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“D” is for Dent, Harry Shuler (1930-2007)

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“D” is for Dent, Harry Shuler (1930-2007). Political strategist, lay minister. Dent, a native of St. Matthews, joined Strom Thurmond’s Senate staff in 1955. Dent soon became his staff director and political confidant. He was a major influence in Thurmond’s switch to the Republican Party in 1964 and in shaping what became the Republican “Southern strategy,” a racial appeal to the segregationist inclinations of southern Whites. Dent served as chairman of the state Republican Party and had a key role in Richard Nixon’s successful 1968 presidential campaign. After the election he joined the White House staff as counsel to the president. In 1973 he returned to South Carolina, however, disillusioned by the deepening Watergate scandal. Harry Shuler Dent practiced law for several years while making the transition to a full-time commitment to an interdenominational lay ministry.

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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.