Walter Edgar

South Carolina Between World Wars: The Impact of the New Deal

By Walter Edgar

A mural entitled "Past and Present Agriculture and Industry of Colleton County" painted by Sheffield Kagy in 1938 When the stock market crashed in 1929, ushering in the Great Depression, South Carolina was already in dire financial straits. Cotton prices had plummeted, even before the boll weevil had decimated the crop. Years of non-sustainable practices in cotton farming had ruined thousands of acres of farmland. And, the textile industry had crashed. Then came Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal programs, which altered the physical, social, and economic landscape of South Carolina. In the second of our programs on South Carolina Between the World Wars , Dr. Kerry Taylor, a specialist in twentieth-century...

What Does Freedom Mean? The Agency of Black People Before and After Emancipation

By Walter Edgar

Juneteenth Celebration, Texas 1905On June 19th, 1865, Union general Gordon Granger read federal orders in Galveston, Texas, that all previously enslaved people in Texas were free. The news of Emancipation had finally come to the state. Today, this day is celebrated as Juneteenth. What did it mean to these newly freed people to "be free"? What power, or "agency" did freedom bring? What agency had the enslaved managed to create before Emancipation? Dr. Heather Andrea Williams of Pennsylvania State University has spent her career putting black people at the center of the histories she has written. She joins Dr. Walter Edgar for...

"S" is for South Carolina Equal Suffrage League

By Walter Edgar

South Carolina From A to Z"S" is for South Carolina Equal Suffrage League. The South Carolina Equal Suffrage League (SCESL) was formed by the Spartanburg New Era Club and other members of the white South Carolina Federation of Women’s Clubs in 1914. Hannah Hemphill Coleman was elected the first president of the organization—which was affiliated with the National American Woman Suffrage Association. By 1917, the membership of the SCESL had grown to twenty-five clubs and some three thousand members. The organization lobbied the Democratic Party and the General Assembly to put the question of woman suffrage before the...

"G" is for Grimké, Sarah Moore and Angelina Emily Grimké

By Walter Edgar

Sarah Moore and Angelina Emily Grimké"G" is for Grimké, Sarah Moore and Angelina Emily Grimké. Although members of the upper echelon of South Carolina society, the Grimké sisters rejected a privileged lifestyle rooted in a slave economy and became nationally known abolitionists. Both were members of the Ladies Benevolent Society and visited the homes of poor whites and free blacks in the city. By 1830, both sisters had moved to Philadelphia. They joined the American Antislavery Society and became the first female antislavery agents—speaking out against racial prejudice and using their firsthand experiences in South Carolina as...

Work and Economy in South Carolina During World War I

By Walter Edgar

Spinners and doffers in Lancaster Cotton Mills. Lancaster, S.C., circa 1912.South Carolina in 1918 was still struggling with the changes to its economic and social systems brought about by the Civil War and Reconstruction. The United States’ entry into World War I affected the daily work life of South Carolinians and the state’s economy in a way that was unique to our state. This week, guest host, Dr. Mark Smith of the University of South Carolina, talks with Dr. James C. Cobb, B. Phinizy Spalding Professor of History Emeritus of the University of Georgia, about South Carolina’s Economy during World War I. This conversation was recorded at the University of South...