Walter Edgar's Journal

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

From books to barbecue, from current events to colonial history, 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

The War the South Won

Feb 29, 2016
Engraving depicting the death of British Major Patrick Ferguson at the Battle of Kings Mountain during the American Revolutionary War, October 7, 1780.
Chappel, Alonzo, 1828-1887 (artist), Jeens, Charles Henry, 1827-1879 (engraver), Anne S. K. Brown Collection at Brown University

  General U.S. history courses in many high schools depict the American Revolutionary War as a series of battles in the Northeast--Lexington, Concord, Bunker Hill, etc.--that lead inexorably to British General Charles Cornwallis's surrender of 8,000 British soldiers and seamen to a French and American force at Yorktown, Virginia, October 19, 1781.

The truth is much more complicated, of course. And a major component of the war, one that paved the way to Yorktown, was the fighting that took place in 1780 - 81 in the South. In essence, according to Dr. Jack Warren and Dr. Walter Edgar, the war was won in the South.

Revolution: the English Made Us Do It?

Feb 22, 2016
Early American Flag
iStock

  Dr. Woody Holton of the University of South Carolina claims that, when it comes to the Revolution, Americans can justifiably claim, "The English made us do it." Dr. Holton talks with Dr. Edgar about “Challenging Imperial Authority.”

Their talk was part of a series of public conversations, “Conversations on Colonial and Revolutionary South Carolina,” presented by the University Of South Carolina College Of Arts and Sciences’ Institute of Southern Studies.

All Stations: Fri, Feb 26, 12 pm | News Stations: Sun, Feb 28, 4 pm


Harper Lee being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, November 5, 2007.
White House photo by Eric Draper via Wikimedia Commons

  With today's news of the death of Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Harper Lee, at age 89, we offer two encore episodes of Walter Edgar's Journal, each dealing with her book To Kill a Mockingbird.

The Carolina Frontier

Feb 15, 2016
Early map of Virginia and the Carolinas
North Carolina State Archives

​In his book, Carolina in Crisis: Cherokees, Colonists, and Slaves in the American Southeast, 1756 - 1763, (2015, UNC Press) Dr. Daniel J. Tortora, assistant professor of history at Colby College, explores how the Anglo-Cherokee War reshaped the political and cultural landscape of the colonial South. Tortora joins Walter Edgar for a discussion of these events in one of a a series of public conversations, “Conversations on Colonial and Revolutionary South Carolina,” presented earlier this year by the University of South Carolina’s College of Arts and Sciences.

In their discussion, Dr. Tortora argues that the political and military success of the Cherokees led colonists to a greater fear of slave resistance and revolt and ultimately nurtured South Carolinians' rising interest in the movement for independence.

All Stations: Fri, Feb 19, 12 pm | News Stations: Sun, Feb 21, 4 pm


European Union flag
Pinterest

  In their book, Religion and the Struggle for European Union: Confessional Culture and the Limits of Integration (Georgetown University Press, 2015), Furman University professors Brent F. Nelsen and James L. Guth delve into the powerful role of religion in shaping European attitudes on politics, political integration, and the national and continental identities of its leaders and citizens.

Palmetto Tree
iStock

  Earlier this year, the University of South Carolina College of Arts and Sciences’ Institute of Southern presented a series of public conversations with Dr. Walter Edgar and guest scholars: “Conversations on Colonial and Revolutionary South Carolina”. In this first conversation, Dr. Larry Rowland, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History for the University of South Carolina Beaufort, talks with Dr. Edgar about “The Colonial Melting Pot.”

All Stations: Fri, Feb 5, 12 pm | News Stations: Sun, Feb 7, 4 pm


Debris from homes damaged in the October 2015 floods in South Carolina.
SC Public Radio

Dr. Susan Cutter knows about disasters.

  She is director of the University of South Carolina’s Hazards & Vulnerability Research Institute, and she has studied disaster preparedness, response. She has also headed teams that were on the ground after the destruction of the World Trade Center towers on 9/11 and after hurricane Katrina flooded much of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.

The October 2015 floods in South Carolina offered her and her team the unique chance to be part of a disaster as it unfolded.

Southern Provisions

Jan 18, 2016
Dr. David Shields
USC

  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.

At the center of that movement is Dr. David Shields, who has spent over a decade researching early American agricultural and cooking practices. Shields joins Walter Edgar to talk about the history of Southern foodways and the current recovery of traditional foods and methods. Shields is the author of Southern Provisions: The Creation and Revival of a Cuisine (University of Chicago Press, 2015).

All Stations: Fri, Jan 22, 12 pm | News Stations: Sun, Jan 24, 4 pm


Charleston, South Carolina, 1865. Broad street, looking east with the ruins of Cathedral of St. John and St. Finbar.
Library of Congress; photographer unknown

  National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis called the Reconstruction Era an “often-ignored or misunderstood period in our rich history” but one that bridges the nation’s Civil War and its civil rights movement. Now, the Park Service has begun chronicling the historic sites in South Carolina that tell the Reconstruction story.

Michael Allen, a community partnership specialist with the National Parks Service in Charleston, will be working with groups and communities interested in taking part. He joins Dr. Edgar, along with Dr. Brent Morris, professor of history at USC Beaufort and Director of the NEH Summer Institute “America’s Reconstruction: The Untold Story” to talk about facts and myths of this important period of American history.

All Stations: Fri, Jan 15, 12 pm | Sun, Jan 17, 4 pm


  75% of all enslaved Africans coming to America came in through the ports of Charleston, Beaufort and Georgetown, South Carolina. The result of this mingling of slaves from West Africa with the plantation culture awaiting them in America became Gullah; the genesis and taproot of African American culture.

The PBS special, Circle Unbroken – A Gullah Journey from Africa to America, portrays the history of these resilient people in music by The Gullah Kinfolk and narrative through the eyes of South Carolinian Anita Singleton-Prather – ‘The First Lady of Gullah™.’ Producer Ron Small and Anita Singleton-Prather talk about Gullah history, culture, as well as the making of this TV special.

All Stations: Fri, Jan 8, 12 pm | News Stations: Sun, Jan 10, 4 pm


Ted and Matt Lee
Ovation

  (Originally broadcast 10/16/15) - The Lee Bros., who have popularized Southern cooking with a series of popular cookbooks, television appearances, and articles, are hosts of the new TV series, Southern Uncovered with the Lee Bros. They are also currently are contributing editors at Travel + Leisure and frequently write food stories for Bon Appetit, The New York Times, Fine Cooking and Food & Wine, among other publications. Matt and Ted joined Walter Edgar recently to talk about the new show, Southern food and culture, and their latest projects.

All Stations: Fri, Jan 1, 12 pm | News Stations: Sun, Jan 3, 4 pm


Harper Lee being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, November 5, 2007.
White House photo by Eric Draper via Wikimedia Commons

  (Originally broadcast October 9, 2015) - Dr. Robert Brinkmeyer, Director of the Institute of Southern Studies at the University of South Carolina, talks with Walter Edgar about Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchmen (Harper Collins, 2015), as well as To Kill a Mockingbird and its place in Southern literature.

All Stations: Fri, Dec 25, 12 pm | News Stations: Sun, Dec 27, 4 pm


Salley McInerney
independentmail.com

    Journey Proud (Abe Books, 2013) is the story of four white children growing up in the early 1960s in a middle-class neighborhood in Columbia, South Carolina. This coming-of-age tale set in the South during the civil rights movement exposes the inequities of the period and shows how childhood innocence is often replaced by harsh realities.

Walter Edgar talks with author Salley McAden McInerney. McInerney is a journalist, freelance writer and former columnist for the Anderson Independent-Mail, the Gwinnett Daily News, The Columbia Record and The State newspapers.

All Stations: Fri, Dec 18, 12 pm | News Stations: Sun, Dec 19, 4 pm


  The Voting Rights Act was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson in August of1965. This landmark legislation aimed to eliminate obstacles created by state and local governments to keep African Americans from exercising their right to vote under the 15th Amendment (1870) to the Constitution.

Walter Edgar talks with University of South Carolina historians Bobby Donaldson and Patricia Sullivan about the history leading to passage of the Voting Rights Act, and about its impact through the years.

All Stations: Fri, Dec 11, 12 pm | News Stations: Sun, Dec 13, 4 pm


American Surrealist

Nov 30, 2015
Piccolo Spoleto poster, 1984
Evening Post Books

  Charleston surgeon Richard Hagerty began painting before medical school honed his eye and hand coordination. He is a self taught artist who draws his surreal, fantastical imagery from dreams, mythology, history, science and stories. He works in a variety of media, including pen and ink, watercolor and oil. Hagerty and art curator Roberta Sokolitz talk with Walter Edgar about his art, his career, and about the new collection of his work, American Surrealist: The Art of Richard Hagerty (Evening Post Books, 2015), and exhibition of Hagerty’s work at the City Gallery at Waterfront Park, Charleston.

All Stations: Fri, Dec 4, 12 pm | News Stations: Sun, Dec 6, 4 pm


At Home - Charleston

Nov 23, 2015
Colonial style window
iStock photo © Massimo Fanelli

  (Originally broadcast 05/08/15 - In Catherine H. Forrester’s At Home-Charleston (Wimmer Cookbooks, 2006), the historic Thomas Rose House serves as the stunning backdrop to the intriguing tales of Forrester’s grandmother Juliette Wiles Staats’ entertaining and the distinctive social traditions of one of America’s most celebrated cities.

Gathering lively tidbits from Staats’ meticulous records—handwritten file cards, detailed party books and hand bound journals, Forrester leads readers into the peninsula’s private world of elegant entertaining. Cathy Forrester talks with Dr. Edgar about the book, her family, and life in Charleston.

All Stations: Fri, Nov 27, 12 pm | News Stations: Sun, Nov 29, 4 pm


Johnny D. Boggs
Courtesy of the author

 Timmonsville native and Santa Fe resident Johnny D. Boggs  He talks with Walter Edgar about his latest novel, The Cane Creek Regulators (Five Star, 2014), which is set in a time when the western "frontier" of South Carolina included the Upstate.

Boggs has called "[one of] the best western writers at work today."  He has won the prestigious Spur Award from Western Writers of America six times. He's also the author of numerous non-fiction articles about the American West.

All Stations: Friday, Nov 20, 12 pm | News Stations: Sunday, Nov 22, 4 pm 


 In September of 2014, the Violence Policy Center ranked South Carolina second in nation in rate of women killed by men. Their report was release just weeks after Charleston's The Post and Courier newspaper ran a three-week series on criminal domestic violence called “Till Death Do Us Part," which later won the Pulitzer Prize.

Jennifer Hawes was part of The Post & Courier team that reported and wrote the series. She joins Sara Barber, Executive Director of The South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, talk with Walter Edgar about the problem of domestic violence in South Carolina, and what's being done about it.


Early American Flag
iStock

  Several miles outside of Moncks Corner is, arguably, the most significant extant Revolutionary War site in South Carolina. Fair Lawn Plantation’s Revolutionary War significance stems from historic battles, events, famous people, geographic location, and landscape architecture. Near Stony Landing on Biggin Creek, the fortified Colleton house and separate redoubt fort played a substantial role on many occasions as a post, support base, and hospital.

The Lord Berkeley Conservation Trust and The South Carolina Battleground Preservation Trust are partnering in a project to protect and preserve Fort Fair Lawn. SC Battleground Preservation Trust Director Douglas Bostick talks with Walter Edgar about this site, and some of the other Revolutionary War sites the Trust is working to preserve.

All Stations: Friday, Nov 6, 12 pm | News Stations: Sunday, Nov 8, 4 pm


North Inlet - Winyah Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. Aerial view of meandering tidal creeks and extensive pristine marshes in North Inlet Estuary. Vicinity of Georgetown, South Carolina.
NOAA Photo Library/Flickr

  Dr. Maria Whitehead is Project Director of Winyah Bay and Pee Dee River Basin for The Nature Conservancy. Winyah Bay is comprised of 525,000 total acres and encompasses the lower drainage of the Black, Big Pee Dee, Little Pee Dee, Sampit, and Waccamaw rivers.

This vital watershed sustains 123,000 acres of forested wetlands and 23,000 acres of tidal freshwater marshes that support the annual use of up to 40,000 migratory waterfowl, 6 federally threatened and endangered species, and numerous species of migratory songbirds. These wetlands and associated uplands are of national significance. In collaboration with the Winyah Bay Task Force, The Nature Conservancy has also protected Sandy Island, located in Winyah Bay.

All Stations: Fri, Oct 30, 12 pm | News Sations: Sun, Nov 01, 4 pm


 The late Ken Burger’s A Sporting Life (Evening Post Books, 2015) is a collection of his best and most requested columns from his legendary career as a sports writer for the Charleston Post & Courier. At the end of each piece is a post script - updating the reader about the person or event. This book resonates with Southerners, who recognize and relate to the locations, mannerisms, and mascots. But, it is universal in its humanity and emotion.

Ken joined Walter Edgar in our studio not long ago for what turned out to be our their last conversation. He talked about the book, his career, and sports.

All Stations: Fri, Oct 23, 12 pm | News Stations: Sun, Oct 25, 4 pm


Ted and Matt Lee
Ovation

  The Lee Bros., who have popularized Southern cooking with a series of popular cookbooks, television appearances, and articles, are hosts of the new TV series, Southern Uncovered with the Lee Bros. They are also currently are contributing editors at Travel + Leisure and frequently write food stories for Bon Appetit, The New York Times, Fine Cooking and Food & Wine, among other publications. Matt and Ted joined Walter Edgar recently to talk about the new show, Southern food and culture, and their latest projects.

-- All Stations: Fri, Oct 16, 12 pm | News Stations: Sun, Oct 18, 4 pm --

  

Harper Lee being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, November 5, 2007.
White House photo by Eric Draper via Wikimedia Commons

  Dr. Robert Brinkmeyer, Director of the Institute of Southern Studies at the University of South Carolina, talks with Walter Edgar about Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchmen (Harper Collins, 2015), as well as To Kill a Mockingbird and its place in Southern literature.

Walter Edgar's Journal
All Stations: Fri, Oct 9, 12 pm
News Stations: Sun, Oct 11, 4 pm


  This week's special Pledge Edition of Walter Edgar's Journal features an encore of segments from Walter's January 16th conversation with South Carolina author Ron Rash.

-- All Stations: Fri, Oct 2, 12 pm | News Stations: Sun, Oct 4, 4 pm --


Georgia O'Keeffe
Alfred Stieglitz [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

  In 1915, Georgia O'Keeffe radically redefined herself as an artist. Rejecting all she had done before, she found her voice with a series of black and white charcoal drawings she collectively titled, Specials. Her great Charleston friend, Anita Pollitzer, took these drawings, unbeknownst to the artist, and showed them to Alfred Stieglitz (noted American photographer, gallery owner, and promoter of modern art) who proclaimed, "At last, a woman on paper." This was the beginning of one of the most important careers in all of American art.

Will South, of the Columbia Museum of Art, and Dr. Erika Doss, of the University of Notre Dame, talk about O’Keeffe’s life and work, including the Specials, which she created while teaching at Columbia College in 1915 and 1916. They’ll also talk about the ongoing O’Keeffe exhibition at the Museum, Her Carolina Story.

-- All Stations: Fri, Sep 25, 12 pm | News Stations: Sun, Sep 27, 4 pm --


The Shifting Meaning of the Confederate Battle Flag

Sep 14, 2015

    Since the early 1960s the Confederate battle flag had been flying at the South Carolina State House--at first, on the Capitol dome; then, as the result of an NAACP boycott of businesses in the state, it was moved to the Confederate Soldiers monument. On July 10, 2015, as a result of growing public pressure following the shooting deaths of the pastor and eight parishioners of Emanuel A. M. E. Church in Charleston, the flag was removed to a museum.

This week on Walter Edgar's Journal, Dr. Bobby Donaldson, a historian from the University of South Carolina, and Dr. James Cobb, Phinizy Spalding Distinguished Professor of History at the University of Georgia, join Dr. Edgar to look at the history of the battle flag and other Confederate symbols, and at how their meanings have changed over the years. 

All Stations: Fri, Sep 18, 12 pm | News Stations: Sun, Sep 20, 4 pm


  South Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Jean Toal is retiring at the end of 2015. First elected to the court in 1988, Toal has served as its chief since 2000. This week on Walter Edgar's Journal, Toal joins Dr, Edgar to talk about her career and about the changes she has helped bring to South Carolina’s court systems. And she gives a preview of her upcoming James Otis Lecture, September 18th.

All Stations: Fri, Sep 11, 12 pm | News Stations: Sun, Sep 13, 4 pm


James McTeer II
Hub City Writers Project

(Originally broadcast 06/30/15) --Betsy Teter, Executive Director--and one of the co-founders--of the Hub City Writer's Project talks with Walter Edgar about twenty years of Hub City. Novelist James McTeer II joins the conversation to talk about, Minnow, the winner of the South Carolina First Novel Prize, sponsored by the South Carolina Arts Commission and Hub City Press.


Dr. John Marzsalek
Mississippi State University

  In his book, Sherman: A Soldier’s Passion for Order (Free Press, 1992) John F. Marszalek presents general William Tecumseh Sherman as a complicated man who, fearing anarchy, searched for the order that he hoped would make his life a success. Dr. Marszalek talks with Walter Edgar about Sherman as a military commander who came to abhor what he saw as the senseless slaughter of the War, and who sought a different strategy to bring the South to surrender. (Originally broadcast 04/10/15)

---All Stations: Fri, Aug 28, 12 pm | News Stations: Sun, Aug 30, 4 pm---

  (Originally broadcast 03/20/15) --- In a remarkable reappraisal of Lincoln, the distinguished historian O. Vernon Burton shows how the president’s authentic Southernness empowered him to conduct a civil war that redefined freedom as a personal right to be expanded to all Americans. In the violent decades to follow, the extent of that freedom would be contested but not its central place in what defined the country.

This conversation was recorded before a live audience as part of the series Conversations on the Civil War, sponsored by the University of South Carolina’s College of Arts and Humanities and Institute for Southern Studies.

--- All Stations: Fri, Aug 21, 12 pm | News Stations: Sun, Aug 23, 4 pm ---


Pages