Walter Edgar

Host

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 A.B. 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. In 1972 he joined the faculty of the History Department and in 1980 was named director of the Institute for Southern Studies. Dr. Edgar is the Claude Henry Neuffer Professor of Southern Studies and the George Washington Distinguished Professor of History. He retired from USC in 2012. He has written or edited numerous books about South Carolina and the American South, including South Carolina: A History, the first new history of the state in more than 60 years. With more than 37,000 copies in print and an audio edition, it has been a publishing phenomenon. Partisans & Redcoats: The Southern Conflict that Turned the Tide of the American Revolution is in its fourth printing. He is also the editor of the South Carolina Encyclopedia.

Ways to Connect

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"P" is for Port Royal Island, Battle of (February 3, 1779). The Battle of Port Royal Island was part of a larger campaign designed by the British to cover their operations against Augusta, Georgia. On February 2, 1779—while British units were marching toward Augusta, a small British fleet approached Port Royal. The approach of the warships led the Americans to destroy Fort Lyttleton at Beaufort. The enemy marched through the town and up the Broad River. They found Port Royal Ferry well defended and decided to return to their ships.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"P" is for Port Royal Experiment. The Port Royal Experiment was an early humanitarian effort to prepare former slaves of the South Carolina Sea Islands for inclusion as free citizens in American public life. The Experiment was made possible by the U.S. Navy’ conquest of the Sea Islands in November 1861. The conquest was so swift that Beaufort District planters fled and abandoned nearly ten thousand slaves on island plantations. A partnership was established between the federal government and various philanthropic agencies.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"R" is for Russell, Donald Stewart (1906-1998). University President, governor, U.S. senator, jurist. Russell practiced law in Spartanburg with James F. Byrnes. As Byrnes’ protégé, he worked in the White House during World War II. In 1950 Russell was named president of the University of South Carolina where his administration is remembered as one of the most successful in the school’s history. In 1962 he was elected governor. When Senator Olin D. Johnston died in 1965, Russell resigned as governor and was appointed to the U.S. Senate until a special election could be held.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"R" is for Rutledge, John (ca. 1739-1800). Lawyer, jurist, governor. After studying at the Middle Temple in London, Rutledge was admitted to the Charleston bar in 1761 and quickly became one of the colony’s most successful attorneys. He was one of the leaders in the Commons House from 1761 to 1775. He was a delegate to the Stamp Act Congress and the First and Second Continental Congresses. He was elected governor in 1779. When the British overran South Carolina in 1780, he escaped Charleston and functioned as a one-man government in exile.

Peace Voices

Apr 16, 2018
Glenis Redmond
Peace Center

Peace Voices is a spoken word outreach program of Greenville's Peace Center that uses poetry as a vehicle to tell unique, personal stories. Participants engage in master classes with Peace Center Poet-in-Residence Glenis Redmond, both at the Peace Center and in the community.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"R" is for Rutledge, Edward (1749-1800). Lawyer, governor. Rutledge studied law at the Middle Temple in London. He was admitted to the bar in 1773. One of his first cases involved a successful habeas corpus petition that freed a printer jailed for contempt by the Royal Council. The reputation he gained in this politically charged case led to his election to the Continental Congress in 1774--where in 1776, he became the youngest signer of the Declaration of Independence. Returning to Charleston he was a member of the General Assembly and a captain in the Charleston Artillery.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"R" is for Rutledge, Archibald (1883-1973). Poet, writer. Rutledge grew up on Hampton plantation in Georgetown County. Graduating from Porter Military Academy in Charleston, he continued his education at Union College. For nearly thirty-two years Rutledge headed the English department at Mercersburg Academy, a college preparatory school in Pennsylvania. He began publishing poetry in 1907, but did not earn recognition until 1918, when his memoir of youth, Tom and I on the Old Plantation, was published.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"S" is for Slave badges. Slave badges served as the physical proof required to demonstrate the legal status of slaves hired out by their masters. Laws controlling such hiring began early, and badges or “tickets” were mentioned by 1751; wearing them was mandated by 1764. In 1783, with its incorporation, Charleston immediately passed badge laws. Although other cities had similar laws, only Charleston badges have survived. By 1806 badges were valid for a calendar year and were sold at varying fees, in specific categories: mechanics, fruiterers (hucksters), fishers, porters, and servants.

"S" is for 6-0-1 Law

Apr 10, 2018
South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"S" is for 6-0-1 Law (1924). In his 1925 inaugural address, Governor Thomas McLeod proclaimed the 6-0-1 Law to be “the most progressive step…South Carolina has taken on educational lines since the establishment of the public school system.” In essence the law guaranteed at least a seven-month school term for all white children. Additionally, it shifted the financial responsibility away from local districts, which often lacked resources to the state. The state paid teacher salaries for six months (“6”) provided that local school districts paid for one month (“1”).

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"S" is for Sisters of Charity of Our Lady of Mercy. In 1829, Catholic Bishop John England founded the Sister of Charity of Our Lady of Mercy in Charleston—using the Sisters of Charity in Emmitsburg, Maryland, as a model for the new religious community. By the 1840s the sisters operated an orphanage, an academy, and a free school for girls, and a school for free children of color. They later established St. Francis Xavier Hospital in Charleston and Divine Savior Hospital in York.

Dr. Barbara Bellows
LSU Press

Tracing the intersecting lives of a Confederate plantation owner and a free black Union soldier, Barbara L. Bellows’ Two Charlestonians at War (Louisiana State University Press, 2018) offers a poignant allegory of the fraught, interdependent relationship between wartime enemies in the Civil War South: Captain Thomas Pickney, a Confederate prisoner of war; and Sergeant Joseph Humphries Barquet, a Charleston-born free person of color and prison guard.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

“R” is for Russell’s Magazine (1857-1860). Russell’s Magazine was the last of the southern antebellum literary magazines and arguably the best. It was the magazine for the professional middle class—doctors, lawyers, and college faculty. Paul Hamilton Hayne was the journal’s editor. Hayne promised to publish “undiscovered genius” in the South because northern editors were reluctant to publish southern writers. The only undiscovered genius, however, out to be Henry Timrod.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

“P” is for Port Royal, Battle of (November 7, 1861). On November 7th a Union naval squadron including seventeen warships and thirty-five transports (with 1,300 soldiers aboard) entered Port Royal Sound. The warships bombarded Fort Walker on Hilton Head and Fort Beauregard on Bay Point. After five hours of fighting, the Confederates evacuated the forts and fled inland—abandoning Beaufort and the Sea Islands. The Union suffered eight killed and twenty-three wounded; Confederate losses were eleven killed and sixty-one wounded.

"P" is for Port Royal

Apr 4, 2018
South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"P" is for Port Royal (Beaufort County; population 3,950). In 1869 Stephen Caldwell Miller began construction of the Port Royal Railroad between Augusta, Georgia, and Battery Point on the southern end of Port Royal Island. The town, railroad, and harbor facilities followed and Port Royal was incorporated in 1874. The town soon surpassed Beaufort in both shipping and commercial activities. Nearby phosphate deposits brought a boom and regular railroad connections with inland cities. Passenger ship service was established to New York, Liverpool, and Bremen.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

“M” is for Mill Schools. Textile mill executives surrounded their mills with villages and most provided schools to educate the children of mill workers. The mill school was a reflection of the individual community and run with little interference or oversight by the state. Prior to South Carolina’s compulsory attendance law, children as young as nine went top work in the mills, depending on the family’s preference or financial circumstances. One of the most audacious examples of South Carolina’s Progressive movement was the creation of a high school in Greenville.

Dr. William Dufford
Courtesy of USC Press

Immortalized in the writings of his most famous student, best-selling author Pat Conroy, veteran education administrator William E. Dufford has led an the life of a stalwart champion for social justice and equal access for all to the empowerment of a good public education. In My Tour Through the Asylum: A Southern Integrationist's Memoir (USC Press, 2017), Dufford and his collaborators, Aïda Rogers and Salley McInerney, recount the possibilities that unfold when people work through their differences toward a common good.

"M" is for Militia

Apr 2, 2018
South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

“M” is for Militia. South Carolina’s early settlers brought with them the traditional English concept of a militia, the idea that every citizen had a duty to assist in the defense of the community. A 1671 ordinance required all men (sixteen to sixty) to serve in the militia and provide their own weapons. The Militia act of 1792 required all white males (eighteen to forty-five) to serve and supply their weapons and ammunition. The militia served primarily as a source of manpower for the regular patrols used to enforce the laws on slave activity.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

“M” is for Military Education. Since the antebellum period, southerners have regarded military education as an excellent way to instill self-discipline, integrity, patriotism, moral virtue, and a sense of civic duty in youths, particularly young men. The South Carolina Military Academy was founded in 1842 with two branches: Arsenal Academy in Columbia that evolved into a prep school and the Citadel in Charleston as a college. When Clemson Agricultural College opened in 1893, it instituted a military program.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

“L” is for Lynch, Patrick Nelson (1817-1882). Clergyman, diplomat. Lynch was born in Ireland. His family immigrated to South Carolina in 1819 and settled in Cheraw. Bishop John England educated Lynch in his boys’ academy in Charleston and then sent him to Rome to complete his studies for the priesthood. Returning home, he was rector of St. Mary’s, Charleston and editor of The United States Catholic Miscellany. In 1858, he was consecrated the third bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

“H” is for Hopsewee Plantation (Georgetown County). Hopsewee Plantation is best known as the birthplace and boyhood home of Thomas Lynch, Jr., a signer of the Declaration of Independence. It is located south of Georgetown at the point where U.S. Highway 17 crosses the north branch of the Santee River. This was also the site of the main colonial thoroughfare running north and south, the “King’s Highway.” In the 1740s, Thomas Lynch, Sr., built the house that still stands at Hopsewee.

Trowel at an archaeological dig.
HeritageDaily [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

(Originally broadcast 12/01/2017) - In Charleston: An Archaeology of Life in a Coastal Community (2016, University Press of Florida), Martha Zierden, Curator of Historical Archaeology at The Charleston Museum; and, Dr. Betsy Reitz, University of Georgia Athens, weave archaeology and history to illuminate this vibrant, densely packed Atlantic port city. They detail the residential, commercial, and public life of the city, the ruins of taverns, markets, and townhouses, including those of Thomas Heyward, shipping merchant Nathaniel Russell, and William Aiken.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"H" is for Hoppin’ John. Hoppin’ John is a pilaf made with beans and rice. The recipe came directly to America from West Africa and is typical of the one-pot cooking of the South Carolina lowcountry. As the recipe moved inland, it became the traditional dish for good luck on New Year’s Day throughout the South. The first written appearance of the recipe in English was in Sarah Rutledge’s The Carolina Housewife, or House and Home, by a Lady of Charleston.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"G" is for Greer, Bernard Eugene (b. 1948). Author. While working as a prison guard at Columbia's notorious Central Correctional Institution, Greer took creative writing classes at USC and later earned an MA in creative writing from Hollins College. He then worked on a fishing boat in Maine. During a long Maine winter, he began to forge his experiences as a prison guard into Slammer, his first novel. It was a critical and popular success.

"D" is for Dispensary

Mar 22, 2018
South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"D" is for Dispensary. In 1892 South Carolina created the Dispensary, a liquor monopoly. In the early 1890s the state was poised to adopt statewide prohibition. Governor Benjamin Tillman, however, pressured the legislature to pass instead his proposal for state liquor monopoly legislation. Basing his idea on European models, Tillman portrayed the dispensary as a compromise between the private sale of liquor prohibition that would promote temperance and clean up politics. Counties could choose either to have a dispensary or prohibition.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"C" is for Catawba Pottery. Among the Catawba Indians in present-day York County, an unbroken chain of pottery production has helped preserve a cultural identity that was nearly lost after European settlement. Traditionally, women made pottery; but when the population fell to less than a hundred  in1849, everybody had to make pottery. This activity has helped maintain community traditions and is now one of the purest folk art forms in the United States. Production methods have not changed much since around 600 C.E. Pots are hand built using traditional coiling techniques.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"B" is for Beech Island [Aiken County; population 4,834]. Named for the beech trees growing in the wetlands of the nearby Savannah River swamp—and possibly a dead river island—Beech Island began in the 1680s as the Indian trading post, Savano Town. In 1716, the British constructed Fort Moore at Savano Town to protect the upcountry trade routes and to guard the western entrance to the colony. With the creation of New Windsor Township, offers of free land attracted European immigrants. Among them were a group of Swiss settlers recruited by John Tobler.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"A" is for Archdale, John [1642-1717]. Proprietor. Governor. In 1664 Archdale was in New England. In 1681 he purchased a share of the Carolina Proprietorship in trust for his son Thomas Archdale. From 1683 to 1686 he served as Governor of North Carolina in the absence of Seth Sothel. In August 1694 his fellow proprietors chose him to be governor of the Carolinas and he arrived in Charleston the following year. He had been given broad discretion to settle the factionalism that had made governing South Carolina difficult.

The Fireproof Building, designed by Robert Mills (1822-27), home of the South Carolina Historical Society, Charleston, SC.
Spencer Means [CC BY-SA 2.0] via Flickr

The South Carolina Historical Society’s headquarters in downtown Charleston, SC, the historic "Fireproof Building," is undergoing a multi-million dollar renovation, with plans to re-open in summer 2018. While continuing to be the headquarters for the SC Historical Society, the building will also house a museum of South Carolina history.

USC/Thomas Cooper Library

(Originally broadcast 12/08/17) - In spite of a growing movement for journalistic neutrality in reporting the news of the 20th century, journalists enlisted on both sides of the mid-century struggle for civil rights. Indeed, against all odds, the seeds of social change found purchase in South Carolina with newspaperman John McCray and his allies at the Lighthouse and Informer, who challenged readers to "rebel and fight"--to reject the "slavery of thought and action" and become "progressive fighters" for equality.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"W" is for Wannamaker, John Edward [1851-1935]. Agriculturalist. Civic Leader. Educated at home by private tutors, Wannamaker graduated from Wofford in 1872. After college, he assumed management of his father's farming interests. Keenly interested in agricultural improvement, he applied his considerable resources to agrarian research and innovation. In the 1930s he experimented with soybeans, seeking to develop a seed stock suitable to South Carolina soils and climate.

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