South Carolina from A to Z

All Stations: Mon-Fri, throughout the day

From Hilton Head to Caesars Head, and from the Lords Proprietors to Hootie and the Blowfish, historian Walter Edgar mines the riches of the South Carolina Encyclopedia to bring you South Carolina from A to Z. (A production of South Carolina Public Radio.)

  “R” is for Robinson, Bernice Violanthe [1914-1994]. Educator, civil rights activist. A Charleston native, Robinson moved to New York in the 1940s where she worked as a beautician and a civil servant. She returned home in 1947 to help care for her parents. She joined the NAACP and became involved with voter registration drives. In 1957 when Esau Jenkins established first Citizenship School on Johns Island, Robinson became its first teacher.

  “P” is for Pine Bark Stew. Pine bark stew is thought to have originated as a fisherman’s stew cooked on the banks of the Pee Dee River. In the 1930 edition of Two Hundred Years of Charleston Cooking, Blanche Rhett credits the recipe to Captain John A. Kelly of Kingstree who made it a favorite dish of the Otranto Hunting Club in Goose Creek. The 1950 cookbook, Charleston Receipts agreed, titling its recipe “Otranto Pine Bark Stew.” The reason for the name is speculative. Was it because it was dark in color? Seasoned with a pine sprig?

  “M” is for Memminger, Christopher Gustavus [1803-1888]. Lawyer, politician. A native of Germany, Memminger’s family immigrated  to Charleston, where after the death of his mother he was placed in the Charleston Orphan House. He remained there for seven years until adopted by future Governor Thomas Bennett. After graduating from the South Carolina College, he practiced law in Charleston. During the 1850s he was instrumental in the creation of the state’s truly public school system.

  “L” of for Lovers of Meher Baba. Merwan Sheriar Irani, known as Meher Baba, was born in Poona India—of Persian parents. He was influenced by both Muslim and Hindu spiritual leaders. They made him aware of his high spiritual destiny and shared with him t divine knowledge. Having attained spiritual perfection, in 1921, he drew together his first close disciples and began his spiritual mission. These disciples gave him the name Meher Baba [Compassionate Father].

  “H” is for Hoagland, Jimmie Lee [b. 1940]. Journalist. A two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, Hoagland was born in Rock Hill. He graduated from USC in 1961 with a degree in journalism. He worked briefly as a sports writer for The State and the Columbia Record before winning a scholarship to study in France. After serving in the Air Force, he worked as a copy editor for the international edition of the New York Times. In 1966 he joined the Washington Post and in 1969 became their correspondent in Africa. He won his first Pulitzer in 1971 for his reporting on apartheid in Africa.

“G” is for Greens

Sep 30, 2014

  “G” is for Greens. Perhaps nowhere in the United States have greens been so beloved as in the South. And South Carolina has a long tradition of cooking greens—especially collards, turnip greens, and some wild leaf greens. The traditional southern method of cooking collards and turnips is to make a broth with fatback, streak o’lean, ham hocks, or other salted pork or bacon and water. The greens are stripped of tough or yellowed stems and leaves and added to the boiling water.The heat is reduced and the greens left to simmer for up to two hours.

  “D” is for Durban, Pam Rosa [b. 1947]. Author. An Aiken native, Durban graduated from UNC-Greensboro. In the 1970s she a was a free-lance writer for Osceola, an alternative newspaper. She moved to Atlanta where she was a contributing editor for the Atlanta Gazette. In Atlanta she taped interviews with women in a textile mill community which she published as Cabbagetown Families. In 1979 she received her MFA from the Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa.

  "W” is for Winthrop University. Winthrop University traces it origins to 1886 when the Peabody Foundation gave the Columbia City Schools a grant to open a teacher training facility. Five years later the General Assembly created the Winthrop Normal and Industrial College of South Carolina for the education of white girls. The school was named for Robert C. Winthrop, president of the Board of the Peabody Foundation. The school moved to Rock Hill in 1895. Throughout its history, the college retained its roots in the liberal arts. Integration came before co-education.

"S" is for Shag

Sep 23, 2014

"S” is for Shag. State Dance. The “Shag” is southern swing tempered by the influences of jazz, blues, and gospel music. Few agree on its exact origins. Some legendary white dancers credit its modern form to a taboo collaboration with African Americans that occurred in segregated South Carolina in the 1940s. White jitterbugs found that the emerging so-called race music [rhythm and blues] slowed and smoothed their movements. The shag, commented one veteran dancer, is the jitterbug on Quaaludes.

“R” is for Robertson, Thomas James [1823-1897]. U.S. senator. After graduating from the South Carolina College, was a successful and prominent planter. During the Civil War, however, he sided with the Union and was said to have entertained General Sherman in his Columbia home. As a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1868, he advocated the punishment of former Confederates. In return for his loyalty to the Union and the Republican Party, he was bitterly denounced by most white Carolinians. In 1868 the General Assembly elected him to the U.S.

  “B” is for Blake Plateau. The Blake Plateau is a large, relatively shallow carbonate bank that lies two hundred miles off Charleston on the continental shelf. It runs from Cape Hatteras in North Carolina, past South Carolina and eastern Florida, to just north of the Bahamas. The plateau began to form more than 200 million years ago as the North American Plate disengaged from the African Plate creating the Atlantic Ocean. The Blake Plateau’s structure clearly illustrates the process of the North American/African separation as well as the development of continental shelves generally.

  “L” is for the Louisville, Cincinnati, and Charleston Rail Road Company. This railroad represented the most ambitious dreams of the antebellum Charleston business community: a transportation connection to the markets of the Midwest that would return the city to national prominence. Chartered in 1835 to connect Charleston and Cincinnati, Louisville was added to gain the support of the Kentucky legislature. In 1837 the company began construction of a sixty-mile line from Branchville to Columbia—the only track it ever built.

  “G” is for Greener, Richard Theodore [1844-1922]. Teacher, diplomat. A native of Philadelphia, Greener was the first African American to earn an undergraduate degree from Harvard. After teaching in Washington and Philadelphia, in 1873 he accepted the professorship of mental and moral philosophy at the newly integrated University of South Carolina. He was also the university’s librarian. He gave the university’s commencement address in 1874. In 1877 he resigned his professorship and took a position in the US Treasury Department.

"P" is for Pinckney, Thomas [1750-1828]. Governor, diplomat, congressman, soldier. Pinckney was educated in England at Christ College, Oxford and at the Inns of Court, and in France at the Royal Military Academy. He returned to South Carolina in 1774 and in 1775, he joined the First South Carolina Continental Regiment. He saw active service until 1780 when was wounded and captured at the Battle of Camden. Pinckney was elected governor in 1787 and served two terms. He was the American Minister Plenipotentiary to Great Britain and later to Spain.

"P" is for Pinckney Island Wildlife Refuge. Pinckney Island Wildlife Refuge is in Beaufort County, between Skull Creek and Mackay Creek. The Refuge was established in 1975 and opened in 1985. It is comprised of four islands: Corn, Little Harry, Big Harry, and Pinckney. The largest island, Pinckney, is the only one open to the public. From 1736 to 1936 the refuge was owned by the family and descendants of Charles Cotesworth Pinckney and was a cotton plantation. From 1937 until 1975, the island was managed as a game preserve.

"M" is for Medal of Honor Recipients

Sep 11, 2014

"M" is for Medal of Honor Recipients. Approved by Congress in 1862, the Medal of Honor is America's highest award for military valor. The first native son to receive the award was Ernest A. Garlington of Newberry for "distinguished gallantry" at the Battle of Wounded Knee in 1892. Eight South Carolinians were awarded the medal during World War I. During World War II, five Carolinians were awarded the medal. During the Korean War, three of the four men were presented the honor posthumously.

“H” is for Hipp, Francis Moffett [1911-1995]. Insurance executive.  After graduating from Furman, Hipp joined his father’s company, Liberty Life Insurance. The Greenville-based firm also owned radio stations in Columbia and Charleston. When Hipp’s father died in 1943, the company’s directors elected him president and chairman of the board. An energetic leader, Hipp expanded the company into the Southeast through its own agents and nationally through financial institutions.

"B" is for Blackwood, Ibra Charles

Sep 8, 2014

“B” is for Blackwood, Ibra Charles [1878-1936]. Governor. After graduating from Wofford, Blackwood read law and was admitted to the bar. He represented Spartanburg in the General Assembly and served as solicitor of the Seventh Judicial Circuit. He made an unsuccessful bid for governor in 1926, but was elected in 1930. He entered office with the Great Depression well underway in South Carolina. In 1932, he joined Senator James F. Byrnes in endorsing Franklin Roosevelt for the presidency.

  “C” is for the Charleston Riot [1876]. As the crucial local, state, and national elections of 1876 approached, tensions between the races in South Carolina reached a boiling point. In Charleston black Republicans were especially incensed by Democratic attempts to induce blacks to vote Democratic. On September 6th, after a Democratic rally, a group of Republicans pursued the participants. A white Democrat fired a pistol that instead of frightening his pursuers attracted an even larger crowd. The Democrats retreated and asked for protection from federal troops.

“W” is Winnsboro

Sep 3, 2014

  “W” is Winnsboro [Fairfield County, population 3,599]. Winnsboro, the seat of Fairfield County, lies in the Piedmont on a ridge between the Broad and Wateree Rivers. In 1768 John Winn began acquiring land that would become Winnsboro. During the Revolution, Lord Cornwallis and the British Army occupied the town. Incorporated in 1832, the town was named for Revolutionary War hero Richard Winn. The town became a religious and educational center—home to Mount Zion Academy, Furman Academy and Theological Institution, and Fairfield Institute. Cotton brought prosperity to the county.

“S” is for Sewees

Sep 2, 2014

  “S” is for Sewees. The Sewees were a Native American nation based along the Santee River and the Sea Islands. In 1670 it was the Sewees who showed the English colonists the best harbors. They helped the Carolinians against the Spanish and supplied the settlers with food when the colony ran short. The tribe was decimated by smallpox and by an ill-fated attempt to trade directly across the Atlantic with England. A fleet of canoes was swamped by a storm and many drowned; those that survived were picked up by an English slave ship and sold into slavery in the West Indies.

“R” is for Robertson, Benjamin Franklin, Jr. [1903-1943]. Journalist. Robertson was a well-respected and well-traveled journalist and war correspondent and the author of three books. In 1940 he was hired by PM, a newspaper, as its London correspondent during the Battle of Britain. In 1941 he published I Saw England, a well-received account of British resolve during the blitz. After another stint in London, he returned home and began work on Red Hills and Cotton: An Upcountry Memory. During 1942 Robertson covered the war from Libya, the Soviet Union, and India for PM.

“P” is for Pinckney, Maria Henrietta

Aug 25, 2014

  “P” is for Pinckney, Maria Henrietta [d. 1836]. Writer. The eldest daughter of Charles Cotesworth Pinckney and Sarah Middleton, Maria Pinckney is notable for writing a defense of nullification entitled The Quintessence of Long Speeches, Arranged as a Political Catechism.

  “M” is for Medical University of South Carolina. At the request of the Medical Society of South Carolina, the General Assembly established the Medical College of South Carolina. It opened in 1824 as a private institution. In the last two decades of the 19th century, programs in pharmacy and nursing began. The faculty voted to admit women medical students in 1895. In 1913 Dean Robert Wilson campaigned for state ownership of the Medical College, whereby the state would assume some financial responsibility for the school. State ownership was achieved in 1914.

  “L” is for Lott, Robert Bretley [b. 1958]. Author, educator. A native of California, Lott received his MFA from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Though reared in California, he considers himself a Southerner: “My family is from East Texas and Mississippi—I grew up drinking sweet tea….” In 1986 he became writer-in-residence at the College of Charleston. He began publishing his short stories in 1983—and his fiction and essays have appeared in dozens of literary journals.

  “H” is for Historic Charleston Foundation [HCF]. The Historic Charleston Foundation sprang from the activities of the Carolina Art Association. In 1944, the association published This is Charleston, a survey of historic buildings. In 1947, HCF was incorporated as a separate organization to preserve buildings still occupied by their owners, instead of museums. To raise money, HCF sponsored its first Festival of Homes and saved important structures such as the Nathaniel Russell House.

“G” is for Greene, Nathanael [1742-1786]. Soldier. Early in the Revolution, Rhode Islander Nathaniel Greene became close to George Washington and served on his staff. After the battle of Camden, Washington personally selected him to command the southern army. Taking command in December 1780, he devised a strategy that led to the victory at Cowpens and caused Cornwallis to chase him to the Dan River. At Guilford Court House, Greene’s forces badly damaged the British who limped off to Virginia.