Walter Edgar's Journal

News & Music Stations: Fri, 12-1 pm; Sat, 7 - 8 am | News & Talk Stations: Fri, 12-1 pm; 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.

Dr. J. Brent Morris
USC Beaufort

In Yes, Lord, I Know the Road: A Documentary History of African Americans in South Carolina, 1526 – 2008 (2017, USC Press) Dr. J. Brent Morris brings together a wide variety of annotated primary-source documents to highlight the significant people, events, social and political movements, and ideas that have shaped black life in South Carolina and beyond.

"The attack on Fort Moultrie, Sullivan's Island, South Carolina, on June 28, 1776." Charleston eventually fell to the British, oin May of 1780.
N.Y. Public Library (public domain); Artist: Chapin, John Reuben (1823-1894)

In the months following the May 1780 capture of Charleston, South Carolina, by combined British and loyalist forces, British soldiers arrested sixty-three paroled American prisoners and transported them to the borderland town of St. Augustine, East Florida—territory under British control since the French and Indian War.

About 200 members of the Ku Klux Klan gather on the State House grounds on December 7, 1957 to form a "human cross" and march down Main Street. The KKK event followed dynamitings of two homes in Gaffney and attacks on two individuals.
of The State Newspaper Photograph Archive, Richland Library, Columbia, SC

In her new book, Stories of Struggle: The Clash over Civil Rights in South Carolina (2020, USC Press), journalist Claudia Smith Brinson details the lynchings, beatings, cross burnings, and venomous hatred that black South Carolinians endured—as well as the astonishing courage, dignity, and compassion of those who risked their lives for equality.

Tim Conroy
Tim Conroy

Ed Madden, Columbia's Poet Laureate, writes that poet Tim Conroy “is a theologian of the best kind, a theologian of the ordinary.”

Detail of the title page of A History of Carolina presented to North Carolina in 1831 by James Madison. The book is now part of the collection of the N.C. Museum of History.
NC Dept of Natural and Cultural Resources

(Originally broadcast 03/29/19) - In 1700, a young man named John Lawson left London and landed in Charleston, South Carolina, hoping to make a name for himself. For reasons unknown, he soon undertook a two-month journey through the still-mysterious Carolina backcountry. His travels yielded A New Voyage to Carolina in 1709, one of the most significant early American travel narratives, rich with observations about the region's environment and Indigenous people.

Arthur Ravenell Jr. bridge in Charleston Harbor
Carrisa Rogers via Pixabay

For centuries residents of Charleston, SC, have made many attempts, both public and private, to manipulate the landscape of the low-lying peninsula on which Charleston sits, surrounded by wetlands, to maximize drainage, and thus buildable land and to facilitate sanitation.

St Nicholas Abbey, Saint Peter, Barbados
Pontificalibus [CC BY-SA 3.0] via Wikimedia Commons

It is hard to imagine what South Carolina would be today if not for the then-British colony of Barbados. From the settlement of this West Indian island in 1627 to the time of Carolina's settlement in 1670, Barbados changed from an uninhabited island to a Colony where land owners created small plantations using indentured laborers in the quest to find the most profitable cash crop and then to a mostly-clear-cut land that was planted with sugar cane, almost to the ocean's edge.

Country Music

Oct 5, 2020
Dwight Yoakam plays a Martin D-28 guitar. Yoakam is among the 76 of the 101 country music artists interviewed for the series who signed two Martin D-28 guitars.
Courtesy of Jared Ames

Since its first publication in 1968, Bill C. Malone’s Country Music USA has won universal acclaim as the definitive history of American country music. Starting with the music’s folk roots in the rural South, it traces country music from the early days of radio into the twenty-first century. In the 2019, fiftieth-anniversary edition, Malone, the featured historian in Ken Burns’ 2019 documentary on country music, revised every chapter to offer new information and fresh insights.

Detail from Art Studio, by Thereas Pollak.
The Johnson Collection

Spanning the decades between the late 1890s and early 1960s, The Johnson Collection’s new exhibition and its companion book, Central to Their Lives: Southern Women Artists in the Johnson Collection, examine the particularly complex challenges Southern women artists confronted in a traditionally conservative region during a period in which women’s social, cultural, and political roles were being redefined and reinterpreted.

Southern Women

Sep 21, 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.

Dr. Cleveland Sellers
sc.edu

(Originally broadcast 10/26/18) - In 1968 state troopers gunned down black students protesting the segregation of a South Carolina bowling alley, killing three and injuring 28. The Orangeburg Massacre was one of the most violent moments of the Southern civil rights movement, and only one person served prison time in its aftermath: a young black man by the name of Cleveland Sellers Jr. Many years later, the state would recognize that Sellers was a scapegoat in that college campus tragedy and would issue a full pardon.

St. Mary's Catholic Church, Charleston, SC
Courtesy of Fr. Gregory West

This year marks the 200th anniversary of the founding of the Diocese of Charleston by Pope Pius VII. This makes it the seventh oldest Roman Catholic diocese in the United States. At that time, the diocese comprised the states of Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. In spite of a ban on Catholicism in the Colonial era, it arrived in Carolina much earlier than 1820 via both colonists and enslaved persons.

The Glories of Grits

Aug 31, 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. 

The 369th Infantry Regiment served on the front lines for 191 days during World War I, longer than any other American unit. In that time, the Soldiers of the regiment, known as the "Harlem Hellfighters," never gave up any ground it captured.
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.\

- Originally broadcast 01/31/20 -

All Stations: Fri, Aug 28, 2020, 12 pm | News Stations: Sun, Aug 30, 4 pm

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.

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