South Carolina from A to Z

Mon-Fri, throughout the day

From Hilton Head to Caesars Head, and from the Lords Proprietors to Hootie and the Blowfish, historian Walter Edgar mines the riches of the South Carolina Encyclopedia to bring you South Carolina from A to Z. (A production of South Carolina Public Radio.)

South Carolina from A to Z Archives (April 2011 to Sept 2014)

Ways to Connect

"O" is for Organized Labor. Organized labor in South Carolina has colonial roots. As early as 1742 white shipwrights in Charleston protested allegedly unfair competition from slave labor. In 1834 Charleston typographers formed the first union in the state. Black longshoremen organized in 1867, beginning the longest living union in the state. The Knights of Labor had a transitory following in the 1880s. Craft unions appeared about the same time. Columbia’s 1891Labor Day parade, a large two-day celebration indicated the perseverance of craft unions.

"N" is for Nicholson, Francis [1655-1728]. Governor. Before he made his career as a colonial administrator, Nicholson was a soldier. He served as lieutenant governor of New York, Virginia, and Maryland and as governor of Virginia. Returning to England he worked with the Board of Trade on issues of imperial defense and economic policy. In 1710, he led colonial troops that recaptured Nova Scotia for Great Britain. In 1720 he became the first royally appointed governor of South Carolina.

"M" is for Marion, Martin Whiteford [1917-2011]. Baseball player. Marty Marion attended Georgia Tech and then played briefly for Chattanooga in the Southern League. He signed with the St. Louis Cardinals organization in 1936 and was assigned to one of their minor league teams. In 1940 he made his major league debut with the Cardinals and was their regular shortstop until 1950. He was a seven-time All Star and was voted Most Valuable Player and Player of the Year in 1944. He won four pennants and three World Championships in his decade with the Cardinals.

"L" is for Laurens Glass. When deposits of silica, important for glassmaking--were found a few miles north of Laurens, a group of local businessmen organized Laurens Glass Works in 1910. Skilled glassblowers were brought in from Ohio and Pennsylvania. In 1913, the company was reorganized by Albert Dial and shortly thereafter obtained the first license in the country to manufacture Coca-Cola bottles. It remained one of the few suppliers of Coke bottles until after World War II. After the war Laurens Glass expanded—opening plants in North Carolina and Louisiana.

  "K" is for the Ku Klux Klan. The Ku Klux Klan was a paramilitary organization formed during Reconstruction to oppose the Republican Party and restore white supremacy in the South. It was particularly strong in the predominantly white upcountry counties. President U. S. Grant declared a state of rebellion in ten South Carolina counties and suspended the writ of habeas corpus. Many Klan leaders fled the state and the organization ceased to exist.

  "J" is for John D. Hollingsworth on Wheels. John D. Hollingsworth on Wheels was a Greenville-based manufacturer of steel and flexible wire clothing for cards and other machines for spinning preparation. It was founded in 1894 by Pinckney C. Hollingsworth who started a company to repair textile machinery. He carried a lathe and grinder—by mule—to cotton mills in the two Carolinas. He later purchased a used truck and built a large garage-workshop behind his house. He was followed in the business by his son John D. Hollingsworth and grandson. J.D.

  "I" is for Irvin, Willis [1890-1950]. Architect. After graduating from Georgia Tech, Irvin established a practice in Augusta. For nearly 30 years he was the leading designer of upscale residences throughout the lowcountry. He catered to wealthy clients, including many northerners who bought plantations for use as winter homes.

  "H" is for Hancock, Gordon Blaine [1884-1970]. Educator, writer. After graduating from Benedict College, Hancock became the principal of Seneca Institute in Oconee County. After receiving degrees from Colgate and Harvard he accepted a professorship at Virginia Union University in Richmond. Hancock wrote a weekly column, “Between the Lines” for the Norfolk Journal & Guide, a black newspaper with a national circulation; he also wrote a comparable syndicated column for the Associated Negro Press. The latter ran for three decades in 114 African American newspapers.

  "G" is for the General Textile Strike. On Labor Day 1934, the United Textile Workers [UTW] launched a nationwide strike. Within a week, more than 500,000 workers---including 43,000 in South Carolina-- joined the protest, shutting down two-thirds of the state's textile mills. Factories shut down so rapidly that tabulators lost count. Governor Ibra Blackwood called out the National Guard and Highway Patrol to confront the strikers. Increased tensions between striking workers and mill owners led to confrontations and then, in Honea Path—to violence.

  "F" is for Fishing, commercial. With extensive estuaries and barrier islands, the coastal areas of South Carolina are important regional nurseries for fisheries. The state's commercial fisheries are characterized by small-scale, individual operators harvesting primarily shrimp, offshore finfish, blue crabs, and oysters. Shrimping is the state's largest fishery. The two major shrimp crops are brown shrimp, caught in early summer, and white shrimp, harvested in late summer and throughout the fall.

"M" is for Medicine

Jul 8, 2016

  "M" is for Medicine. In 1734, William Bull, II, became the first native-born American to obtain a European medical degree—at the University in Leyden. The early 19th century gave rise to systematic attempts to improve medicine in South Carolina. In 1817, the legislature created examining boards for physicians, midwives, and apothecaries. Roper Hospital, the first community hospital of any size, opened in 1856.

  "L" is for Longstreet, James Peter [1821-1904]. Soldier. Born in Edgefield District, Longstreet spent his formative years in Georgia and Alabama. After graduating from West Point, he had a successful army career, serving with distinction in the Mexican war and achieving the rank of major. In 1861, he resigned his US Army commission and joined the Confederate Army as a brigadier general. He distinguished himself as a superb military tactician and in 1862 Robert E. Lee made him his second in command.

  "H" is for Historic Preservation. Few states can rival South Carolina’s devotion to history as measured by the preservation and interpretation of places and buildings associated with its past. In many ways, the preservation movement in this country can be traced to the successful efforts of Ann Pamela Cunningham of Laurens to save George Washington’s home, Mount Vernon. In Charleston, the Society for the Preservation of Old Dwellings helped the city create the country’s first historic preservation district and its first historic zoning ordinance.

  "C" is for Charleston Riot (1919). This riot was the earliest major incident in a nationwide outbreak of racial violence that came to be known as the “Red Summer.” Race riots erupted in two dozen American communities between April and October. The trouble began on May 11th with rumors that a black man had shot a white sailor. White servicemen, accompanied by local whites, began destroying black businesses and attacking black passersby. Black Charlestonians defended themselves.

  "B" is for Blair, Frank [1915-1995]. Broadcaster, author. A native of Yemassee, Blair served in the Navy during World War II. A deep-voiced broadcaster, a mainstay of NBC’s “The Today Show” from 1952 to 1975, he got his start in broadcasting at radio station WCSC in Charleston in 1935. After the war, Blair joined NBC and moderated “The American Forum of the Air,” a debate program. When the “Today Show” was launched in 1952, he was named Washington correspondent. During his 23 years on the show, he worked with 25 hosts.

"B" is for Boyd, Blanche McCrary [b. 1945]. Writer, educator. After graduating from Pomona College and receiving an M.A. from Stanford, Boyd—a Charleston native--joined the faculty of Connecticut College. She has been awarded several distinguished fellowships including a National Endowment for the Arts in Fiction Fellowship and a Guggenheim. Boyd has published four novels:  Nerves; Mourning the Magic of Death; The Revolution of Little Girls; and Terminal Velocity. Her fiction reveals a deep concern with the culture of the American South.

"B" is for Boyce, Ker

Jun 30, 2016

"B" is for Boyce, Ker [1787-1854]. Merchant, bank president. Boyce began his career as a clerk and shopkeeper in Newberry. He moved to Charleston where his business ventures thrived and Boyce become a wealthy man and influential member of the city’s business community. Among his successful investments were the Bank of Charleston, the Charleston Hotel, and the Graniteville Manufacturing Company. He on the boards of the South Carolina Railroad and the Bank of the State of South Carolina. He was president of the Charleston Chamber of Commerce from 1840 to 1846.

"B" is for Boyce, James Petigru [1827-1888]. Minister, educator. After experiencing a religious conversion, Boyce became editor of the Southern Baptist, a publication. He attended Princeton Theological Seminary and, in 1851 became the pastor of the Baptist Church in Columbia. Later, he served on the faculty at Furman. In 1856 he convinced the South Carolina Baptists Convention to agree to fund a Baptist seminary in Greenville. The Southern Baptist Convention accepted the idea and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary opened in 1859, with Boyce as its president.

"B" is for Bowles, Crandall Close [b. 1947]. Businesswoman. After earning earned a degree in economics from Wellesley College and an MBA from Columbia University, Bowles began her career at Morgan Stanley in New York. She later also received became a financial analyst for Springs Industries and executive vice president and president of Springs Company, the Close family’s investment management firm.

"B" is for Bowater

Jun 27, 2016

"B" is for Bowater. Headquartered in Greenville, Bowater Incorporated is a world leader in the manufacture of newsprint and coated ground-wood papers. The company began in England in 1889 as a family-run paper supply business. In 1924 it commenced manufacturing paper and over the next decades went international by establishing plants in Scandinavia, Canada, and the United States. In order to bring Bowater to South Carolina in 1956, a special session of the General Assembly rewrote the state’s foreign ownership laws that had limited foreigners to holding no more than 500 acres of land.

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