it achieved this recognition after decades of struggling against poverty, inadequate infrastructure and funding, and social and cultural isolation. In South Carolina State University: A Black Land-Grant College in Jim Crow America, William C.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"M" is for Miller, Kelly, Jr. (1863-1939). Educator, writer. A Winnsboro native, Miller was the son of a free person of color and an enslaved woman. A northern missionary helped him get a scholarship to the preparatory department of Howard University. He later became the first African American to attend Johns Hopkins University. In 1890 Miller joined the faculty at Howard where he remained throughout his career. As a sociologist and Dean of Howard’s College of Arts and Sciences, he became one of the nation’s most prominent authorities in the debate on race in America.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"M" is for Mill Villages. The establishment of the Pelzer Manufacturing Company’s mill on the Saluda River in Anderson County in the early 1880s marked the beginning of the Piedmont mill village boom. Early textile entrepreneurs built not only factories, but also frequently entire villages such as Piedmont in Greenville County, Clifton and Pacolet in Spartanburg County, and Langley in Aiken County. The villages were self-contained communities with neighborhood stores, parks, schools, churches, and mill league baseball and basketball. Mill villages began to decline in the 1920s.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"P" is for Port Royal Island, Battle of (February 3, 1779). The Battle of Port Royal Island was part of a larger campaign designed by the British to cover their operations against Augusta, Georgia. On February 2, 1779—while British units were marching toward Augusta, a small British fleet approached Port Royal. The approach of the warships led the Americans to destroy Fort Lyttleton at Beaufort. The enemy marched through the town and up the Broad River. They found Port Royal Ferry well defended and decided to return to their ships.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"P" is for Port Royal Experiment. The Port Royal Experiment was an early humanitarian effort to prepare former slaves of the South Carolina Sea Islands for inclusion as free citizens in American public life. The Experiment was made possible by the U.S. Navy’ conquest of the Sea Islands in November 1861. The conquest was so swift that Beaufort District planters fled and abandoned nearly ten thousand slaves on island plantations. A partnership was established between the federal government and various philanthropic agencies.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"R" is for Russell, Donald Stewart (1906-1998). University President, governor, U.S. senator, jurist. Russell practiced law in Spartanburg with James F. Byrnes. As Byrnes’ protégé, he worked in the White House during World War II. In 1950 Russell was named president of the University of South Carolina where his administration is remembered as one of the most successful in the school’s history. In 1962 he was elected governor. When Senator Olin D. Johnston died in 1965, Russell resigned as governor and was appointed to the U.S. Senate until a special election could be held.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"R" is for Rutledge, John (ca. 1739-1800). Lawyer, jurist, governor. After studying at the Middle Temple in London, Rutledge was admitted to the Charleston bar in 1761 and quickly became one of the colony’s most successful attorneys. He was one of the leaders in the Commons House from 1761 to 1775. He was a delegate to the Stamp Act Congress and the First and Second Continental Congresses. He was elected governor in 1779. When the British overran South Carolina in 1780, he escaped Charleston and functioned as a one-man government in exile.

Peace Voices

Apr 16, 2018
Glenis Redmond
Peace Center

Peace Voices is a spoken word outreach program of Greenville's Peace Center that uses poetry as a vehicle to tell unique, personal stories. Participants engage in master classes with Peace Center Poet-in-Residence Glenis Redmond, both at the Peace Center and in the community.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"R" is for Rutledge, Edward (1749-1800). Lawyer, governor. Rutledge studied law at the Middle Temple in London. He was admitted to the bar in 1773. One of his first cases involved a successful habeas corpus petition that freed a printer jailed for contempt by the Royal Council. The reputation he gained in this politically charged case led to his election to the Continental Congress in 1774--where in 1776, he became the youngest signer of the Declaration of Independence. Returning to Charleston he was a member of the General Assembly and a captain in the Charleston Artillery.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"R" is for Rutledge, Archibald (1883-1973). Poet, writer. Rutledge grew up on Hampton plantation in Georgetown County. Graduating from Porter Military Academy in Charleston, he continued his education at Union College. For nearly thirty-two years Rutledge headed the English department at Mercersburg Academy, a college preparatory school in Pennsylvania. He began publishing poetry in 1907, but did not earn recognition until 1918, when his memoir of youth, Tom and I on the Old Plantation, was published.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"S" is for Slave badges. Slave badges served as the physical proof required to demonstrate the legal status of slaves hired out by their masters. Laws controlling such hiring began early, and badges or “tickets” were mentioned by 1751; wearing them was mandated by 1764. In 1783, with its incorporation, Charleston immediately passed badge laws. Although other cities had similar laws, only Charleston badges have survived. By 1806 badges were valid for a calendar year and were sold at varying fees, in specific categories: mechanics, fruiterers (hucksters), fishers, porters, and servants.

"S" is for 6-0-1 Law

Apr 10, 2018
South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"S" is for 6-0-1 Law (1924). In his 1925 inaugural address, Governor Thomas McLeod proclaimed the 6-0-1 Law to be “the most progressive step…South Carolina has taken on educational lines since the establishment of the public school system.” In essence the law guaranteed at least a seven-month school term for all white children. Additionally, it shifted the financial responsibility away from local districts, which often lacked resources to the state. The state paid teacher salaries for six months (“6”) provided that local school districts paid for one month (“1”).

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"S" is for Sisters of Charity of Our Lady of Mercy. In 1829, Catholic Bishop John England founded the Sister of Charity of Our Lady of Mercy in Charleston—using the Sisters of Charity in Emmitsburg, Maryland, as a model for the new religious community. By the 1840s the sisters operated an orphanage, an academy, and a free school for girls, and a school for free children of color. They later established St. Francis Xavier Hospital in Charleston and Divine Savior Hospital in York.

Dr. Barbara Bellows
LSU Press

Tracing the intersecting lives of a Confederate plantation owner and a free black Union soldier, Barbara L. Bellows’ Two Charlestonians at War (Louisiana State University Press, 2018) offers a poignant allegory of the fraught, interdependent relationship between wartime enemies in the Civil War South: Captain Thomas Pickney, a Confederate prisoner of war; and Sergeant Joseph Humphries Barquet, a Charleston-born free person of color and prison guard.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

“R” is for Russell’s Magazine (1857-1860). Russell’s Magazine was the last of the southern antebellum literary magazines and arguably the best. It was the magazine for the professional middle class—doctors, lawyers, and college faculty. Paul Hamilton Hayne was the journal’s editor. Hayne promised to publish “undiscovered genius” in the South because northern editors were reluctant to publish southern writers. The only undiscovered genius, however, out to be Henry Timrod.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

“P” is for Port Royal, Battle of (November 7, 1861). On November 7th a Union naval squadron including seventeen warships and thirty-five transports (with 1,300 soldiers aboard) entered Port Royal Sound. The warships bombarded Fort Walker on Hilton Head and Fort Beauregard on Bay Point. After five hours of fighting, the Confederates evacuated the forts and fled inland—abandoning Beaufort and the Sea Islands. The Union suffered eight killed and twenty-three wounded; Confederate losses were eleven killed and sixty-one wounded.

"P" is for Port Royal

Apr 4, 2018
South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"P" is for Port Royal (Beaufort County; population 3,950). In 1869 Stephen Caldwell Miller began construction of the Port Royal Railroad between Augusta, Georgia, and Battery Point on the southern end of Port Royal Island. The town, railroad, and harbor facilities followed and Port Royal was incorporated in 1874. The town soon surpassed Beaufort in both shipping and commercial activities. Nearby phosphate deposits brought a boom and regular railroad connections with inland cities. Passenger ship service was established to New York, Liverpool, and Bremen.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

“M” is for Mill Schools. Textile mill executives surrounded their mills with villages and most provided schools to educate the children of mill workers. The mill school was a reflection of the individual community and run with little interference or oversight by the state. Prior to South Carolina’s compulsory attendance law, children as young as nine went top work in the mills, depending on the family’s preference or financial circumstances. One of the most audacious examples of South Carolina’s Progressive movement was the creation of a high school in Greenville.

Dr. William Dufford
Courtesy of USC Press

Immortalized in the writings of his most famous student, best-selling author Pat Conroy, veteran education administrator William E. Dufford has led an the life of a stalwart champion for social justice and equal access for all to the empowerment of a good public education. In My Tour Through the Asylum: A Southern Integrationist's Memoir (USC Press, 2017), Dufford and his collaborators, Aïda Rogers and Salley McInerney, recount the possibilities that unfold when people work through their differences toward a common good.

"M" is for Militia

Apr 2, 2018
South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

“M” is for Militia. South Carolina’s early settlers brought with them the traditional English concept of a militia, the idea that every citizen had a duty to assist in the defense of the community. A 1671 ordinance required all men (sixteen to sixty) to serve in the militia and provide their own weapons. The Militia act of 1792 required all white males (eighteen to forty-five) to serve and supply their weapons and ammunition. The militia served primarily as a source of manpower for the regular patrols used to enforce the laws on slave activity.

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