Walter Edgar's Journal

All Stations: Fri, 12-1 pm | News & Talk Stations: Sun, 4-5 pm

Walter Edgar's Journal delves into the arts, culture, history of South Carolina and the American South. (A production of South Carolina Public Radio.)

Walter Edgar's Journal, Podcast Archive, May 2008 - August 2014

How to order a CD

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed on Walter Edgar's Journal are not necessarily those of South Carolina Public Radio.

Ways to Connect

S.C. State University logo
S.C. State

Since its founding in 1896, South Carolina State University has provided vocational, undergraduate, and graduate education for generations of African Americans. Now the state’s flagship historically black university, it achieved this recognition after decades of struggling against poverty, inadequate infrastructure and funding, and social and cultural isolation. In South Carolina State University: A Black Land-Grant College in Jim Crow America, William C.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Spinners and doffers in Lancaster Cotton Mills. Lancaster, S.C., circa 1912.
National Archives/Hine, Lewis Wickes

South Carolina in 1918 was still struggling with the changes to its economic and social systems brought about by the Civil War and Reconstruction. The United States’ entry into World War I affected the daily work life of South Carolinians and the state’s economy in a way that was unique to our state.

Written on print: Spartanburg, S.C. Saxon Mills; "Girl workers in the half-time mill school."
Library of Congress/Goldsberry Collection of open-air school photographs.

There were progressives in South Carolina in 1918. And the progressive movement in this state was different from the movement in the Northeast. However, the United States’ entrance into World War I provided an extra momentum to the movement that led to some fundamental changes the interaction between state and federal authority that lasted through the 20th century. 

Unidentified African American soldier in uniform with marksmanship qualification badge and campaign hat, with cigarette holder in front of painted backdrop.
Library of Congress

Upon the United States' entrance into World War I, President Woodrow Wilson told the nation that the war was being fought to "make the world safe for democracy." For many African-American South Carolinians, the chance to fight in this war was a way to prove their citizenship, in hopes of changing things for the better at home.

Celebrating graduation at a recent Morgan State University commencement.
Fire Light Media

Film maker Stanley Nelson and Dr. Bobby Donaldson of the University of South Carolina talk with Walter Edgar about the story of historically black colleges and universities in the U. S., and about Mr. Nelson’s film Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities which airs on SCETV Monday, February 19, at 9:00 pm, as part of the PBS series Independent Lens.

All Stations: Fri, Feb 16, 12 pm | News & Talk Stations: Sun, Feb 18, 4 pm

Dr. Andrew Myers from the University of South Carolina Upstate joins Dr. Edgar for a public Conversation on South Carolina History, World War I: S.C. and the Military, on January 23, 2018. It was part of a series presented in January and February, 2018, and sponsored by the USC College of Arts and Sciences.

All Stations: Fri, Feb 09, 12 pm | News & Talk Stations: Sun, Feb 11, 4 pm

Detail from a poster showing a Red Cross nurse with an American flag and the Red Cross symbol. (Artist: Howard Chandler Christie)
Library of Congress

Dr. Amy McCandless, professor emerita of history at the College of Charleston, joins Dr. Edgar for a public Conversation on South Carolina History, World War I: S.C. Women during the War. The conversation took place at USC’s Capstone Conference Center, in Columbia, on January 16, 2018. It was part of a series presented in January and February, 2018, and sponsored by the USC College of Arts and Sciences.

All Stations: Fri, Feb 02, 12 pm | News & Talk Stations: Sun, Feb 04, 4 pm

Fritz Hollings
U.S. Congress

 (Originally broadcast 9/29/17) - New Politics in the Old South: Ernest F. Hollings in the Civil Rights Era (2016, USC Press) is the first scholarly biography of Ernest F. "Fritz" Hollings, a key figure in South Carolina and national political developments in the second half of the twentieth century.

The distinctive white shawl protest graffiti of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo makes its mark in Bariloche's central square.
McKay Savage [CC BY 2.0] via Flickr

The Buenos Aires Herald ceased publication in July of 2017, almost 141 years after its founding. The paper became famous, however, only in the latter part of the 20th century, for exposing the forced disappearances of Argentinians during the 1976-83 military dictatorship. Other newspapers in the country whitewashed this chapter of Argentina’s history.

Cover photo of a bird-filled sky above a line of trees at sunset.
Kathleen Robbins

Ed Madden, editor of Theologies of Terrain (Muddy Ford Press, 2017), writes that poet Tim Conroy “is a theologian of the best kind, a theologian of the ordinary.”

“He knows… [we] face crushing loss and daily difficulties. We have to learn to live the best we can here, now. … [Conroy] points us to a ‘cathedral’ of trees where we are encouraged to find not truth or healing but perspective—to measure ourselves ‘by how a towering / moment passes.’"

Tim Conroy and Ed Madden join Walter Edgar to talk about Conroy’s Theologies of Terrain.

Dr. Lorien Foote
[CC BY-NC-ND 2.0] / University of Central Arkansas

(Originally broadcast 09/15/17) - During the winter of 1864, more than 3,000 Federal prisoners of war escaped from Confederate prison camps into South Carolina and North Carolina, often with the aid of local slaves. Their flight created, in the words of contemporary observers, a "Yankee plague," heralding a grim end to the Confederate cause. In The Yankee Plague: Escaped Union Prisoners and the Collapse of the Confederacy (2016, UNC Press) Dr.

Frank Kearns
WVU Press

(Originally broadcast 09/08/17) - Columbian Gerald Davis is co-producer of the 2012 Emmy-winning documentary Frank Kearns: American Correspondent first aired on West Virginia Public Television. Recently, Davis has published Algerian Diary: Frank Kearns and the "Impossible Assignment" for CBS News (2016, WVU Press). He talks with Walter Edgar about his deep dive into Kearns’ life and the assignment that changed the way the U.S. viewed Algeria’s fight for independence from France.

Cardinal Joseph Bernardin
dailytheology.org

As a priest, archbishop, and president of the US bishops' conference, Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, a native of Columbia, S.C., lived a ministry marked by thoughtfulness, compassion, and conviction. In his book, Joseph Bernardin: Seeking Common Ground (2016, Liturgical Press), Steven P.

"An accurate map of North and South Carolina with their Indian frontiers, shewing in a distinct manner all the mountains, rivers, swamps, marshes, bays, creeks, harbours, sandbanks and soundings on the coasts." Henry Mouzon, 1775
Norman B. Leventhal Map Center (NBL Map Center) at the Boston Public Library (BPL) [CC BY 2.0]

A two-decade, joint effort between South Carolina and North Carolina has sought to correct errors made surveying the boundary line between the two states. The errors began with the first survey, made in 1735, and were compounded over the years. Alan-Jon Zupan, a former project manager for the South Carolina Geological Survey, and David Ballard, currently with SCGS, join Walter Edgar to talk about the history of South Carolina’s northern line, and the modern-day efforts to get it right.

All Stations: Fri, Dec 15, 12 pm | News & Talk Stations: Sun, Dec 17, 4 pm

USC/Thomas Cooper Library

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.

Chief Justice Ernest A. Finney, Jr.
SC Hall of Fame

Justice Ernest A. Finney, Jr., South Carolina's first Africa-American chief justice, has died Sunday, December 3, 2017. He was 86. Finney was one of just a handful of black lawyers in the state when he graduated from the South Carolina State College School of Law in 1954. Finney was elected chief justice of South Carolina in 1994 and retired from the court in 2000.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

(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's Constitution of 1861 underwent a lamination preservation process. Archivists no longer use the process after it was realized the laminate material degrades into an acid, doing more damage to the documents.
Cooper McKim/SC Public Radio

Millions of historic documents in the U.S., from presidential papers to personal slave journals, are facing an issue apart from age: a preservation method that has backfired. The process of laminating documents between sheets of cellulose acetate film, widely practiced from the 1950s through the 1970s, has now been determined to actually contribute to the deterioration of acid-containing paper.

An advertisement for the fair appears in the Keowee Courier (Pickens Court House, S.C.), October 18, 1905.
South Carolina Digital Newspaper Room/https://library.sc.edu/blogs/newspaper/

With October come two certainties: Trick-or-Treaters will be abroad on the 31st, and the South Carolina State Fair will attract thousands to Columbia.  In this edition of Walter Edgar's Journal, from May 5, 2016, Dr.

Pages