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"W" is for Wright, Elizabeth Evelyn (1872-1906)

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"W" is for Wright, Elizabeth Evelyn (1872-1906). A native Georgian, Wright enrolled as a night student at Tuskegee; she paid her tuition by working at the school during the day. Despite opposition from state and local education officials she tried to establish small industrial education schools in the lowcountry. In 1897, Wright relocated to Denmark and opened a school over a grocery store. She began raising money for what would become the Denmark Industrial Institute—modeled on her alma mater. Her most generous benefactor was Ralph Vorhees of New Jersey. He provided $5,000 for the purchase of 280 acres and the construction of a schoolhouse. In 1902, Elizabeth Evelyn Wright’s dream became a reality when Vorhees Industrial School enrolled its first classes of African American male and female students from elementary to high school ages.

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Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson 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.