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.

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South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"A" is for Adams, James Hopkins [1777-1858]. Governor. Born in lower Richland County and educated at Yale, Adams was a successful cotton planter. He represented Richland County in both the South Carolina house and senate. In 1854, the General Assembly elected him governor. Although the state's voters had repudiated secession in 1850, he belonged to the radical faction that advocated immediate secession from the union.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"Y" is for Yellow Jessamine. State flower. In 1924, the General Assembly chose the yellow, or Carolina, jessamine [Gelsemium sempervirens] as the state flower. Among the reasons sited were its being indigenous to every nook and corner of the state and that its perpetual return out of the dead of winter suggests the lesson of constancy in, loyalty to, and patriotism in the service of the State. Carolina jessamine is a twining woody vine with pointed, evergreen leaves. It climbs over bushes, fences, and tree limbs.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"W'" is for Walker, William [1809-1875]. Teacher, composer, author. In 1835, the man known as "Singing Billy" Walker published Southern Harmony, a shaped-note hymnal using a four-shape [fa-so-la] system. The shaped-note style is a simplified musical notation developed to make it easier for untrained congregations to sing in harmony without instrumental accompaniment. Shapes [triangle = fa; oval = so; rectangle = la; and diamond = mi] were added to the note heads to help singers find pitch within major and minor scales.

Dr. J. Brent Morris
USC Beaufort

(Originally broadcast 07/14/17) Yes, Lord, I Know the Road: A Documentary History of African Americans in South Carolina, 1526 – 2008 (2017, USC Press) is the first comprehensive history of African Americans in the Palmetto State. From the first North American slave rebellion near the mouth of the Pee Dee River in the early sixteenth century to the 2008 state Democratic primary victory of Barack Obama, Dr. J.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"E" is for Enoree River. The Enoree River flows approximately seventy miles from its source in northern Greenville County to its confluence with the Broad River above Columbia. Its basin encompasses more than 730 square miles across South Carolina's Piedmont--the largest part of which is forestlands--with a small percentage characterized as urban. Along the way, the river provides borders for parts of Greenville, Spartanburg, Laurens, Union, and Newberry Counties.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"D" is for Dixon, Dorsey [1897-1968] and Howard Dixon [1903-1961]. Musicians. The Dixon Brothers, popular during the 1930s composed many original songs on diverse subjects, including the life and labor of textile workers. With Dorsey on guitar and Howard leading on steel guitar, their sound was more distinct than the traditional mandolin-guitar or twin-guitar duets. Their vocal harmony—albeit a bit rough—nonetheless had a style uniquely their own. All total they cut some 55 sides for Bluebird—many of which are extremely rare.

"C" is for Cayce

Nov 15, 2017
South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"C" is for Cayce [Lexington County; population 12,150]. Cayce encompasses approximately fifteen square miles on the Congaree River. The city is the descendant of the colonial trading village of Granby. In 1817 the Cayce family made the former Fort Granby their private residence and around the house became known as the Cayce House. In 1914 the town was incorporated and named Cayce. The coming of the railroads in the 19th century gave birth to the modern city of Cayce.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"B" is for Bennett, John [1865-1956]. Author. Artist. An Ohio native, Bennett achieved national acclaim for Master Skylark, considered one of the best American historical novels for children. Ill health led to his moving to Charleston. For years he tried unsuccessfully to get publishers interested in African American folklore and folk life. When he gave a lecture in Charleston on Gullah, he was condemned in the local press.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"A" is for Ashmore, Harry Scott [1916-1998]. Author. Editor. Pulitzer Prize Winner. A Clemson graduate, Ashmore went to work for the Greenville Piedmont and Greenville News. His reporting earned him a Nieman Fellowship and a position with the Charlotte News. In 1947 he moved to the Arkansas Gazette. His editorials opposing Governor Orville Faubus' attempts to block the desegregation of Little Rock's Central High School attracted national attention and won a Pulitzer Prize. His 1954 book, The Negro and the Schools summarized research on the disparate biracial education system in the South.

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

Furman University's Dr. Courtney Tollison co-curated “Over Here, Over There: Greenville in the Great War,” an exhibition on display in the spring of 2017 at Furman University’s James B. Duke Library. The exhibit examined World War I’s (1914-1918) impact on the Greenville community as well as the contributions of the area to the war effort, domestically and overseas; and it assessed the mixed legacy of progress emanating from the war years.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"E" is for English, Alexander [b. 1954]. Basketball player. A graduate of Dreher High School in Columbia, English play college basketball for the University of South Carolina and became the 4th USC player to have his jersey [#22] retired. In the National Basketball Association he played with the Milwaukee Bucks, Indiana Pacers, and the Denver Nuggets. The fluent run-and-shoot style of Nuggets' Coach Doug Moe was tailor-made for English's smooth game. By the end of his career in Denver in 1990, English had become the most prolific scorer of the 1980s.

"D" is for Dixiecrats

Nov 9, 2017
South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"D" is for Dixiecrats. Dixiecrats were a political party organized in 1948 by disgruntled white Southern Democrats dismayed over their declining influence within the national Democratic Party. The Dixiecrats, officially known as the States' Rights Democratic Party, were committed to states' rights and opposed to federal intervention in the interest of promoting civil rights. Governor J. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina and Governor Fielding Wright of Mississippi were nominated as the party's presidential and vice-presidential candidates.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"C" is for Cattle ranching. Cow pens, cattle drives, and open-range herding—typically associated with the American West—were important features of the agricultural landscape of colonial South Carolina. British settlers brought husbandry traditions to the colony. Many enslaved West Africans also had extensive knowledge of cattle raising. Cattle ranching, a lucrative frontier occupation appeared first in the lowcountry, where black bondsmen became America's first cowboys. Periodically, cattle drives occurred, and drovers or "crackers" using whips herded livestock to Charleston.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"B" is for Benedict College. A historically black college in Columbia, Benedict was founded by Rhode Island native Bathsheba Benedict. Benedict purchased an eighty-acre tract with the goal of educating recently emancipated African-Americans. Originally named Benedict Institute, the school began with ten male students and one faculty member housed in an abandoned residence. The first students followed a curriculum of grammar school subjects, Bible study, and theology. Later courses were added to train students as teachers and ministers.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"A" is for Ashley River Road. The Ashley River Road--one of the oldest roads in South Carolina--began as a Native American trading path, paralleling the Ashley River, and later served the colonists of the original Charles Town settlement. The Lords Proprietors authorized the road in 1690. The modern road consists of an approximately fifteen-mile portion of S.C. Highway 61. During the colonial era, numerous plantations lined the route. In 1721 a law was passed to protect the shade trees along its route—a forerunner of modern ordinances that protect trees and require buffers.

D.W. Griffith, director (1923)
Library of Congress

How did the American South contribute to the development of cinema? And how did film shape the modern South? In Fade In, Crossroads: A History of the Southern Cinema (2017, Oxford University Press), Robert Jackson tells the story of the relationships between southerners and motion pictures from the silent era through the golden age of Hollywood. Jackson talks with Walter Edgar about the profound consequences of the coincidence of the rise and fall of the American film industry with the rise and fall of the Jim Crow era.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"G" is for Gregg, Maxcy (1814-1862). Soldier. After graduating as co-valedictorian of his class at South Carolina College, Gregg read law and was admitted to the bar. He was a member of the Southern Rights Convention in 1852. As a Richland County delegate to the 1860 Secession Convention, he assisted in the writing of the Ordinance of Secession. Shortly after the convention he became commander of the First Regiment of South Carolina Volunteers.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"B" is for Barringer Building [in Columbia]. Located on Main Street, the Barringer Building was Columbia's first skyscraper; Built in 1903, the skyscraper was initially home to the National Loan and Exchange Bank. However, the property derives its name from the Barringer Corporation that operated there from 1953 to 1974. Architecturally, the Barringer Building draws its inspiration from the Chicago School of Design. Basically, the building is a column. The first two floors constitute a rusticated base.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"A" is for Allen, Gilbert Bruce [b. 1951]. Poet, fiction writer, educator. A native New Yorker, Allen moved to South Carolina in 1977—becoming an English professor at Furman. His first collection of poetry, In Everything: poems, 1927-1979 appeared in 1982 and was followed by three other volumes. In 1991, with fellow Furman English professor William E. Rogers, Allen became co-founder and co-editor of Ninety-Six Press. Focusing primarily on the works of South Carolina poets, the press has produced more than a dozen books.

"W" is for Wellford

Oct 31, 2017
South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"W" is for Wellford [Spartanburg County; population 2,030] Located in west-central Spartanburg County between the North and Middle Tyger Rivers, Wellford was once part of the hunting grounds of the Cherokee Nation. For most of the 19th century the future site of Wellford remained a settlement of scattered farms. After the 1876 arrival of the Danville and Richmond Railroad, a depot and water tank were constructed beside the tracks—and soon businesses followed. Homes, churches and schools soon followed.

Image of Gen. Andrew Pickens, 1739 - 1817. A photo of an oil painting hung in Fort Hill in Clemson, South Carolina.
blahedo [CC BY-SA 2.5] via Wikimedia Commons

In his new book, The Life and Times of General Andrew Pickens: Revolutionary War Hero, American Founder (2017, UNC Press), Dr. Rod Andrew, Jr., of Clemson University, explores the life of the hard-fighting South Carolina militia commander of the American Revolution, was the hero of many victories against British and Loyalist forces. In this book, Andrew offers an authoritative and comprehensive biography of Pickens the man, the general, the planter, and the diplomat.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"S" is for Salley, Alexander Samuel [1871-1961]. Historian. A Citadel graduate, Salley developed a fascination for local historical records. From that time forward, he wrote continuously on South Carolina topics, producing countless articles and over 100 monographs. In 1899 Salley became the Secretary, treasurer, and librarian, at the South Carolina Historical Society. The discovery of long-lost revolutionary war records led him to campaign for the proper custody and care of these priceless materials.

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

Oct 26, 2017
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

"D" is for Dispensary"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.

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.

(Originally broadcast 05/19/17) South Carolina native "Princess" Pamela Strobel ruled a small realm, but her powers ranged far and wide. Her speakeasy-style restaurant in Manhattan was for three decades a hip salon, with regulars from Andy Warhol to Diana Ross. Her iconic Southern dishes influenced chefs nationwide, and her cookbook became a bible for a generation who yearned for the home cooking left behind in the Great Migration. One of the earliest books to coin soul food, this touchstone of African-American cuisine fell out of print more than forty years ago.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"M" is for Manigault, Gabriel [1704-1781]. Merchant, legislator. Born in Charleston, Manigault rose from relatively modest origins to become the leading merchant and private banker in colonial South Carolina. He operated retail shops and also owed several trading vessels. He never had business partners and preferred to conduct business by himself. Manigault also had extensive real estate holdings in the Charleston area. He held a number of public positions including that of public treasurer. Twice, he declined appointment to the Royal Council.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"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.

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