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Walter Edgar's Journal
Walter Edgar's Journal
News & Music Stations: Fri, 12-1 pm; Sat, 7 - 8 am | News & Talk Stations: Fri, 12-1 pm; Sun, 4-5 pm

Walter Edgar's Journal delves into the arts, culture, history of South Carolina and the American South.

In 2021, Walter Edgar's Journal celebrates 21 years on South Carolina Public Radio. As part of the celebration, we delved into the archive to compile a selection of encores of notable episodes, curated by Dr. Edgar.

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DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed on Walter Edgar's Journal are not necessarily those of South Carolina Public Radio.

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Latest Episodes
  • The signs are there: our coastal cities are increasingly susceptible to flooding as the climate changes. Charleston, South Carolina, is no exception, and is one of the American cities most vulnerable to rising sea levels. Lowcountry at High Tide: A History of Flooding, Drainage, and Reclamation in Charleston, South Carolina (USC Press, 2010) is the first book to deal with the topographic evolution of Charleston, its history of flooding from the seventeenth century to the present, and the efforts made to keep its populace high and dry, as well as safe and healthy.Author Christina Rae Butler talks with Walter Edgar about talk about Charleston’s topographic history and the challenges it faces in the 21st century.
  • When the 11- and 12-year-olds on the Cannon Street YMCA all-star team registered for a baseball tournament in Charleston, South Carolina, in July 1955, it put the team and the forces of integration on a collision. White teams refused to take the field with the Cannon Street all-stars, the first Black Little League team in South Carolina.The Cannon Street team won two tournaments by forfeit. If they won the regional tournament in Rome, Georgia, they would have advanced to the Little League World Series. But Little League officials ruled the team ineligible to play in the tournament because they had advanced by winning on forfeit and not on the field, denying the boys their dream. This became a national story for a few weeks but then faded and disappeared altogether as Americans read of other civil rights stories, including the horrific killing of 14-year-old Emmett Till.Chris Lamb, author of The 1955 Cannon Street YMCA All-Stars and Little League Baseball’s Civil War (2022, University of Nebraska Press), and John Rivers, who played shortstop on the All-Stars, join Walter Edgar to tell the story of the Cannon Street all-stars.
  • November 11th is currently celebrated as Veteran’s Day in the United States. But it was first known here, as it still is around the world, as Armistice Day – the day in 1918 when Germany and its allies signed the armistice to end World War I. Armistice Day is still a very important day of commemoration throughout Europe.In 2014, the 100th anniversary of the start of The Great War, Paul MacKenzie, the Caroline McKissick Dial Professor of History at USC, an expert on the war, joined us to look back on the beginning of The War to End All Wars.
  • In 1985, Mark Bryan heard Darius Rucker singing in a dorm shower at the University of South Carolina and asked him to form a band. For the next eight years, Hootie & the Blowfish—completed by bassist Dean Felber and drummer Soni Sonefeld—played every frat house, roadhouse, and rock club in the mid-Atlantic and Southeast, becoming one of the biggest independent acts in the region.In Only Wanna Be with You (2022, USC Press), Tim Sommer, the ultimate insider who signed Hootie to Atlantic Records, pulls back the curtain on a band that defied record-industry odds to break into the mainstream by playing hacky sack music in the age of grunge.He chronicles the band's indie days; the chart-topping success—and near-cancelation—of their major-label debut, cracked rear view; the year of Hootie (1995) when the album reached no. 1, the "Only Wanna Be with You" music video collaboration with ESPN's SportsCenter became a sensation, and the band inspired a plotline on the TV show Friends; the lean years from the late 1990s through the early 2000s; Darius Rucker's history-making rise in country music; and one of the most remarkable comeback stories of the century.Tim Sommer shares the Hootie story with Walter Edgar.
  • With his book, Crécy: Battle of Five Kings (2022, Osprey), Michael Livingston, professor of medieval history at The Citadel, has authored a remarkable new study on the Battle of Crécy, in which the outnumbered English under King Edward III won a decisive victory over the French and changed the course of the Hundred Years War.The Battle of Crécy in 1346 is one of the most famous and widely studied military engagements in history. The repercussions of this battle, in which forces led by England’s King Edward III decisively defeated a far larger French army, were felt for hundreds of years, and the exploits of those fighting reached legendary status. Yet new, groundbreaking research by Michael Livingston has shown that nearly everything that has been written about this dramatic event may be wrong.Michael Livingston talks with Walter Edgar about how he has used archived manuscripts, satellite technologies and traditional fieldwork to reconstruct this important conflict, including the unlocking of what was arguably the battle’s greatest secret: the location of the now-quiet fields where so many thousands died.
  • Chris Smith’s first encounter with okra was of the worst kind: slimy fried okra at a greasy-spoon diner.Despite that dismal introduction, Smith developed a fascination with okra, and as he researched the plant and began to experiment with it in his own kitchen, he discovered an amazing range of delicious ways to cook and eat it, along with ingenious and surprising ways to process the plant from tip-to-tail: pods, leaves, flowers, seeds, and stalks. Smith talked okra with chefs, food historians, university researchers, farmers, homesteaders, and gardeners. The summation of his experimentation and research comes together in The Whole Okra: A Seed to Stem Celebration (2019, Chelsea Green), a lighthearted but information-rich collection of okra history, lore, recipes, craft projects, growing advice, and more.The Whole Okra includes classic recipes such as fried okra pods as well as unexpected delights including okra seed pancakes and okra flower vodka. Some of the South’s best-known chefs shared okra recipes with Smith: Okra Soup by culinary historian Michael Twitty, Limpin’ Susan by chef BJ Dennis, Bhindi Masala by chef Meherwan Irani, and Okra Fries by chef Vivian Howard.Chris joins Walter Edgar for a conversation about all things okra.
  • Daniel Harrison, author of Live at Jackson Station: Music, Community, and Tragedy in a Southern Blues Bar (2021, USC Press), talks with Walter Edgar about how Jackson Station, in the little upstate town of Hodges, SC, emerged as a cultural kaleidoscope that served as an oasis of tolerance and diversity in a time and place that often suffered from undercurrents of bigotry and violence—an uneasy coexistence of incongruent forces that have long permeated southern life and culture.
  • In their new book, Taste the State: South Carolina's Signature Foods, Recipes, and Their Stories (2021, USC Press), authors Kevin Mitchell and David S. Shields present the cultural histories of native ingredients and showcase the evolution of the dishes and the variety of preparations that have emerged. They talk with Walter Edgar about true Carolina cooking in all of its cultural depth, historical vividness, and sumptuous splendor—from the plain home cooking of sweet potato pone to Lady Baltimore cake worthy of a Charleston society banquet.
  • Early in the twentieth century, for-profit companies such as Duke Power and South Carolina Electric and Gas brought electricity to populous cities and towns across South Carolina, while rural areas remained in the dark. It was not until the advent of publicly owned electric cooperatives in the 1930s that the South Carolina countryside was gradually introduced to the conveniences of life with electricity. Today, electric cooperatives serve more than a quarter of South Carolina's citizens and more than seventy percent of the state's land area.In his book, Empowering Communities: How Electric Cooperatives Transformed Rural South Carolina (USC Press, 2022), Dr. Lacy K. Ford and co-author Jared Bailey tell the story of the rise of "public" power – electricity serviced by member-owned cooperatives and sanctioned by federal and state legislation. It is a complicated saga, encompassing politics, law, finance, and rural economic development, of how the cooperatives helped bring fundamental and transformational change to the lives of rural people in South Carolina, from light to broadband.Ford talks with Dr. Edgar about how rural electrification , combined with the paving of roads, and funding of public schools, helped transform bring the Palmetto State into the modern world.
  • In 2022, USC Press published Brookgreen Gardens: Ever Changing. Simply Amazing. More than just a beautiful coffee table book highlighting the art and fauna of Brookgreen, the volume tells the story of the creation and growth of Brookgreen Gardens, as well as stories of the peoples who lived on and worked the land in the past.Walter Edgar talks with President and CEO Page Kiniry and Ron Daise, VP of Creative Education about the history and mission of Brookgreen Gardens.