Walter Edgar's Journal

All Stations: Fri, 12-1 pm | News & Talk Stations: Sun, 4-5 pm

Walter Edgar's Journal delves into the arts, culture, history of South Carolina and the American South. (A production of South Carolina Public Radio.)

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed on Walter Edgar's Journal are not necessarily those of South Carolina Public Radio.

Southern Women

Mar 23, 2020
Walter Edgar's Journal
SC Public Radio

The Southern woman has long been synonymous with the Southern belle, a “moonlight and magnolias” myth that gets nowhere close to describing the strong, richly diverse women who have thrived because of—and in some cases, despite—the South.

Nathanael Greene, Thomas Sumter
NY Public Library

Andrew Waters, author of The Quaker and the Gamecock: Nathanael Greene, Thomas Sumter, and the Revolutionary War for the Soul of the South (2018, Casemate), joins Walter Edgar to tells the story of two wildly divergent leaders against the backdrop of the American Revolution's last gasp, the effort to extricate a British occupation force from the wild and lawless South Carolina frontier.

The Glories of Grits

Mar 9, 2020
A sepia-toned photo of a breakfast featuring grits.
shashafatcat [CC BY 2.0] via Flickr

Grits. If you grew up in the South, you have likely eaten them. If you buy yours from the grocery store, though, you may never have really tasted the goodness of stone ground grits. 

Currier & Ives & Cameron, J. (ca. 1884) An exciting finish
Library of Congress

According to the South Carolina Encyclopedia, “’The Sport of Kings’ emerged in South Carolina as soon as colonists gained firm footing and began amassing property and wealth enough to emulate the lifestyles of England and the Caribbean.” Horse racing and horse culture became an important part of South Carolina’s economic life in the 20th century and continue to thrive. Dr. E. Gabrielle Kuenzli of the University of South Carolina joins Dr.

The scene outside Emanuel A.M.E. Church, Charleston, SC, on Sunday morning, July 21, 2015.
Linda O'Bryon/SCETV

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.

ballot box
Tumisu via Pixabay

Every four years presidential hopefuls and the national media travel the primary election circuit through Iowa and New Hampshire. Once the dust settles in these states, the nation's focus turns to South Carolina, the first primary in the delegate-rich South. Historically Iowa and New Hampshire have dominated the news because they are first, not because of their predictive ability or representativeness. In First in the South: Why South Carolina's Presidential Primary Matters (2020, USC Press), H. Gibbs Knotts and Jordan M.

Ted Lee and Matt Lee
Ovation

This week on Walter Edgar's Journal, Mat Lee and Ted Lee drop in to talk about their new book, Hotbox: Inside Catering, the Food World’s Riskiest Business (2019, Henry Holt). In Hotbox, the Lee brothers take on the competitive, wild world of high-end catering, exposing the secrets of a food business few home cooks or restaurant chefs ever experience. Known for their modern take on Southern cooking, the Lee brothers steeped themselves in the catering business for four years, learning the culture from the inside-out.

Stereograph showing an exterior view of Libby Prison, a Confederate military prison, Richmond, VA.
Civil War Photograph Collection (Library of Congress)

From battlefields, boxcars, and forgotten warehouses to notorious prison camps like Andersonville and Elmira, prisoners seemed to be everywhere during the American Civil War. Yet there is much we do not know about the soldiers and civilians whose very lives were in the hands of their enemies. On this week’s Journal, Dr. Edgar talks with Dr. Evan Kutzler about Living by Inches (2019. UNC Press), the first book to examine how imprisoned men in the Civil War perceived captivity through the basic building blocks of human experience--their five senses.

Unidentified African American soldier in uniform with marksmanship qualification badge and campaign hat, with cigarette holder in front of painted backdrop.
Library of Congress

Black South Carolinians, despite poverty and discrimination, began to organize and lay the basis for the civil rights movement that would occur after World War II. Dr. Bobby Donaldson of the University of South Carolina talks about the efforts by black South Carolinians to obtain justice and civil rights during a time of economic collapse and political change.

All Stations: Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 12 pm | News Stations: Sun, Feb 02, 4 pm

"The Reserve in Summer" from the series A Carolina Rice Plantation of the Fifties, ca. 1935, By Alice Ravenel Huger Smith (American, 1876 - 1958); Watercolor on paper;
Gift of the artist; 1937.009.0027027. Courtesy of the Gibbes Museum of Art

In the years after WWI, art, poetry, historic preservation, and literature flourished in Charleston, SC, and the Lowcountry during what has been called the Charleston Renaissance. Angela Mack, Executive Director & Chief Curator of the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, talks with Walter Edgar about the people and circumstances that came together to create this flowering of the beaux arts in the Holy City.

James F. Byrnes. During his ten years in the Senate, Byrnes championed President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal.
Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information

This week on Walter Edgar's Journal, our third program on South Carolina Between the World Wars, features Dr. Vernon Burton of Clemson University, in conversation with Walter Edgar about the politics of the period. During this time, State politics remained a politics very much based on friends and neighbors – white friends and neighbors, at least.

A mural entitled "Past and Present Agriculture and Industry of Colleton County" painted by Sheffield Kagy in 1938 as part of the Works Project Administration's public arts intitiative.
Jimmy Emerson [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0] via Flickr

When the stock market crashed in 1929, ushering in the Great Depression, South Carolina was already in dire financial straits. Cotton prices had plummeted, even before the boll weevil had decimated the crop. Years of non-sustainable practices in cotton farming had ruined thousands of acres of farmland. And, the textile industry had crashed.

Lewis Hinter with his family on Lady's Island off Beaufort, South Carolina, 1936
Library of Congress. Photo by Carl Mydans, U.S. Farm Security Administration

Following World War I, South Carolina’s economy collapsed. The post-World-War-I drop in demand for textiles, the subsequent collapse in cotton prices, the exhaustion of farmland through poor farming practices, and the decimation of cotton crops by the boll weevil hit South Carolinians hard. Then came the stock market crash on Black Thursday in 1929 and the nation’s plunge into the Great Depression. People were starving, businesses were failing, farms were being repossessed, and sharecroppers were squeezed between the need to grow their own food and their landlords’ demands.

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.

A portrait of Judge J. Waities Waring hangs in the courthouse that bears his name.
Victoria Hansen/SC Public Radio

Four years before the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education, a federal judge in Charleston hatched his secret plan to end segregation in America. Julius Waties Waring was perhaps the most unlikely civil rights hero in history. An eighth-generation Charlestonian, the son of a Confederate veteran and scion of a family of slave owners, Waring was appointed to the federal bench in the early days of World War II.

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