Walter Edgar's Journal
Summary: From books to barbecue, and current events to Colonial history, historian and author Walter Edgar delves into the arts, culture, and history of South Carolina and the American South. Produced by South Carolina Public Radio.
Pat Conroy’s memoirs and autobiographical novels contain a great deal about his life, but there is much he hasn’t revealed with readers until now. My Exaggerated Life (2018, University of South Carolina Press) is the product of a special collaboration between this great American author and oral biographer Katherine Clark, who recorded two hundred hours of conversations with Conroy before he passed away in 2016. In the spring and summer of 2014, the two spoke for an hour or more on the phone
In 2007, while researching mountain culture in upstate South Carolina, anthropologist John M. Coggeshall stumbled upon the small community of Liberia in the Blue Ridge foothills. There he met Mable Owens Clarke and her family, the remaining members of a small African American community still living on land obtained immediately after the Civil War. In his new book, Liberia, South Carolina: An African American Appalachian Community This intimate history tells the story of five generations of the
This year marks the 200th anniversary of the founding of the Diocese of Charleston by Pope Pius VII. This makes it the seventh oldest Roman Catholic diocese in the United States. At that time, the diocese comprised the states of Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. In spite of a ban on Catholicism in the Colonial era, it arrived in Carolina much earlier than 1820 via both colonists and enslaved persons.
On January 17, 1781, at Cowpens, South Carolina, the notorious British cavalry officer Banastre Tarleton and his legion were destroyed along with the cream of Lord Cornwallis’s troops. The man who planned and executed this stunning American victory was Daniel Morgan. Once a barely literate backcountry laborer, Morgan now stood at the pinnacle of American martial success.
How did conceptions of a tradition-bound, "timeless" South shape Americans' views of themselves and their society's political and cultural fragmentations, following the turbulent 1960s? In his book, The South of the Mind: American Imaginings of White Southerness, 1960–1980 (2018, UGA Press), Zachary J. Lechner bridges the fields of southern studies and southern history in an effort to answer that question.
In his 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. Andrew vividly depicts Pickens
In Yes, Lord, I Know the Road: A Documentary History of African Americans in South Carolina, 1526 – 2008 (2017, USC Press) Dr. J. Brent Morris brings together a wide variety of annotated primary-source documents to highlight the significant people, events, social and political movements, and ideas that have shaped black life in South Carolina and beyond.
In the months following the May 1780 capture of Charleston, South Carolina, by combined British and loyalist forces, British soldiers arrested sixty-three paroled American prisoners and transported them to the borderland town of St. Augustine, East Florida—territory under British control since the French and Indian War. In their new book, Patriots in Exile: Charleston Rebels in St. Augustine during The American Revolution (2020, USC Press), James Waring McCrady and C. L. Bragg chronicle the
In her new book, Stories of Struggle: The Clash over Civil Rights in South Carolina (2020, USC Press), journalist Claudia Smith Brinson details the lynchings, beatings, cross burnings, and venomous hatred that black South Carolinians endured—as well as the astonishing courage, dignity, and compassion of those who risked their lives for equality.
Ed Madden, Columbia's Poet Laureate, writes that poet Tim Conroy “is a theologian of the best kind, a theologian of the ordinary.”
(Originally broadcast 03/29/19) - In 1700, a young man named John Lawson left London and landed in Charleston, South Carolina, hoping to make a name for himself. For reasons unknown, he soon undertook a two-month journey through the still-mysterious Carolina backcountry. His travels yielded A New Voyage to Carolina in 1709, one of the most significant early American travel narratives, rich with observations about the region's environment and Indigenous people. Lawson later helped found North
For centuries residents of Charleston, SC, have made many attempts, both public and private, to manipulate the landscape of the low-lying peninsula on which Charleston sits, surrounded by wetlands, to maximize drainage, and thus buildable land and to facilitate sanitation. In her book, Lowcountry at High Tide: A History of Flooding, Drainage, and Reclamation in Charleston, South Carolina (2020, USC Press), Christina Rae Butler uses three hundred years of archival records to show not only the
It is hard to imagine what South Carolina would be today if not for the then-British colony of Barbados. From the settlement of this West Indian island in 1627 to the time of Carolina's settlement in 1670, Barbados changed from an uninhabited island to a Colony where land owners created small plantations using indentured laborers in the quest to find the most profitable cash crop and then to a mostly-clear-cut land that was planted with sugar cane, almost to the ocean's edge. Sugar, with the
Since its first publication in 1968, Bill C. Malone’s Country Music USA has won universal acclaim as the definitive history of American country music. Starting with the music’s folk roots in the rural South, it traces country music from the early days of radio into the twenty-first century. In the 2019, fiftieth-anniversary edition, Malone, the featured historian in Ken Burns’ 2019 documentary on country music, revised every chapter to offer new information and fresh insights.
Spanning the decades between the late 1890s and early 1960s, The Johnson Collection’s new exhibition and its companion book, Central to Their Lives: Southern Women Artists in the Johnson Collection, examine the particularly complex challenges Southern women artists confronted in a traditionally conservative region during a period in which women’s social, cultural, and political roles were being redefined and reinterpreted. How did the variables of historical gender norms, educational barriers,