SC Features

Interviews, profiles, and and informational programming about the Palmetto State.

Lucy Wichmann and her grandmother Marianne Wichmann, Charleston, 2012
StoryCorps

This edition of Narrative features an interview from StoryCorps, a unique oral history project that collects the voices of our times. When StoryCorps visited Charleston, Lucy Wichmann talked with her grandmother Marianne Wichmann who grew up in England during World War II and later moved to the states with her husband Fred Wichman. Marianne passed away in 2014 at age 81. In this 2012 interview, Marianne describes her early impressions of America in the 1950s.

The exact nature of the crescent which adorns the corner of the South Carolina state flag has been the subject of debate for years.  Is it a moon, as many people say?  Two state historians say it sure looks like one, but according to the flag's creator, t
Wikimedia Commons [CC0 1.0]

South Carolina is widely acknowledged to have one of the most beautiful state flags in the country.   The palmetto tree is obviously a beloved icon of the state.  But what about that crescent shape in the corner?  Many people call it a moon but is it really?  

Narrative: A New Father's Hopes for His Daughters

Sep 11, 2017
L. Kobie Wilkerson and his mother Ida Charmaine Wilkerson-Morton, Columbia, 2016.
StoryCorps

This edition of Narrative features an interview from StoryCorps, an oral history project where friends and loved ones interview each other. At the StoryCorps mobile booth in Columbia in 2016, L. Kobie Wilkerson talked with his mother Ida Charmaine Wilkerson-Morton about their family and his hopes for raising his two young daughters after her example.

Each of these silver spoons has a story to tell, and Dawn Corley knows them all.
Tut Underwood/ SC Public Radio

Dawn Corley of Charleston began collecting silver as a child under the tutelage of her great aunt.  As her collection grew, so did her expertise, until SCETV’s Beryl Dakers dubbed her the “Charleston Silver Lady,” a nickname which has stuck over the years.  Corley has presented programs on silver for U.S.

A telltale red hourglass shape identifies the black widow spider, a native of South Carolina.
Shenrich91 [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

People who leave their shoes on the porch to air out would do well to shake and inspect them before putting them back on, especially if left out overnight.  According to naturalists Rudy Mancke and Chick Gaddy, black widow spiders love to shelter there.   And even in the driest closets, attics or basements, brown recluses may lurk.  These are potentially deadly spiders that have rightly earned fearsome reputations.   

Lisa Wilcox and Sarah Leverette, Columbia 2016.
StoryCorps

This edition of Narrative features an interview from StoryCorps, a unique oral history project that collects the voices of our times. 96-year-old Sarah Leverette graduated from USC', Law School in 1943, one of the first women to attend. Here (in this interview from late 2016), Leverette tells her friend Lisa Wilcox about her experience breaking down barriers to practice law.

The world's hottest pepper- the Carolina Reaper, grown in Fort Mill.
Tut Underwood/ SC Public Radio

Many people distinguish themselves in the worlds of sports, entertainment, writing and other endeavors.  Ed Currie of Fort Mill has distinguished himself in a much hotter manner:  he holds the Guinness world record for the hottest pepper on earth, his self-developed Carolina Reaper.  He grows many varieties of peppers for the food industry, but it’s the Reaper that makes some hot-sauce aficionados rethink how tough they are.  In addition to setting people’s insides on fire, however, Currie says the pepper has other uses in the paint, medical and defense industries.

Eclipsing the Occult in Early America: Benjamin Franklin and His Almanacs

Aug 11, 2017
Benjamin Franklin seated, reading a manuscript which he holds in his left hand. Benjamin Franklin by David Rent Etter, after Charles Willson Peale, after David Martin (1835)
National Park Service

(THE CONVERSATION) By the time he was 20 years old, colonial American Benjamin Franklin had already spent two years working as a printer in London. He returned to Philadelphia in 1726. During the sea voyage home, he kept a journal that included many of his observations of the natural world. Franklin was inquisitive, articulate and interested in mastering the universe.

During one afternoon calm on September 14, Franklin wrote,

Before the afternoon showing of the play, cast members in full costume show children what it is like to carry and shoot muskets, bayonets and rifles.
Thelisha Eaddy/ SC Public Radio

The Battle of Kings Mountain took place in rural South Carolina on October 7, 1780, just nine miles south of the present-day town of Kings Mountain, North Carolina. There, Patriot militia defeated the Loyalist militia during the Southern campaign of the Revolutionary War.

USC Library Shines Light on Eclipses in Literature

Aug 3, 2017
Astronomy text from the Robert Arial collection, image for personal research use only.
Makayla Gay

Columbia is preparing for an estimated million visitors to come this month to witness a total solar eclipse, a scientific phenomenon that inspires awe and wonder in those who view it. The world goes dark in daytime as the moon completely covers the sun. Imagine what it must have been like for people in the past who didn’t necessarily understand what was happening.

Columbia Rock-n-Roll Camp Puts Girls in the Spotlight

Jul 25, 2017
Girls Rock Columbia Founder and Executive Director, Mollie Williamson
Laura Hunsberger/SC Public Radio

With participants across the country and world, the Girls Rock Camp Alliance is made up of organizations that hold annual camps to empower girls through rock music. In each week-long day camp, kids are assigned a musical instrument: bass, electric guitar, drums, key board, or vocals. Many campers have never picked up a musical instrument before. Mollie Williamson is the founder and executive director of Girls Rock Columbia. This will be Williamson's last camp as she steps down as executive director to pursue her Master's degree out of state.

Narrative: Husband and Wife Puppeteers Continue the Family Business

Jul 24, 2017
Puppeteers John and Karri Scollon demonstrate bringing two marionettes to life.
Makayla Gay/SC Public Radio

This edition of Narrative features an interview with John and Karri Scollon of the Columbia Marionette Theater. John’s mother, Allie Scollon, began creating puppet shows in the sixth grade, which grew into a lifetime of traveling the country, putting on shows with her husband and children. Allie is a contemporary of Jim Henson, and the family started one of world’s largest companies producing walking character costumes.

From Russia to the US and Back, a Mother and Daughter's Journey in Dance

Jul 21, 2017
Irina Ushakova at the Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities in Greenville.
Makayla Gay / South Carolina Public Radio

At the Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities in Greenville, Irina Ushakova teaches ballet and pointe. A native of Russia, Irina says she’s definitely different from most American teachers. Irina’s strict teaching style is influenced by her training in Russia at the Perm State Ballet School. She now calls South Carolina home, but her daughter decided to follow in her footsteps by training in Russia. South Carolina Public Radio's Laura Hunsberger has more.

Nonprofit PASOs Provides Resources for State’s Underserved Latino Population

Jul 11, 2017
Ana Cossio and Julie Smithwick at PASOs' office in Columbia, SC
Haley Kellner / South Carolina Public Radio

PASOs is a nonprofit that provides resources for the Latino community to take steps towards a healthier population. Here, South Carolina Public Radio’s Laura Hunsberger talks with the Executive Director, Julie Smithwick, and the Midland’s Director, Ana Cossio, about the organizations return to their primary mission.

Kudzu failed to deliver on its promise as erosion control, but spread so fast it has become an icon of the South.
Tut Underwood/SC Public Radio

A familiar sight on Southern country roads, and sometimes in towns, is kudzu.  The ubiquitous and fast-growing vine was imported from Asia as a decorative plant in the late 19th century, and promoted during the 1930s and 40s as forage for livestock and control for erosion.  According to Clemson Extension agent Dr. Tim Davis, it didn’t quite work out that way.  The plant, which can grow up to a foot a day, spread rapidly throughout the South.  But Davis and Dr.

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