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Walter Edgar's Journal
Walter Edgar's Journal
Posted weekly, usually on Mondays

From books to barbecue, and current events to Colonial history, historian and author Walter Edgar delves into the arts, culture, and history of South Carolina and the American South.

In 2021, Walter Edgar's Journal celebrates 21 years on South Carolina Public Radio. As part of the celebration, we are delving into the archive to offer a selection of encores of notable episodes, curated by Dr. Edgar.

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  • A part of our celebration of Walter Edgar's Journal at 21 we present an encore from 2014, with guest John Shelton Reed, talking about his book, Dixie Bohemia: A French Quarter Circle in the 1920s.In the years following World War I, the New Orleans French Quarter attracted artists and writers with low rent, a faded charm, and colorful street life. By the 1920s Jackson Square became the center of a vibrant but short-lived bohemia. A young William Faulkner and his roommate William Spratling, an artist who taught at Tulane, were among the "artful and crafty ones of the French Quarter." In Dixie Bohemia: A French Quarter Circle in the 1920s (LSU Press, 2012) John Shelton Reed introduces Faulkner's circle of friends ranging from the distinguished Sherwood Anderson to a gender-bending Mardi Gras costume designer and brings to life the people and places of New Orleans in the jazz age.Dr. John Shelton Reed is the William Rand Kenan Jr. Professor Emeritus of sociology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where he was director of the Howard Odum Institute for Research in Social Science for twelve years and helped found the university's Center for the Study of the American South and the quarterly Southern Cultures.
  • As part of our on-going series, Walter Edgar's Journal at 21, we revisit a conversation with the late Dr. Abby Sallenger, who tells the cautionary tale of Isle Derniere.In the summer of 1853, many of New Orleans’s citizens traveled to Isle Derniere, an emerging island retreat on the Gulf of Mexico, presuming it a safe haven from yellow fever. On August 10, 1856, a hurricane swept across the island, killing most of its 400 inhabitants. What remained of the island was a forest stranded in the sea, a sign of a land that would eventually vanish.
  • On the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, Walter Edgar's Journal offers this special encore of a conversation with Lyndon Harris, who was on Wall Street the day the World Trade Center towers fell. At that time, Gaffney, SC, native Lyndon Harris was the Priest in Charge of St. Paul's Episcopal Chapel, which was across from the World Trade Center. In September of 2011, Harris returned to his home state to take part in an exhibition at the Cherokee County History and Arts Museum, Eyewitnesses to 9/11: From Tragedy to Transformation. He joined Walter Edgar in our studio to tell the story of the extraordinary ministry begun at St. Paul’s on 9/12 and about his work with Gardens of Forgiveness, where he is currently Executive Director. Harris is also minister at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Carolina Foothills.
  • Few people are familiar with the full history that shaped and preserved the fish and wildlife of coastal South Carolina. From Native Americans to the early colonists to plantation owners and their slaves to market hunters and commercial fishermen, all viewed fish and wildlife as limitless. Through time, however, overharvesting led to population declines, and the public demanded conservation. The process that produced fish and game laws, wardens and wildlife refuges was complex and often involved conflict, but synergy and cooperation ultimately produced one of the most extensive conservation systems on the East Coast. Author James O. Luken presents this fascinating story in his new book, Coastal South Carolina Fish and Game: History, Culture and Conservation.
  • As part of our continuing series of encore episodes celebrating The Journal at 21, we encore a 2014 episode with the late novelist Pat Conroy, author of The Water is Wide, The Great Santini, The Prince of Tides, and The Death of Santini. Conroy joins Walter Edgar for an event celebrating the author’s life; his work; and One Book, One Columbia’s 2014 selection, My Reading Life (Nan A. Talese, 2010). The conversation was recorded before an audience of over 2000, at Columbia’s Township Auditorium, on the evening of February 27.
  • This week on Walter Edgar's Journal, we offer another in our series of encore broadcasts celebrating The Journal at 21, with a 2004 conversation with the late U. S. District Judge Matthew Perry. Perry takes us on a journey from his humble beginnings in a segregated South Carolina to his part in helping to break down the color barrier. In between he spins some delightful stories about the people who helped shape South Carolina throughout the turbulent 60’s and 70’s.
  • In Down by the Riverside: A South Carolina Slave Community, Charles Joyner takes readers on a journey back in time, up the Waccamaw River through the Lowcountry of South Carolina, past rice fields made productive by the labor of enslaved Africans, past rice mills and forest clearings into the antebellum world of All Saints Parish. In this community, and many others like it, the enslaved people created a new language, a new religion - indeed, a new culture - from African traditions and American circumstances.He joined Dr. Edgar in 2010, during the 10th anniversary celebration of Walter Edgar's Journal, to talk about this edition.
  • River Alliance CEO Mike Dawson talks with Walter Edgar about how the Alliance has worked together with riverside communities, city and county governments, and many other organizations to create community resources along the Saluda, Broad, and Congaree rivers in the Midlands of South Carolina.
  • For this episode celebrating Walter Edgar's Journal at 21, we’ve dusted off a 2004, on-the-road program, recorded at Litchfield Books on Pawleys Island. Walter's guest is the late Cokie Roberts, longtime NPR correspondent and commentator. Roberts talks politics, personal history, and about her book, Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation.
  • The late Ken Burger spent almost 40 years writing for two South Carolina newspapers, during a career that included stints covering sports, business, politics, and life in the Palmetto State.Burger’s book, Baptized in Sweet Tea, is a collection of columns he wrote for the Charleston Post & Courier. As the title hints, the common thread running through the collection is Burger’s southern-ness… and, more specifically, his identity as a born-and-bred South Carolinian.
  • On June 17, 2015, twelve members of the historically black Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina welcomed a young white man to their evening Bible study. He arrived with a pistol, 88 bullets, and hopes of starting a race war. Dylann Roof’s massacre of nine innocents during their closing prayer horrified the nation. Two days later, some relatives of the dead stood at Roof’s hearing and said, “I forgive you.” That grace offered the country a hopeful ending to an awful story. But for the survivors and victims’ families, the journey had just begun.
  • Alice Ravenel Huger Smith (1876–1958), a leader of the Charleston Renaissance, immortalized the beauty and history of the Carolina Lowcountry and helped propel the region into an important destination for cultural tourism.In the book Alice: Alice Ravenel Huger Smith, Charleston Renaissance Artist, Dwight McInvail and his co-authors draw on unpublished papers, letters, and interviews to create a personal account of the artist’s life and work. The book is enriched by over 200 illustrations of paintings, prints, sketches, and photographs, many shared for the first time.McInvaill and internationally renowned South Carolina Artist Jonathan Green join Walter Edgar in conversation about Alice Ravenel Huger Smith and her work.