Walter Edgar's Journal

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Synopsis

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.

Episodes

  • Enabling Veterans in South Carolina to live their best lives

    27/06/2022 Duration: 01h59min

    In 2020, Maj. General (Ret.) William F. Grimsley became South Carolina's first Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs. From the beginning, Grimsley and his staff have defined the purpose of the new Department of Veterans’ Affairs as leading and enabling “a state-wide coalition of partners to create and sustain an environment in which Veterans and their families can thrive as valued and contributing members of the South Carolina community and the Nation.”Grimsley talks with Walter Edgar about how the Department strives to achieve that purpose and the way it is expanding and building partnerships to do so.

  • American Landmark: Charles Duell and the Rebirth of Middleton Place

    20/06/2022 Duration: 01h59min

    Charles Duell inherited the historic properties Middleton Place and the Edmondston-Alston House, Charleston, SC, in 1969. He was 31 years old.A graduate of Yale, he had begun a career in finance on Wall Street. But the circumstances of his sudden inheritance compelled him to leave New York City and move his family to South Carolina. There he would take up the challenge of reviving the houses, gardens, and forestlands of his forebears. He convinced countless relatives, friends, and associates to work with him. Virginia Beach, author of American Landmark: Charles Duell and the Rebirth of Middleton Place, and Tracey Todd, President and CEO of Middleton Place Foundation, talk with Walter Edgar about Duel’s decision to preserve the family seat of his ancestors, and the journey toward its sustainability.

  • The inside story of Hootie and the Blowfish

    13/06/2022 Duration: 02h04min

    In 1985, Mark Bryan heard Darius Rucker singing in a dorm shower at the University of South Carolina and asked him to form a band. For the next eight years, Hootie & the Blowfish—completed by bassist Dean Felber and drummer Soni Sonefeld—played every frat house, roadhouse, and rock club in the mid-Atlantic and Southeast, becoming one of the biggest independent acts in the region.In Only Wanna Be with You (2022, USC Press), Tim Sommer, the ultimate insider who signed Hootie to Atlantic Records, pulls back the curtain on a band that defied record-industry odds to break into the mainstream by playing hacky sack music in the age of grunge.He chronicles the band's indie days; the chart-topping success—and near-cancelation—of their major-label debut, cracked rear view; the year of Hootie (1995) when the album reached no. 1, the "Only Wanna Be with You" music video collaboration with ESPN's SportsCenter became a sensation, and the band inspired a plotline on the TV show Friends; the lean years from the late 1990

  • Baptists and Bootleggers

    06/06/2022 Duration: 01h58min

    In her book, Baptists and Bootleggers: A Prohibition Expedition Through the South (2021, Evening Post Books) Kathryn Smith takes you to major cities and small towns, all of which struggled between the Baptists and their teetotaling allies who preached temperance and the bootleggers who got rich providing what their customers couldn’t buy legally.Smith talks with Walter Edgar about her Prohibition expedition through hotels, bars, speakeasies, museums and cemeteries, and shares some vintage cocktail recipes she picked up along the way.

  • The growth and value of "public history"

    05/06/2022 Duration: 58min

    Dr. Constance Schulz, Distinguished Professor Emerita of the University of South Carolina’s Public History Program, joins Walter Edgar this week to talk about the importance of “public history” and how it has evolved as a field of study over the last 50 years. Schultz is the winner of the Robert Kelley Memorial Award from the National Council on Public History.She is currently at work on The Pinckney Papers Project – based on two digital documentary editions: The Papers of Eliza Lucas Pinckney and Harriott Pinckney Horry and The Papers of the Revolutionary Era Pinckney Statesmen – which explores one of our South Carolina’s most prominent families, specifically examining the importance of women's social connections and relationships during that time.

  • Timmonsville native Johnny D. Boggs writes about the historic frontier - whether it's in South Carolina or in Texas

    23/05/2022 Duration: 01h09min

    Timmonsville native Johnny D. Boggs has worked cattle, been bucked off horses, shot rapids in a canoe, hiked across mountains and deserts, traipsed around ghost towns, and spent hours poring over microfilm in library archives -- all in the name of finding a good story. He was won a record nine Spur Awards from Western Writers of America, a Western Heritage Wrangler Award from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, and has been called by Booklist magazine "among the best western writers at work today."He joins Walter Edgar to talk about his career, his love of the American West, and about his new book, The Cobbler of Spanish Fort and Other Frontier Stories (2022, Five Star Publishing).

  • Shrimp Tales

    16/05/2022 Duration: 51min

    Shrimp, one of our most delicious food sources, was once only considered worthy of bait. In her new book, Shrimp Tales: Small Bites of History (2022, Primedia eLaunch), author Beverly Bowers Jennings tells the fascinating story of the shrimp industry, from the shrimp boats and their captains to fishing family lore, tasty recipes and more.Jennings talks with Walter Edgar about what she learned in a decade spent interviewing shrimpers and others associated with commercial shrimping to produce permanent exhibits for the Port Royal Sound Maritime Center and the Coastal Discovery Museum on Hilton Head. That work served as the basis of Shrimp Tales, a book that reveals the old ways of shrimping and celebrates today’s awakening about the foods we eat and the people who make it all happen.

  • Into the light: the electrification of rural South Carolina

    09/05/2022 Duration: 52min

    Early in the twentieth century, for-profit companies such as Duke Power and South Carolina Electric and Gas brought electricity to populous cities and towns across South Carolina, while rural areas remained in the dark. It was not until the advent of publicly owned electric cooperatives in the 1930s that the South Carolina countryside was gradually introduced to the conveniences of life with electricity. Today, electric cooperatives serve more than a quarter of South Carolina's citizens and more than seventy percent of the state's land area.In his book, Empowering Communities: How Electric Cooperatives Transformed Rural South Carolina (USC Press, 2022), Dr. Lacy K. Ford and co-author Jared Bailey tell the story of the rise of "public" power – electricity serviced by member-owned cooperatives and sanctioned by federal and state legislation. It is a complicated saga, encompassing politics, law, finance, and rural economic development, of how the cooperatives helped bring fundamental and transformational change

  • To the End of the World: Nathanael Greene, Charles Cornwallis, and the Race to the Dan

    02/05/2022 Duration: 51min

    “In the most barren inhospitable unhealthy part of North America, opposed by the most savage, inveterate perfidious cruel Enemy, with zeal and with Bayonets only, it was resolv’d to follow Green’s Army, to the end of the World.” So wrote British general Charles O’Hara about the epic confrontation between Nathanael Greene and Charles Cornwallis during the winter of 1780-81. Only Greene’s starving, threadbare Continentals stood between Cornwallis and control of the South—and a possible end to the American rebellion.This week on Walter Edgar's Journal, author Andrew Waters talks with Walter Edgar about a compelling chapter of the American Revolution. Waters is author of the book, To the End of the World: Nathanael Greene, Charles Cornwallis, and the Race to the Dan (2021, Westholme).

  • The Grim Years: Settling South Carolina, 1670 - 1720

    25/04/2022 Duration: 52min

    In his book, The Grim Years: Settling South Carolina, 1670-1720 (2020, University of SC Press), Dr. John Navin explains how eight English aristocrats, the Lords Proprietors, came to possess the vast Carolina land grant and then enacted elaborate plans to recruit and control colonists as part of a grand moneymaking scheme. In his conversation with Walter Edgar, Navin tells of a cadre of men who rose to political and economic prominence, while ordinary colonists, enslaved Africans, and indigenous groups became trapped in a web of violence and oppression.Threatened by the Native Americans they exploited, by the Africans they enslaved, and by their French and Spanish rivals, white South Carolinians lived in continual fear. For some it was the price they paid for financial success. But for most there were no riches, and the possibility of a sudden, violent death was overshadowed by the misery of their day-to-day existence.

  • Open Space Institute works in concert with others to protect South Carolina's scenic, natural, and historic landscapes

    20/04/2022 Duration: 51min

    The Open Space Institute’s mission is to protect scenic, natural, and historic landscapes to provide public enjoyment, conserve habitat and working lands, and sustain communities. Over the past 40 years, the institute has saved 2,285,092 acres of land through direct acquisition, grants, and loans. Having begun by focusing on land in New York State, they have in recent years saved significant, complex, and large-scale tracts in South Carolina, Florida, and New Jersey through direct acquisitions.In December 2022, the Open Space Institute (OSI) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) announced the purchase of three properties along the Santee River in South Carolina, expanding the largest contiguous block of protected coastal lands in the state. OSI’s Vice-President and Director of the Southeast, Maria Whitehead, joins Walter Edgar to talk about the acquisition and about the Institute’s plans for land protection in the state.

  • Enabling Veterans in South Carolina to live their best lives

    11/04/2022 Duration: 51min

    In 2020, Maj. General (Ret.) William F. Grimsley became South Carolina's first Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs. From the beginning, Grimsley and his staff have defined the purpose of the new Department of Veterans’ Affairs as leading and enabling “a state-wide coalition of partners to create and sustain an environment in which Veterans and their families can thrive as valued and contributing members of the South Carolina community and the Nation.”Grimsley talks with Walter Edgar about how the Department strives to achieve that purpose and the way it is expanding and building partnerships to do so.

  • The myths and hard facts of the Atlantic slave trade

    04/04/2022 Duration: 51min

    For many years scholars made assumptions about how Europeans traded with West Africans for other, enslaved Africans, about how many voyages were made by slave ships to the English colonies in North America before 1808, and about why the institution of slavery almost died out in New England. Beginning in the late 1960s, however, a movement began that challenged these assumptions and the viewpoints of generations of Euro-centric scholars began to give way to work by data-driven historians.Dr. Donald Wright, Distinguished Teaching Professor Emeritus at the State University of New York College at Cortland, is one of the historians who was part of this sea change in scholarship. He spent decades writing about African history, beginning as graduate student collecting oral histories in Gambia, as well as African American history, and Atlantic history. His books include Oral Traditions from the Gambia and African Americans in the Colonial Era: From African Origins Through the American Revolution.This week Walter Edga

  • Liberty is Sweet: The Hidden History of the American Revolution

    31/03/2022 Duration: 52min

    In his new book, Liberty is Sweet: The Hidden History of the American Revolution (2021, Simon and Schuster), Dr. Woody Holton gives a sweeping reassessment of the American Revolution, showing how the Founders were influenced by overlooked Americans—women, Native Americans, African Americans, and religious dissenters.Using more than a thousand eyewitness accounts, Holton explores countless connections between the Patriots of 1776 and other Americans whose passion for freedom often brought them into conflict with the Founding Fathers.Woody Holton joins Walter Edgar to talk about this “hidden history.”

  • The Federal Courts and the Long Struggle for Civil Rights in South Carolina

    21/03/2022 Duration: 51min

    In his book, The Slow Undoing: The Federal Courts and the Long Struggle for Civil Rights in South Carolina, Dr. Stephen H. Lowe argues for a reconsideration of the role of the federal courts in the civil rights movement. It places the courts as a central battleground at the intersections of struggles over race, law, and civil rights. During the long civil rights movement, Black and White South Carolinians used the courts as a venue to contest the meanings of the constitution, justice, equality, and citizenship.Lowe joins Walter Edgar to discuss how African Americans used courts and direct action in tandem to bring down legal segregation throughout the long civil rights era.

  • Stephen A. Swails - a forgotten Black freedom fighter in the Civil War & Reconstruction

    14/03/2022 Duration: 51min

    Stephen Atkins Swails is a forgotten American hero. A free Black in the North before the Civil War began, Swails exhibited such exemplary service in the 54th Massachusetts Infantry that he became the first African American commissioned as a combat officer in the United States military. After the war, Swails remained in South Carolina, where he held important positions in the Freedmen’s Bureau, helped draft a progressive state constitution, served in the state senate, and secured legislation benefiting newly liberated Black citizens. Swails remained active in South Carolina politics after Reconstruction until violent Redeemers drove him from the state.Gordon C. Rhea tells Swails' story in his new biography, Stephen A. Swails: Black Freedom Fighter in the Civil War and Reconstruction (2021, LSU Press. Rhea talks with Walter Edgar about the saga of this indomitable human being who confronted deep-seated racial prejudice in various institutions but nevertheless reached significant milestones in the fight for raci

  • American Landmark: Charles Duell and the Rebirth of Middleton Place

    07/03/2022 Duration: 51min

    Charles Duell inherited the historic properties Middleton Place and the Edmondston-Alston House, Charleston, SC, in 1969. He was 31 years old.A graduate of Yale, he had begun a career in finance on Wall Street. But the circumstances of his sudden inheritance compelled him to leave New York City and move his family to South Carolina. There he would take up the challenge of reviving the houses, gardens, and forestlands of his forebears. He convinced countless relatives, friends, and associates to work with him. Virginia Beach, author of American Landmark: Charles Duell and the Rebirth of Middleton Place, and Tracey Todd, President and CEO of Middleton Place Foundation, talk with Walter Edgar about Duel’s decision to preserve the family seat of his ancestors, and the journey toward its sustainability.

  • The River Alliance: Creating Vibrant Riverfront in the Midlands

    28/02/2022 Duration: 51min

    River Alliance CEO Mike Dawson talks with Walter Edgar about how the Alliance has worked together with riverside communities, city and county governments, and many other organizations to create community resources along the Saluda, Broad, and Congaree rivers in the Midlands of South Carolina.

  • Timmonsville native Johnny D. Boggs writes about the historic frontier - whether it's in South Carolina or in Texas

    21/02/2022 Duration: 51min

    Timmonsville native Johnny D. Boggs has worked cattle, been bucked off horses, shot rapids in a canoe, hiked across mountains and deserts, traipsed around ghost towns, and spent hours poring over microfilm in library archives -- all in the name of finding a good story. He was won a record nine Spur Awards from Western Writers of America, a Western Heritage Wrangler Award from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, and has been called by Booklist magazine "among the best western writers at work today."He joins Walter Edgar to talk about his career, his love of the American West, and about his new book, The Cobbler of Spanish Fort and Other Frontier Stories (2022, Five Star Publishing).

  • Baptists and Bootleggers

    14/02/2022 Duration: 51min

    In her book, Baptists and Bootleggers: A Prohibition Expedition Through the South (2021, Evening Post Books) Kathryn Smith takes you to major cities and small towns, all of which struggled between the Baptists and their teetotaling allies who preached temperance and the bootleggers who got rich providing what their customers couldn’t buy legally.Smith talks with Walter Edgar about her Prohibition expedition through hotels, bars, speakeasies, museums and cemeteries, and shares some vintage cocktail recipes she picked up along the way.