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"D" is for "Dr. Buzzard"

South Carolina from A to Z logo

"D" is for "Dr. Buzzard."  The title "Dr. Buzzard" has been claimed by numerous root workers [practitioners of West African-derived folk medicine and magic, commonly referred to as voodoo, hoodoo, or conjuring] along the South Carolina and Georgia coasts. The best-known, if not original Dr. Buzzard, was Stephany Robinson from St. Helena Island who began practicing root work in the early 1900s. Until his death in 1947, he had a local as well as national clientele. According to legend, Robinson’s father was a "witch doctor" who had been brought directly—and illegally--to St. Helena from West Africa prior to 1860. He was said to have wielded enormous spiritual power which he passed on to his son. After Robinson’s death other root workers apparently borrowed the name of Dr. Buzzard, hoping to cash in on Robinson’s notoriety.

Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar receivedhisA.B.degreefromDavidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.