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

(Originally broadcast 04/04/14) - Pat Conroy, author of The Water is WideThe Great SantiniThe Prince of TidesThe Death of Santini, joins Dr. Walter Edgar for an event celebrating the author’s life;  his work; and One Book, One Columbia’s 2014 selection, My Reading Life (Nan A. Talese, 2010). The conversation was recorded before an audience of over 2000, at Columbia’s Township Auditorium, on the evening of February 27, 2014.

  “B” is for Blake Plateau. The Blake Plateau is a large, relatively shallow carbonate bank that lies two hundred miles off Charleston on the continental shelf. It runs from Cape Hatteras in North Carolina, past South Carolina and eastern Florida, to just north of the Bahamas. The plateau began to form more than 200 million years ago as the North American Plate disengaged from the African Plate creating the Atlantic Ocean. The Blake Plateau’s structure clearly illustrates the process of the North American/African separation as well as the development of continental shelves generally.

  “L” is for the Louisville, Cincinnati, and Charleston Rail Road Company. This railroad represented the most ambitious dreams of the antebellum Charleston business community: a transportation connection to the markets of the Midwest that would return the city to national prominence. Chartered in 1835 to connect Charleston and Cincinnati, Louisville was added to gain the support of the Kentucky legislature. In 1837 the company began construction of a sixty-mile line from Branchville to Columbia—the only track it ever built.

  “G” is for Greener, Richard Theodore [1844-1922]. Teacher, diplomat. A native of Philadelphia, Greener was the first African American to earn an undergraduate degree from Harvard. After teaching in Washington and Philadelphia, in 1873 he accepted the professorship of mental and moral philosophy at the newly integrated University of South Carolina. He was also the university’s librarian. He gave the university’s commencement address in 1874. In 1877 he resigned his professorship and took a position in the US Treasury Department.

"P" is for Pinckney, Thomas [1750-1828]. Governor, diplomat, congressman, soldier. Pinckney was educated in England at Christ College, Oxford and at the Inns of Court, and in France at the Royal Military Academy. He returned to South Carolina in 1774 and in 1775, he joined the First South Carolina Continental Regiment. He saw active service until 1780 when was wounded and captured at the Battle of Camden. Pinckney was elected governor in 1787 and served two terms. He was the American Minister Plenipotentiary to Great Britain and later to Spain.

"P" is for Pinckney Island Wildlife Refuge. Pinckney Island Wildlife Refuge is in Beaufort County, between Skull Creek and Mackay Creek. The Refuge was established in 1975 and opened in 1985. It is comprised of four islands: Corn, Little Harry, Big Harry, and Pinckney. The largest island, Pinckney, is the only one open to the public. From 1736 to 1936 the refuge was owned by the family and descendants of Charles Cotesworth Pinckney and was a cotton plantation. From 1937 until 1975, the island was managed as a game preserve.

“H” is for Hipp, Francis Moffett [1911-1995]. Insurance executive.  After graduating from Furman, Hipp joined his father’s company, Liberty Life Insurance. The Greenville-based firm also owned radio stations in Columbia and Charleston. When Hipp’s father died in 1943, the company’s directors elected him president and chairman of the board. An energetic leader, Hipp expanded the company into the Southeast through its own agents and nationally through financial institutions.

The Other Brother

Sep 5, 2014

- Walter Edgar's JournalThe Other Brother is a film about the ‘genetics’ of art and sibling estrangement. The subject is art but the story is universal. Two brothers, estranged since 1948, share an exceptional bond. One is an art-world insider, and one lived alone in a world of art.

  “C” is for the Charleston Riot [1876]. As the crucial local, state, and national elections of 1876 approached, tensions between the races in South Carolina reached a boiling point. In Charleston black Republicans were especially incensed by Democratic attempts to induce blacks to vote Democratic. On September 6th, after a Democratic rally, a group of Republicans pursued the participants. A white Democrat fired a pistol that instead of frightening his pursuers attracted an even larger crowd. The Democrats retreated and asked for protection from federal troops.

  “B” is for Blake, Joseph [1663-1700]. Governor. Born in England, Blake was a leader of the Dissenter political faction in South Carolina and a supporter of the Lords Proprietors in their disputes with local political leaders. He was in the colony by 1689 and shortly thereafter was named a proprietary deputy and member of the Grand Council. From 1696 to 1700 Blake was acting governor.

“W” is Winnsboro

Sep 3, 2014

  “W” is Winnsboro [Fairfield County, population 3,599]. Winnsboro, the seat of Fairfield County, lies in the Piedmont on a ridge between the Broad and Wateree Rivers. In 1768 John Winn began acquiring land that would become Winnsboro. During the Revolution, Lord Cornwallis and the British Army occupied the town. Incorporated in 1832, the town was named for Revolutionary War hero Richard Winn. The town became a religious and educational center—home to Mount Zion Academy, Furman Academy and Theological Institution, and Fairfield Institute. Cotton brought prosperity to the county.

“S” is for Sewees

Sep 2, 2014

  “S” is for Sewees. The Sewees were a Native American nation based along the Santee River and the Sea Islands. In 1670 it was the Sewees who showed the English colonists the best harbors. They helped the Carolinians against the Spanish and supplied the settlers with food when the colony ran short. The tribe was decimated by smallpox and by an ill-fated attempt to trade directly across the Atlantic with England. A fleet of canoes was swamped by a storm and many drowned; those that survived were picked up by an English slave ship and sold into slavery in the West Indies.

“R” is for Robertson, Benjamin Franklin, Jr. [1903-1943]. Journalist. Robertson was a well-respected and well-traveled journalist and war correspondent and the author of three books. In 1940 he was hired by PM, a newspaper, as its London correspondent during the Battle of Britain. In 1941 he published I Saw England, a well-received account of British resolve during the blitz. After another stint in London, he returned home and began work on Red Hills and Cotton: An Upcountry Memory. During 1942 Robertson covered the war from Libya, the Soviet Union, and India for PM.

Hunter Kennedy

Aug 29, 2014

(Originally Broadcast 02/28/14) - Begun as an open letter to strangers and fellow misfits, The Minus Times grew to become a hand-typed literary magazine that showcased the next generation of American fiction. Contributors include Sam Lipsyte, David Berman, Patrick DeWitt, and Wells Tower, with illustrations by David Eggers and Brad Neely as well as interviews with Dan Clowes, Barry Hannah, and a yet-to-be-famous Stephen Colbert.

  “M” is for Medical University of South Carolina. At the request of the Medical Society of South Carolina, the General Assembly established the Medical College of South Carolina. It opened in 1824 as a private institution. In the last two decades of the 19th century, programs in pharmacy and nursing began. The faculty voted to admit women medical students in 1895. In 1913 Dean Robert Wilson campaigned for state ownership of the Medical College, whereby the state would assume some financial responsibility for the school. State ownership was achieved in 1914.

  “L” is for Lott, Robert Bretley [b. 1958]. Author, educator. A native of California, Lott received his MFA from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Though reared in California, he considers himself a Southerner: “My family is from East Texas and Mississippi—I grew up drinking sweet tea….” In 1986 he became writer-in-residence at the College of Charleston. He began publishing his short stories in 1983—and his fiction and essays have appeared in dozens of literary journals.

  “H” is for Historic Charleston Foundation [HCF]. The Historic Charleston Foundation sprang from the activities of the Carolina Art Association. In 1944, the association published This is Charleston, a survey of historic buildings. In 1947, HCF was incorporated as a separate organization to preserve buildings still occupied by their owners, instead of museums. To raise money, HCF sponsored its first Festival of Homes and saved important structures such as the Nathaniel Russell House.

“G” is for Greene, Nathanael [1742-1786]. Soldier. Early in the Revolution, Rhode Islander Nathaniel Greene became close to George Washington and served on his staff. After the battle of Camden, Washington personally selected him to command the southern army. Taking command in December 1780, he devised a strategy that led to the victory at Cowpens and caused Cornwallis to chase him to the Dan River. At Guilford Court House, Greene’s forces badly damaged the British who limped off to Virginia.

Dr. Melissa Walker is the author of numerous books on the Civil War and is co-editor of Upcountry South Carolina Goes to War (USC Press, 2011). She talks with Dr. Walter Edgar about the role of “plain folk”—especially women—during the war.

This presentation was recorded at the University of South Carolina’s Capstone Conference Center, in Columbia, on January 28, and was part of the series “Conversations on the Civil War, 1864,” presented in January and February, 2014. The series is sponsored by the USC College of Arts and Sciences.

“C” is for Charleston Renaissance [ca. 1915-1940]. The Charleston Renaissance was a multifaceted cultural renewal. Artists, musicians, writers, historians, and preservationists—individually and in groups—fueled a revival that reshaped the city’s destiny. The Renaissance benefitted from a large number of books, many illustrated with paintings and prints by local artists. One story, more than any other, brought national attention to Charleston: the tale of Porgy by DuBose Heyward. It appeared first as a novel, then a play, and, in 1935, as the folk opera Porgy and Bess.

“W” is for Wilson, Charles Coker [1864-1933]. Architect. After graduating from the South Carolina College with a degree in civil engineering, Wilson began his architectural career in Roanoke, VA.  By 1896 he was in Columbia and practiced in the firm of Wilson & Edwards. He was also Columbia’s city engineer and superintendent of the waterworks. Between 1904 and 1907 he made repairs to and rebuilt parts of the South Carolina State House.

"S" is for Seneca, SC

Aug 21, 2014

“S” is for Seneca [Oconee County; population 7,652]. Founded in 1873, as Seneca City, the town took its name from an earlier Indian village and the nearby Seneca River. As was the case with several other upcountry towns, the arrival of the Atlanta and Charlotte Air Line Railroad was responsible for Seneca’s establishment. In 1874, the town was chartered by the General Assembly. Most trains stopped at Seneca, and it quickly became a commercial center, especially for marketing the area’s cotton.

  “R” is for Robert Mills House [Columbia]. A National Historic Landmark, Columbia’s Robert Mills House is most noted for its association with the first American-trained architect and the first federal architect of the United States. Ironically, the building’s architect was best known as the architect of public works such as courthouses and jails—not private residences. Of further significance is the building’s role as the home of a regionally important religious institution—Columbia Theological Seminary-- and as an example of the grassroots historic preservation movement of the 1960s.

Retired Col. Ted Bell, his son, Ted Bell, Jr. and a film crew visited Okinawa, Japan, to revisit the site of a battle Bell lead during World War II. Here, filmmaker Wade Sellers films Bell at a memorial for Ernie Pyle at Peace Memorial.
Coal Powered Filmworks

(Broadcast August 23, 2013) - In April of 2013, an Army veteran from South Carolina returned to Okinawa, Japan, for the first time since he fought there in World War II. Retired Col. Ted Bell, 93, went back to the island after more than 67 years, this time with a film crew for South Carolina ETV, shooting part of the upcoming documentary, Man and Moment: Ted Bell and the Ridge.

Matt Walsh Matt Walsh (mwalsh@thestate.com)

(Broadcast November 02, 2012) - The Emmy-nominated documentary television series (produced in partnership by ETV and The State newspaper), South Carolinians in World War II, returns to ETV November 8th with its latest episode, A World War.  Joining Dr. Edgar to talk about this episode, and the war, are John Rainey, co-creator of the series; Wade Sellers, series director; and The State's Jeff Wilkinson, series producer.

J.C. Falkenberg III

(Broadcast 06/29/12) - Anderson native T. Moffatt Burris is a WWII veteran and concentration camp liberator who also participated in the invasions of Sicily and Italy. During Operation Market Garden in Holland, he led the amphibious assault across the Waal River made famous in the movie, A Bridge Too Far. Burriss is the subject of the upcoming ETV special Man and Moment: T. Moffatt Burriss and the Crossing. He joins Dr.

Matt Walsh Matt Walsh (mwalsh@thestate.com)

(Broadcast November 04, 2011) - About 184,000 South Carolinians served in World War II, and thousands more, who moved here after the war. ETV and The State newspaper partnered together to tell the stories of these veterans in their own words. The result is a new Emmy-nominated documentary series, South Carolinians in World War II.

(Broadcast May 20, 2011) - 184,000 South Carolinians served in World War II. South Carolinians in WWII is ETV's 3-part series that tells the story of some of these veterans. Series co-executive producer John Rainey and producer/director Jeff Wilkinson will join Dr. Edgar to talk tell some of the extraordinary stories of South Carolinians in World War II and talk about the series' second episode. A New Front covers the period from Italy's Monte Cassino to D-Day as well as the buildup in Britain, doctors and nurses, and the Charleston Navy Yard.

(Originally broadcast 03/06/2009) - On November 16th, 2008, a dream came true for Columbia restaurateur Bill Dukes as he and about 90 World War II veterans began a flight to Washington, DC, to see the WWII Memorial. For many of the veterans, a visit to the Memorial, dedicated in 2004, was something they would probably never have dreamed of, much less done. Honor Flight South Carolina is a non-profit organization dedicated to flying South Carolina WWII vets to see “their monument,” free of charge.

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