SC From A to Z

From Hilton Head to Caesars Head, and from the Lords Proprietors to Hootie and the Blowfish, historian Walter Edgar mines the riches of the South Carolina Encyclopedia to bring you South Carolina from A to Z.

"S" is for Springdale

Oct 11, 2019
South Carolina From A to Z
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"S" is for Springdale (Lexington County; 2010 population: 2,635). One of the youngest towns in the Midlands, until World War II this was a farming community with daily life dominated by crops, weather, seasons, church activities, and classes at Long Branch School. In 1955, reacting to fears of annexation by nearby West Columbia and Cayce, residents informed state officials of tentative plans to establish the town of Sherwood. In the ensuing election, voters were asked to do three things: approve or reject incorporation; if approved, the form of government; and name the new town.

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"S" is for Spratt, John McKee, Jr. (b. 1942). Congressman, lawyer. Reared in York, Spratt graduated from Davidson College; was a Marshall Scholar at Oxford, and obtained his law degree from Yale. After military service he returned home to practice law. In 1982, he was elected to Congress from the 5th Congressional District—and was subsequently re-elected until 2010—serving in the House twenty-eight years. In Congress Spratt garnered seats on three key House committees:  Budget, Armed Services, and Government Reform and Oversight.

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"S" is for Spotted salamander. State amphibian. The spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculatum) became the official state amphibian in June 1999. The designation resulted from the interest and activity of children in the third-grade class at Woodlands Heights Elementary School in Spartanburg. Students conducted research and a letter-writing campaign to get the amphibian adopted, enlisting support from scientists, public officials, and other third-graders in the state.

"S" is for Spoleto

Oct 8, 2019
South Carolina From A to Z
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"S" is for Spoleto. In 1977, the composer Gian Carlo Menotti, backed by the National Endowment for the Arts, chose Charleston as the home for the American counterpart of his festival in Spoleto, Italy. He ran the festival himself. When he angrily pulled out in 1993, few thought that the festival would survive. It nearly did not. But by the turn of the twenty-first century, Spoleto was flourishing. It developed a substantial endowment and an even more substantial reputation for quality, variety, innovation, and, not least, for nurturing young artists.

"S" is for Spirituals

Oct 7, 2019
South Carolina From A to Z
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"S" is for Spirituals. With both sacred and secular influences, spirituals reflect the strong interplay between African American cultural traditions and those of European Americans. Scots-Irish in the backcountry and English and French settlers on the coast introduced a rich variety of church hymnody. Slaves and freedman introduced West African music styles. One of the primary focuses of both black and white spiritual music rests with an emphasis on group participation and improvisation.

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"S" is for Spillane, Frank Morrison (1918-2006). Author. Nicknamed “Mickey” by his Irish Catholic father, Spillane was born in Brooklyn. In 1940 he began work for Gunnies, Inc., a Manhattan comic-books producer. After service in World War II, he returned to New York and the comic-book business. Needing money for a house, he turned out his first novel, I, the Jury, (1947), in three weeks. The protagonist, Mike Hammer, a hard-drinking investigator fond of buxom women and vigilante justice became a household name. Spillane and his family moved to Murrells Inlet in 1953.

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"S" is for South Carolinians for Eisenhower. South Carolinians for Eisenhower was formed by Columbia attorney Douglas McKay to support the candidacy of Republican presidential nominee Dwight Eisenhower. Its ranks included anti-Truman Democrats, independents, and former Dixiecrats. It secured fifty thousand signatures on petitions to place on the ballot a slate of electors pledged to Eisenhower that was separate from the slate of the regular Republican organization.

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"S" is for Spencer, James Alexander (1850-1911). Legislator, educator. Spencer was born in Charleston, the son of free persons of color. He acquired a good education and, like his parents, was a practicing Roman Catholic. From 1874 to 1876 he represented Abbeville County in the South Carolina House of Representatives. Returning to Charleston, Spencer became the principal black Catholic in the city. He was resolute in his conviction that blacks and whites should be treated equally in the church.

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"S" is for South Caroliniana Library. The South Caroliniana Library building was completed in 1840 as the central library building for South Carolina College (later the University of South Carolina). It was the first freestanding college library building in the United States, predating those of Harvard (1841), Yale (1846) and Princeton (1873). By 1850 the library’s collections were considered among the best in the nation. After the Civil War, the library’s fortunes rose and fell through decades of unsteady funding.

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"S" is for South Carolina Wildlife Federation. Founded in 1931, the South Carolina Wildlife Federation (SCWF) was established by outdoor enthusiasts concerned with protecting and preserving the natural heritage of their state. In partnership with the National Wildlife Federation, the nonprofit organization strives to facilitate cooperative efforts of sportsmen and conservationists to advocate sound environmental stewardship and enhance wildlife habitats.

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"S" is for Spence, Floyd Davidson (1928-2001). Legislator, congressman. An all-state football player, Spence attended the University of South Carolina on a football scholarship. He later received his law degree from USC. In 1956 he was elected to the South Carolina House as a Democrat from Lexington County. He was one of the first legislators to switch to the Republican Party. In 1962 he lost a close race for a seat in Congress. In 1966 he was elected to the state Senate. \Four years later he was elected to Congress, representing the Second Congressional District.

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"S" is for South Carolina State University. The institution was founded in 1896 in Orangeburg as the Colored Normal, Industrial, Agricultural, and Mechanical College of South Carolina. The school was supported in part by funds provided by the Morrill Land-Grant Act. During its early years the college was devoted to training black youngsters to be teachers, farmers, homemakers, and skilled artisans. The college grew steadily despite hostility to its existence. Among its earliest graduates were biologist Ernest F. Just and Morehouse College president Benjamin E. Mays.

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"S" is for Spartanburg Pellagra Hospital. The pellagra hospital in Spartanburg was the nation’s first facility dedicated to discovering the cause of that baffling and serious disorder. In 1914, with a special congressional appropriation, the U.S. Public Health Service established the hospital primarily as a research facility. Dr. Joseph Goldberger, an epidemiologist, needed a clinic to conduct metabolic studies on pellagra to establish dietary deficiencies as the cause of the disease that had reached epidemic proportions.

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"S" is for South Carolina State Museum. The South Carolina State Museum opened in 1988—in the renovated Mount Vernon Mill in Columbia. In1973 the General Assembly formed the South Carolina State Museum Commission.

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"S" is for Spartanburg Methodist College. Spartanburg Methodist College is a four-year institution related to the United Methodist Church and located in western Spartanburg County. The college traces its roots to the Textile Industrial Institute (TII) founded in 1911 by David English Comak—pastor of Duncan Memorial Methodist Church in the Spartan Mill village. As a student, Comak had been inspired by Wofford College’s president about the plight of southern textile workers and determined to devote his life to a ministry among mill workers.

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