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“H” is for Harleston, Edwin Augustus (1882-1931)

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“H” is for Harleston, Edwin Augustus (1882-1931). Artist, civil rights leader, businessman. A native Charlestonian, Harleston was a graduate of Avery Normal Institute and Atlanta University. From 1906-1912, he studied art in Boston. Harleston was a founding member of the Charleston chapter of the NAACP and served as its first president. In 1919 he organized a successful campaign and petition drive to allow Black teachers to teach in Charleston’s Black public schools. The subject of much of his early artwork was family, friends, and daily life. “The Charleston Shrimp Man” and “The Honey Man” evoked the rich African American cultural heritage of the lowcountry. By the 1920s Edwin Augustus Harleston had established a solid reputation as a portrait artist. His strong portraits featured prominent businessmen, civic leaders, and their families—most of whom were African American.

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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.