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“G” is for Girardeau, John LaFayette (1825-1898)

“G” is for Girardeau, John LaFayette (1825-1898). Clergyman, educator. Born on James Island, Girardeau graduated from the College of Charleston. He attended Columbia Theological Seminary and was ordained a Presbyterian clergyman. After serving several small congregations, he was called as pastor to the Anson Street Presbyterian Church in Charleston—a congregation organized for mission to enslaved persons. A powerful preacher who was at home with the Gullah dialect, he attracted large numbers of Black South Carolinians to the congregation. A new very large church building, Zion Presbyterian, was built. After the Civil War he was ousted as pastor by northern missionaries, but returned at the request of his former Black parishioners. However, Girardeau’s insistence on White leadership for the congregation led to his resignation. In 1875 John LaFayette Girardeau accepted a professorship at Columbia Theological Seminary.

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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 B.A. 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.