Walter Edgar


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

"V" is for Vesey, Denmark [ca. 1767-1822]. Slave, artisan, abolitionist. Vesey was probably born on the Danish island of St. Thomas. Captain Joseph Vesey who later established himself in Charleston as a ship chandler purchased him. Denmark worked in the chandlery until 1799 when he won a local lottery and purchased his freedom.  He set himself up as a carpenter and became a leader in the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Cover photo: A History of Beaufort County - Bridging the Sea Islands' Past and Present, 1893–2006
University of South Carolina Press

In the third volume of the history of Beaufort County, Lawrence S. Rowland and Stephen R. Wise conclude their five hundred–year chronicle of the legendary South Carolina Sea Islands. A History of Beaufort County - Bridging the Sea Islands' Past and Present, 1893–2006 (2016, USC Press) begins with the devastating Sea Island Hurricane of 1893, one of the worst natural disasters in American history.

"E" is for Ensore, Joshua Fulton.

"D" is for Doby, Lawrence Edward.

"C" is for Central, SC

Nov 30, 2016

"C" is for Central, SC.

"B" is for Bennett, Thomas, Jr.

Prof. Jon N. Hale
College of Charleston

Created in 1964 as part of the Mississippi Freedom Summer, the Mississippi Freedom Schools were launched by educators and activists to provide an alternative education for African American students that would facilitate student activism and participatory democracy. The schools, as Jon N.

"A" is for Ashwood Plantation.

"B" is for Brawley, Benjamin Griffith [1882-1939]. Educator, author, editor, clergyman. A native of Columbia, Brawley was a gifted and enthusiastic student—earning degrees form the University of Chicago and Harvard. In 1921 he was ordained a Baptist minister. Between 1902 and 1939, he taught English at various predominantly black colleges in the South and East—including Atlanta Baptist College [now Moorehouse], Shaw University in Raleigh, and Howard University in Washington.

"B" is for Brattonsville. Brattonsville is the site of a large eighteenth and nineteenth-century plantation in southern York County situated on the south fork of Fishing Creek. The settlement began in 1766 as the two hundred acre farm of Colonel William Bratton. John Simpson Bratton inherited the bulk of his father’s estate and constructed the large two-story Georgian mansion known as the Homestead. He converted his parents’ old log house into the Brattonsville Female Academy. His widow built a second large dwelling, Brick House.

"W" is for Workman, William Douglas, Jr. [1914-1990]. Journalist, author. After graduating from the Citadel, Workman became a reporter for the News and Courier. By the late 1950s, as a result of his reporting on governmental, political, and racial issues throughout the South; his syndicated columns; and his frequent appearances as a television commentator, Workman had statewide name recognition. In 1960, he published The Case for the South in which he asserted his views of the constitutionality and wisdom of maintaining racial segregation in the South.

Southern Provisions

Nov 21, 2016
Dr. David Shields

(Originally broadcast 01/22/16) -  Southern food is America’s quintessential cuisine. From creamy grits to simmering pots of beans and greens, we think we know how these classic foods should taste. Yet the southern food we eat today tastes almost nothing like the dishes our ancestors enjoyed because the varied crops and livestock that originally defined this cuisine have largely disappeared. Now, a growing movement of chefs and farmers is seeking to change that by recovering the rich flavor and diversity of southern food.

The Risen - Ron Rash

Nov 21, 2016

New York Times bestselling author Ron Rash demonstrates his superb narrative skills in this suspenseful and evocative tale of two brothers whose lives are altered irrevocably by the events of one long-ago summer—and one bewitching young woman—and the secrets that could destroy their lives.

"W" is for Woodward, Isaac, beating of [February 1946]. Woodward, a Winnsboro native, was discharged from the Army after four years of active duty. He was returning home from Camp Gordon, Georgia, when he got into an argument with the bus driver about needing a rest stop. When the bus reached Batesburg, the driver complained to local police. A scuffle ensued in which two officers beat Woodward with their nightsticks.

"D" is for Drovers

Nov 17, 2016

"D" is for Drovers. From around 1800 until the 1880s, livestock from Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and North Carolina were driven through Greenville County to the seaport at Charleston—destined for markets in the north and in the Caribbean. These drives were made possible by the completion of a road from Greenville County across the mountains into Knoxville, Tennessee in the late 1790s.

"B" is for Black River

Nov 16, 2016

"B" is for Black River. The Black River takes its name from its tea-colored waters. The river begins in the Sandhills of Lee County. It is joined by Rocky Bluff Swamp near Sumter. The Pocotaligo River flows into the Black between Manning and Kingstree.  In some places the river is swamp like, while in others it is swift moving with a sandy bottom. After travelling over 150 miles through four counties, the Black River becomes part of the Great Pee Dee River near Georgetown.

"C" is for the Charleston Mercury. Established in 1821 as a literary journal, the Charleston Mercury developed into one of the state’s most radical and combative newspapers. In 1823 Henry Laurens Pinckney purchased the newspaper and transformed it into a partisan organ for John C. Calhoun. By 1830, the Mercury had become a strong proponent of nullification.

"W" is for Williamson’s Plantation, Battle of [July 12, 1780]. After the fall of Charleston, New Acquisition District [present-day York County] was reputedly the only district where no one took the King’s protection. Patriot raids led to a detachment of the British Legion, under the command of Captain Christian Huck, being sent to punish the rebels.

"S" is for Segregation

Nov 11, 2016

"S" is for Segregation.  Segregation, the residential, political, and social isolation of African Americans, by law and custom was accomplished in South Carolina in the last quarter of the 19th century. The 1895 constitution effectively disenfranchised most black Carolinians. Jim Crow laws were speedily enacted after the US Supreme Court’s decision in Plessy v. Ferguson that established the principle of separate but equal. For black Carolinians, the experience of life in a segregated society was often traumatic. A wide variety of laws set African Americans apart from whites.

"P" is for Pike, John Martin [1840-1932]. Clergyman, editor, publisher. A Canadian and ordained Methodist clergyman, Pike was invited to preach at Columbia’s Washington Street Methodist Church. He moved to the state and served churches in in Lynchburg, Sumter, Summerville, and Charleston. In 1893 he became editor of a periodical, The Way of Faith.

"M" is for McNair, Robert Evander [1923-2007]. Attorney, legislator, governor. After serving in the Pacific theater during World War II, McNair graduated from USC and moved to Allendale—the hometown of his wife, Josephine. From 1951 until 1963 he represented Allendale County in the South Carolina House of Representatives. In 1962 he was elected lieutenant governor. When Governor Donald Russell resigned in April 1965, McNair became governor. He was elected to a full term in 1966.

Soldier's comrades watching him as he sleeps, Thievpal, France, during World War I.
National Library of Scotland

 (Originally broadcast 11-11-14) Today's episode is an encore broadcast of a program that air in 2014, the 100th year since the start of World War I.

Veterans day, celebrated in the U.S. on November 11, was once known here, as it still is in Europe, as Armistice Day. It marked the end of "The War to End All Wars"  in 1918.

Dr. S. Paul Mackenzie, a professor of History at the University of South Carolina, and expert on the Great War, talks with Dr. Edgar about the causes and the impact of the war on the countries that fought it.

"L" is for Loggerhead Turtle. State Reptile. The loggerhead turtle, a threatened species, is one of the world’s eight living species of turtles--and evolved some sixty-five to seventy million years ago. At birth, hatchlings are about two inches long. Adults can weight between 200 and250 pounds. The animal is reddish brown and yellow and has a distinctive large head—the source of its name--with powerful jaws enabling it to crush clams, crustaceans, and other food. Its great size and hard shell protect adult turtles from most predators.

"H" is for Highway 301. Construction of this major US highway in South Carolina began in 1932, when the federal government began taking over the maintenance and construction of many state roads. The route began in Baltimore, Maryland and ended in Sarasota, Florida—crossing through many towns in eastern South Carolina: including Dillon, Latta, Florence, Manning, Olanta, Sumerton, Bamberg, and Allendale. From the North Carolina border to the Savannah River, Highway 301 covers a distance of approximately 180 miles.

Marian McPartland and and Dizzy Gillespie during a recording session for "Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz."
SC Public Radio

In An Encyclopedia of South Carolina Jazz and Blues Musicians, Benjamin Franklin V documents the careers of South Carolina jazz and blues musicians from the nineteenth century to the present. The musicians range from the renowned (James Brown, Dizzy Gillespie), to the notable (Freddie Green, Josh White), to the largely forgotten (Fud Livingston, Josie Miles), to the obscure (Lottie Frost Hightower, Horace "Spoons" Williams), to the unknown (Vince Arnold, Johnny Wilson).

"R" is for the Reformed Episcopal Church.

"P" is  for Paul, Marian B.

"O" is for Owens Field

Oct 26, 2016

"O" is for Owens Field.

"N" is for Ninety-Six

Oct 25, 2016

"N" is for Ninety-Six, South Carolina.

Henry William Ravenel
Public Doman, via Wikimedia Commons

Two hundred and two years after the birth of Henry William Ravenel, a 19th century South Carolina planter and botanist, a dedicated team from North Carolina and South Carolina universities and colleges has made his manuscripts and collections available online.