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"Y'all" may be the most common word associated with the Southern accent.  Several varieties can be found in South Carolina, say experts.  (Sign at Table Rock State Park near Pickens, SC.)
Stef [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0] via Flickr

In South Carolina, one would naturally expect to hear what could be called a classic Southern accent spoken by its residents.  But not every South Carolinian sounds the same, according to linguist Paul Reed, who earned his PhD in the study at the University of South Carolina. 

Protecting Gullah Culture

Sep 27, 2019
"Our Love" Gullah painting
Victoria Smalls/ artist

Nearly two hours south of Charleston, over Beaufort's Woods Memorial Bridge, South Carolina's Sea Islands stretch out adorned with palms trees and pines, and grassy marshes that glitter at twilight.

The area has long been home to the direct descendants of slaves known as Gullah Geechee.  Once freed, they remained isolated on the islands, living off the land and holding on to their African traditions and language. 

The South Carolina Senate Chamber
Russ McKinney/SC Public Radio

The next session of the S.C. General Assembly doesn’t convene until January, but Republicans in the State Senate are already working to try and pass a bill that essentially would prohibit abortions in the state.  It’s known as the Fetal Heartbeat Bill.

It won easy passage in the House of Representatives earlier this  year, and Republican Governor Henry McMaster has said if the bill passes he’ll sign it into law.  Because the bill is expected to have a harder time passing in the Senate its' backers are already at work trying to give it a head start in next year’s session.

Charleston's Emergency Management Director Shannon Scaff preparing for a  live interview with The Weather Channel
Victoria Hansen/SC Public Radio

There's a brief lull in the heavy rain that's hit Charleston as Hurricane Dorian lingers off the coast.  The city's Emergency Managment Director Shannon Scaff takes a deep breath. 

He's about to interview live, nationally with The Weather Channel.  He's also relieved.  The storm isn't over yet and already he knows it could have been much worse.

"We got lucky with the tides," he tells the reporter. "The storm surge wasn’t as bad as what was forecasted originally."

Scott Morgan / South Carolina Public Radio

The City of Chester is in crisis. Shootings are on the rise and so are shooting-related deaths. So far this year, police have taken more than 130 calls about shots being fired. That’s 20 more than all of last year.

Since April there have been almost a dozen confirmed shootings, including the recent deaths of 36-year-old Andrew Johnson and the drive-by killing of 14-year-old Jada Jones. Thirty homes, vehicles, and people have been hit by gunfire in Chester so far in 2019. That number was 25 for all of 2018.

Those numbers might not sound like much, but in a city of less than 5,500 people, statistics like these get attention.

David Ball (second from left) and his band.
Courtesy of the artist

Country music has made and broken careers for close to a century now.  David Ball of Spartanburg is one of the survivors, enjoying a long career in the field.  In high school he joined the legendary acoustic trio Uncle Walt's Band, playing a blend of bluegrass, blues, swing and folk, "and then that of course led me into Jimmie Rodgers, the Carter Family," he recalls of his introduction to country. 

Columbia Native's Country Music Dream Lasts a Lifetime

Sep 12, 2019
Bemo Prince, at the mic, with some of his band members.
Courtesy of the artist

Country music finds fans in a variety of ways, most often by either hearing the music on the radio or seeing country artists play live.  That's the way Bemo Prince of Columbia became a country music fan.  "My daddy took me to hear...Snuffy Jenkins and the Hired Hands, and I was hooked."

Scott Morgan / South Carolina Public Radio

If you’re the type who likes to say you knew someone back in the day, you might want to remember the name Kamron Venable.

Scott Morgan / South Carolina Public Radio

The Rock Hill Boxing Club is the kind of old school gym real boxers come out of – Golden Glove contenders, burgeoning pros, Olympic hopefuls …. There’s nothing corporate or pretentious about this place. It’s decorated with spray paint and duct tape-wrapped bags; it’s beastly hot; it’s packed with young men looking to make a name in the ring.

But look past the trappings of a small-city boxing gym and you’ll see what the Rock Hill Boxing Club really is for the people who train here – a community. Dare one say a family.

Houses boarded up along the Battery in downtown Charleston
Victoria Hansen

Charleston city officials say they're ready for whatever Hurricane Dorian brings our way.  But what about the people who decided to stay? 

Many were still checking out the winds and waves along the historic city's battery wall late Wednesday, just hours before the storm's anticpated arrival.  An evacuation order for the entire coast has been in place since Monday.

“I want Charleston to be a ghost town," said Mayor John Tecklenburg Wednesday afternoon, as he tried again to get people to leave.

Janie L. Mines entered the U.S. Naval Academy with the first group of women admitted in 1976. She was the lone black woman on campus.
Courtesy of Janie L. Mines

Until the fall of 1976, only men were admitted to the U.S. Naval Academy. But that year, the Navy opened 80 spaces for women, who would be the first to graduate in, fittingly, the Class of 1980.

Among these women was Janie Mines, who grew up in Aiken and today lives in Fort Mill. She was also the only black woman at Annapolis her first year – a set of experiences she chronicles in her 2019 autobiography, No Coincidences.

It has been a half-century since nearly a half-million young people descended upon a farm in Bethel, NY for "three days of peace and music" - a one-word summation of the late-1960s counterculture: Woodstock.
Ric Manning [CC BY 3.0] Wikimedia Commons

50 years ago, on Aug. 15, 1969, nearly half a million young people gathered on Max Yasgur's farm in Bethel, New York for "Three Days of Peace and Music" - the legendary Woodstock Music and Art Fair.  Music from artists such as Richie Havens, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, the Who, John Sebastian  and Santana mixed with drugs, rain and mud to produce a sometimes uncontrolled, but famously peaceful weekend.  

Pinky Funderburk's Legion of Honor medal, as presented by U.S. Rep. Ralph Norman (R-5th) in Rock Hill on Aug. 2.
Scott Morgan/SC Public Radio

Tom Funderburk is 94 years old. He's one of the last surviving B-17 pilots who flew in World War II.

He goes by the nickname 'Pinky,' because of his once-red hair.

He lives in Rock Hill with his 8-year-old cockatiel, Pretty Boy.

He has more military medals than people have toes; and one of them is the Légion d'honneur -- the Legion of Honor, the highest order of merit bestowed by the government of France. 

Law enforcement on campus, active shooter training for faculty and an increase in security during athletic events are some of the changes Columbia's Cardinal Newman high school promised during a town hall meeting Thursday evening. The school is dealing with the aftermath a 16-year-old former student’s racist video and threats to “shoot up” the school.

In a statement, Principal Rob Loia called the videos “evil, disgusting and wrong,” he also said that this is a “critical moment for the school.”

Leading up to the 2020 election, South Carolina Lede is keeping you up to speed on what the candidates are saying on the campaign trail in the Palmetto State with these "Trail Bites" mini-episodes.

On this edition for the week of August 8, 2019, host Gavin Jackson takes us to a campaign stop this week by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC.

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