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“M” is for Maroons.

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“M” is for Maroons. Historically maroons have been described as “bands of fugitive slaves living independently from society.” Maroon communities in the West Indies and Latin America are well documented. Less well-known are those in what is now South Carolina. In 1711, settlers lived in such “great fear and terror” that the government launched raids on maroon settlements in lowcountry swamps. This cycle was repeated over and over with maroon threats and White retaliation. In 1786 a party of White militiamen clashed with a large maroon community living on an island in the Savannah River—resulting in the death and injury of many maroons and the abandonment of the settlement. Maroons continued to exist, however, and to fight for their freedom as witnessed by incidents in Ashepoo (1816), Williamsburg County (1819), Jacksonborough (1822), and Marion (1861).

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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.