South Carolina from A to Z

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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.)

“B” is for Black River. The Black River takes its name from its tea-colored waters. The river begins in the Sandhills of Lee County, and is joined at Rocky Bluff Swamp near Sumter. The Pocotaligo River flows into the Black between Manning and Kingstree.  In some places the river is swamp like, while in others it is swift moving with a sandy bottom. After travelling over 150 miles through four counties, the Black River becomes part of the Great Pee Dee River near Georgetown.

“W” is for Williamson’s Plantation, Battle of [July 12, 1780]. After the fall of Charleston, New Acquisition District in present-day York County was reputedly the only district where no one took the King’s protections. Patriot raids on British outposts led to a detachment of the British Legion, under the command of Captain Christian Huck, being sent to punish the rebels. He responded vigorously by insulting the inhabitants and pillaging the countryside. On the night of July 11th he camped at James Williamson’s abandoned plantation in Brattonsville.

“S” is for Segregation.  Segregation, the residential, political, and social isolation of African Americans, by law and custom was accomplished in South Carolina in the last quarter of the 19th century. The 1895 constitution effectively disenfranchised most black Carolinians. Jim Crow laws were speedily enacted after the US Supreme Court’s decision in Plessy v. Ferguson that established the principle of separate but equal. For black Carolinians, the experience of life in a segregated society was often traumatic. A wide variety of laws set African Americans apart from whites.

  “B” is for Blanchard, Felix Anthony, Jr. [1924-2009]. Football player, Heisman Trophy recipient. “Doc” Blanchard was born in McColl but grew up in Bishopville. As the son of a physician, townspeople called him “Little Doc,” a nickname that followed him for a lifetime. He played high school football at Bishopville and then at St. Stanislaus Prep School in Biloxi, Mississippi. In 1943 Blanchard was drafted, but was accepted for officer candidate school and enrolled at West Point.

  “W” is for WIS Radio and Television. WIS Radio and Television stations in Columbia played an influential role in the development of South Carolina’s broadcast media-being among the state’s pioneer commercial broadcasters and locating their studios in the capital city. The last station in the country to be granted a three-letter call sign, WIS Radio signed on the air on the evening of July 10, 1930, from a  one-room studio in Columbia’s Jefferson Hotel. The call sign initials stood for “Wonderful Iodine State.” In 1931 the station was acquired by Liberty Life Corporation.

“M” is for McNair, Robert Evander [1923-2007]. Attorney, legislator, governor. During World War II, McNair served 23 months in the Pacific theater. After the war, he graduated from USC and moved to Allendale—the hometown of his wife, Josephine. From 1951 until 1963 he represented Allendale County in the South Carolina House of Representatives. In 1962 he was elected lieutenant governor. When Governor Donald Russell resigned in April 1965, McNair became governor. He was elected to a full term in 1966.

  “S” is for Shand, Gadsden Edwards [1868-1948]. Architect, engineer. After receiving his engineering degree from South Carolina College, he studied architecture in new York. Shand became best known his public and commercial building designs and played a significant role in the early 20th century development of the state’s textile industry. He served as superintendent of construction on the South Carolina State House from 1888-1890.

“L” is for Loggerhead Turtle. State Reptile.  The loggerhead turtle, a threatened species, is one of the world’s eight living species of turtles and evolved some sixty-five million to seventy million years ago. At birth, hatchlings are about two inches long. Adults can weight between 200 and250 pounds. The animal is reddish brown and yellow and has a distinctive large head—the source of its name--with powerful jaws enabling it to crush clams, crustaceans, and other food. Its great size and hard shell protect adult turtles from most predators.

  “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.