Victoria Hansen

Charleston Authors Hold onto Hope for Racial Reconcilation

By Victoria Hansen

Crews work to remove the statue of John C. Calhoun from Charleston's Marion Square.  June 24, 2020.In the months following the unimaginable church massacre at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, a poet, a journalist and an historian came together to write a book. They wanted to explain to a nation not only what happened, but why. Why were nine Black parishioners gunned down by a white stranger? Five years later, the authors of "We Are Charleston" find themselves trying to explain again why more African Americans continue to be killed across the country, repeatedly and publicly, this time by white police officers. "You think of all that we went through in this town and all that these...

Calhoun Statue Overlooking Charleston Takes Time to Come Down

By Victoria Hansen

People rush to see the face of John C. Calhoun as the statue is taken down after more than 124 years.  June 24, 2020It’s been nearly impossible to see the face of John C. Calhoun perched atop a more than 100- foot pedestal over the Charleston city skyline for 124 years, but now the likeness of the South Carolina statesman is gone. It took time to take down. Calhoun was a former State Senator and Vice President of the United States. But he was also a well-known advocate of racist policies, especially slavery. The Debate His stature in one of the city’s most prominent parks, Marion Square, has been debated for years. Many thought the figure should come down in 2015 following the murders on nine Black...

Statue of John C. Calhoun Comes Down in Charleston

By Victoria Hansen

John C. Calhoun statue is set down before a cheering crowdA statue of John C. Calhoun has stood atop a perch of more than one hundred feet over Marion Square for 124 years and it was no easy task taking the likeness down. Calhoun was a former State Senator and Vice President of the United States. But he was also well known as an advocate of racist policies and slavery. His stature in one of the city's most prominent parks has been debated for years. There were calls for the figure's removal in 2015 following the murders of nine black parishioners at the hands of a racist gunman at Mother Emanuel AME Church just down the street. Those calls recently...

Chris Singleton, Son of Emanuel AME Shooting Victim, Pens Book for Anniversary

By Victoria Hansen

Chris Singleton's book "Different"Five years ago, Chris Singleton was a carefree college student dreaming of playing professional baseball when he got the call that changed his life. "I'll never forget it," says Singleton. "I was 18 years-old and I got a call from my mom's phone actually and the lady on the other end was saying 'Chris you got to get down here right now something bad happened.' " A stranger welcomed to bible study at Mother Emanuel AME Church in downtown Charleston had pulled out a gun while the parishioner's eyes were closed in prayer. He fired more than 70 rounds leaving nine people dead, including Chris's...

Charleston Business Owners Face Violence Following George Floyd Protests

By Victoria Hansen

Businesses boarded up on King Street in CharlestonThe city that displayed a wealth of grace in the aftermath of the massacre at Mother Emanuel and the shooting death of Walter Scott somehow succumbed Saturday night to the violence erupting nationwide following yet another senseless death, this time thousands of miles away in Minnesota. “The mob just started breaking all the windows,” he says. “Over the next 90 minutes we had roaming gangs of anywhere from eight to 12 people come in.” The Violence Terrified customers fled, as looters trashed his business, stole wine and set fire to the back. Schneider’s son says he heard gunfire up the street...

Reopening Too Soon? Lowcountry Mayor and Charleston Historian Reflect on the Spanish Flu

By Victoria Hansen

Mount Pleasant Mayor Will HaynieIt was the fall of 1918. Charleston had quickly gone from a bustling city to a vacant, ghost town. People were quarantined for five weeks because of a deadly pandemic. They were restless, eager to get back to business as usual. Sound familiar? Under Quarantine 1918 "Something we all in Charleston are experiencing right now happened in a very similar way,” says College of Charleston historian Jacob Steere-Williams. He's been studying pandemics for 20 years. The current coronavirus is much different than the Spanish Flu that claimed more than 50 million lives worldwide in 2018 and 2019. But...

Cooper River Bridge Run Cancelled Because of Coronavirus

By Victoria Hansen

Cooper River Bridge Run participants lining up in Mount Pleasant April 2014It's one of the state's largest sporting events people can take part in and it's never been postponed or cancelled before, until now. The 43rd annual Cooper River Bridge run initially moved from April to August because of the coronavirus pandemic is officially off. The 10 K connects the town of Mount Pleasant with the city of Charleston and the mayors of both communities issued a statement Friday. "These are truly unprecedented times and, as the situation is constantly evolving, we believe that this decision is in the best interest of all our citizens and visitors." Race organizers issued a...

SC Prison Inmates Sue for Early Release as Coronavirus Claims Lives Inside

By Victoria Hansen

Mark Trammell fighting for early release because he has stage four liver cancer and recently suffered a heart attack. 51 year-old Chris Varner of Anderson found love late in life. He's been married to Gay Stanley for nearly a year. They've spent much of their time together, apart. He worries he may never see her again. "I honestly believe it would be the end of her if she catches it," says Varner. His 48 year-old spouse is vulnerable to the coronavirus. She has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD. It's a lung disease that makes it hard to breathe. "This could turn into a death sentence for her." - Chris Varner talking about his wife who's behind bars But as much as he'd like, Varner can't protect...

Local Stores Face Challenges Re-opening in Charleston

By Victoria Hansen

Half-Moon Outfitters assistant store manager Brent Ferguson (left) and a co-worker prepare for customersIt's one of those warm days when a little free air conditioning would feel good strolling along King Street in Charleston. But despite the governor's executive order allowing retailers to re-open during the coronavirus pandemic, many store doors remain padlocked. "We've been through a few world wars and a couple of depressions," says Gary Flynn, part owner of M. Dumas and Sons. "We'll get through this too." The upscale men's clothing store at the corner of King and Society Streets is open, and that's not surprising. The business has been around for 103 years. "You know, we will learn...

Charleston Teen at High Risk for COVID-19 Finds Hope in Home Dialysis

By Victoria Hansen

Mary Ashley tries to stay busy while staying home with her sister Allison during the coronavirus pandemicMary Ashley Barbot of Charleston was supposed to be in Los Angeles, California this week; not for vacation but for a potentially lifesaving treatment. The coronavirus pandemic put the brakes on her plans and accelerated the concerns of her already worried parents. The 16 year-old was born with congenital nephrotic syndrome which required she undergo a kidney transplant at just 20 months old. The condition also caused development delays and hearing loss. Mary Ashley's body later rejected the kidney. She's been on a transplant waiting list for seven years. But a buildup of antibodies has made...

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