Speakers Bureau Roster

Randy Akers

Randy2015Randy Akers is in his 28th year as Executive Director of SC Humanities.

Randy began work in the public humanities in Florida in 1984 and was Associate Director of the Florida Humanities Council prior to coming to South Carolina. He received his B.A. in Sociology from Illinois College (Phi Beta Kappa), a Master of Divinity degree from Garrett Theological Seminary, and his Ph.D in Religious Studies from Northwestern University. An amateur archaeologist who has dug ten times in Israel since 1974, he is also an instructor at the University of South Carolina in the Religious Studies department.

Why I’ve Been Involved in the Humanities for 30 Years
Randy Akers will discuss the significance of the public humanities from his vantage point as Executive Director of SC Humanities. Akers will illuminate the many programs of the Council and their importance in South Carolina while entertaining with anecdotes of exciting humanities projects past and present.

Kim Boykin

Kim Boykin Headshot for lindseyAs a stay-at-home mom, Kim Boykin started writing, grabbing snip-its of time in the car rider line or on the bleachers at swim practice. After her kids left the nest, she started submitting her work, sold her first novel at 53, and has been writing like crazy ever since. Her books are well reviewed and, according to The Huffington Post, she knows how to tell a story that will charm and fascinate her readers. A native South Carolinian, she lives just across the state line in Charlotte, but every single one of her stories is set in South Carolina. She is the author of A Peach of a Pair, Echoes of Mercy, Palmetto Moon, and The Wisdom of Hair and has a heart for librarians, and book junkies like herself. Two of her books have been named OKRA picks by the Southern Independent Bookseller Alliance (SIBA,) and she has been nominated for The Pat Conroy Award.

The Indestructible Southern Sisterhood
Whether bound by blood or by friendship, a discussion and celebration of the sisterhood that withstands all things and the exploration of that sisterhood in Boykin’s novels, Palmetto Moon, A Peach of a Pair, The Wisdom of Hair, and Echoes of Mercy.
From the Ether
Kim Boykin discusses her life as a “pantser” (an author who never plots and flies by the seat of her pants) and, from copperheads to dead people, the strange and interesting things that have come from her etherial process.
Once Upon A Time There Was A Library
One extremely ADHD author’s story about the importance of librarians and how the library changed her life.
Writing Your Memoir
Want to write the story of a pivotal moment of your life or perhaps your life’s story and don’t know where to begin? Kim Boykin discusses the art of memoir and how to start writing yours.
Want to Get Better at Writing? Learn How to Start Your Own Critique Group
Whether a seasoned writer or a newbie, one of the best tools in the writers’ toolbox is a critique group. Kim Boykin discusses how to start a writing group, how to set guidelines for commentary, and offers examples of good honest critique that nurture writers and help them grow. She also offers a more in depth two-day workshop that covers those topics on day one. Writers return on the second day with their pieces and learn by critiquing each others work. (The Sponsoring Organization would likely have additional fees for a longer workshop.)

BrockingtonBillLiam Brockington

A native of both Low-Country (Kingstree) and Up-Country (Greenwood) South Carolina, Professor Brockington received his Bachelor’s (1966), Master’s (1969) and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from the University of South Carolina (1975). He is married to the former Celeste Williams of Rock Hill [now retired but who taught mathematics, including AP Calculus, for 30 plus years]. They have two sons, Will and Robert.

Teaching history was, for Liam, never a job; his teaching career spanned 43 years, with 35 years at USC Aiken [retiring – though not shy! –  31 December 2008]. For his love of teaching, ‘Dr. B’ was honored with the Teaching Excellence Award in 1990 and was named the South Carolina Professor of the Year in 1991. Long recognized for his active and dedicated promotion of history, he received the Community Service Award in 1988 and the prestigious Research and Scholarly Activity Award in 2001. ‘Doc Brock’ has long served as an energetic and creative leader in various historical organizations (from local to international) and has an extensive list of publications and presentations.

Most importantly (to him), Liam has made literally hundreds of lectures and talks to community groups on a variety of topics – in particular, those listed below. He refuses to limit himself to mundane topics however and thoroughly enjoys creating talks for specific audiences. He loves a challenge, especially when it enhances his own understanding of history. Some of his more creative topics include: war movies, historical preservation, capturing history (using the camera), Civil Warriors, history through literature (or music such as Jazz or R&R), religion & politics, humor in Southern literature, and Gullah culture.

Y’all Come Back Now, Y’heah?
What is a Southerner? Are there – really, now – identifiable characteristics which separate a Southerner from other Americans? Is ‘Southern-ness’ merely a Jeff Foxworthy caricature, or is truly an actual-factual reality? Well now, you’d best be believing it’s real, ‘cause Southerners and their ways were and, despite rapid change, still are beholden to their roots for their being just a tad different from folks from elsewhere.  “Y’all Come Back Now, Y’heah?” is a humorous look at the history, social characteristics and regional foibles that have long made the South and its denizens a distinctive – and often derided –  world unto itself.
South Carolina: A Crock-pot Culture
The collisions of various European, African and Native-American cultures have, over time, created loosely-defined regions within the Palmetto state, each with its own regional flavors. Like a crock-pot stew which has simmered for ten hours, original ingredients are recognizable but the flavor of each is new and different. As with cooking, when ingredient proportions are changed, the end result also changes. Any attempt to define (or to fathom) the personality and character of South Carolina/Carolinians begins with ‘roots’. Participants quickly realize that cultural collisions of the past are no different from today – change will take place. In this presentation, South Carolina becomes a case-study of how a new culture begins, evolves & matures and continues to change.
Paths, Docks, Rivers, Railroads and Superhighways
Understanding the history, evolution and ultimate impact of transportation systems in South Carolina provides insights into the patterns of development of the Palmetto State. Each phase and technological advance – from paths followed by Native Americans to colonial water routes to modern rail, highway & air traffic – shaped settlement patterns, economic growth and the evolution of South Carolina’s cultural infrastructure. Visual images and hands-on materials will enhance your understanding and awareness of this often overlooked influence.
Are they Scotch-Irish or Scots-Irish?
For the most part, these Ulster Protestant Brits came to America largely in the eighteenth-century, settling primarily in the piedmont regions of the South. Who were they, why did they come, where did they settle and what was their impact? These, and other questions, will be answered (at the very least, enough information will be provided to get you going) via a visual walk through the history of the Scotch/Scots-Irish in South Carolina and surrounding states.

CheneyPhilipPhilip Cheney

Folksinger Philip Cheney has been performing for audiences for over forty years. For the past decade he has been presenting two programs  to groups in the upstate: General Stephen D. Lee and Songs of the War Between the States.  In the last two years he has been expanding his audience, presenting programs to elementary school children in Walhalla, Belton and Honea Path.  He also presents traditional Appalachian folk tales, songs and ballads.  He has worked as a public librarian in Florence andAnderson, and he currently serves as the Director of the Oconee County Public Library.  He and his wife, Sue Robinson-Cheney, live in Anderson, South Carolina.

General Stephen D. Lee Remembers
When he died in 1908, South Carolina native Stephen Dill Lee was the grand old man of the Confederacy.  First person presentation of General Lee’s reminiscences.
Songs of the War Between the States
Dressed in a Confederate uniform, Mr. Cheney performs period songs, accompanying himself on a five-string banjo and guitar.
Ballads, Songs, and Stories of the Southern Appalachians
Mr. Cheney, dressed in overalls and hat, presents traditional tales and songs accompanying himself on five-string banjo and guitar.
Private J. Miles Lee from Spartanburg
First person presentation in Confederate uniform.  Private Lee was a master carpenter who joined the Confederate Army in late 1861.  Mr. Cheney is a direct descendant.
Dr. George F. Root and his songs of the Civil War
This first-person presentation will have Dr. Root speaking to the audience about his philosophy of music for the people and his work as a music teacher and composer.  Emphasis is on the songs he composed during the Civil War, and Dr. Root will perform some of the more than thirty different songs he wrote during the war.  The audience will be furnished song sheets and encouraged to sing.  Some of the songs:  “The Battle Cry of Freedom”;  “Just Before the Battle, Mother”; “The Vacant Chair”; ” Tramp! Tramp! Tramp!”
History of Southern Hymnody
Philip Cheney brings his long-term interest in hymns and his long association with church choirs and participation in shape-note singing to the subject of the history of the religious songs of the southern United States.  The discussion begins with psalmody, with stops along the way to cover the songs sung at camp meetings, the role of singing schools, spirituals, and the rise of gospel music.  Cheney invites members of the audience to participate in singing an example of each type of religious song.  Mr. Cheney explores the movement  of tunes from secular songs to religious songs.

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C. Hope Clark

C. Hope Clark spends her days aiding writers through her FundsforWriters.com website and evenings writing mysteries, with an emphasis on South Carolina settings. She is author of two mystery series set in her home state: Carolina Slade Mysteries, and The Edisto Island Mysteries, both award-winning. She speaks widely to writers, book clubs, and libraries about the craft, business, and motivational aspects of writing, in hope of inspiring others to find the thrill in reading and writing. Her website, FundsforWriters.com was selected by Writer’s Digest for its 101 Best Websites for Writers for each of the past 15 years. Her writing newsletters reach 35,000 subscribers each Friday. She’s published in Writer’s Digest, The Writer, Writer’s Market, Guide to Literary Agents, Guide to Self-Publishing, and more. Her novels are known up and down coastal SC, with a special interest by the tourists and natives of the Edisto/Lowcountry area. Hope is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Southeastern Writers Association, International Thriller Writers, and MENSA. When she’s not strolling Edisto, she’s writing along the bank of Lake Murray.

Turning Your Ideas into Stories – Most of us wish we could flesh our thoughts, experiences, and make-believe dreams into stories on paper. The art of theme, plotting and characterization come from understanding what makes for an intriguing read: tension, active voice, creative dialog. Learning how to mold a story concept, memoir or fiction, into a three-dimensional tale is empowering and a trip that not only entertains the reader, but satisfies the writer as they leave a legacy of words.
How a Character Becomes 3-D – Using examples from well-known books, movies and television shows, and whatever example the audience wants to dissect, learn the art of taking a character from basic hair and eye color into a quirky, charismatic, loveable, respectable, enticing, intense, or demonic contributor to a tale. Whether you read or write, the discussion and Q&A shed new light on characterization and what makes a player great and memorable, and what makes him fall flat.
Writing the Mystery Series – Readers adore investing in characters over a series of books, and the mystery genre is ripe with such series. But what makes for an intriguing series? How does a writer keep the momentum going book after book so readers beg for more? As a reader or writer, understand how a series grows and builds a following so that the characters ultimately feel like people in real life that readers care about, and the stories don’t go stale.
Too Shy to Write – Most writers are introverts, meaning they not only find it difficult to take their ideas from thought to paper, but they fear submitting, publishing, and speaking. Using tricks and tools from her book The Shy Writer Reborn, C. Hope Clark walks potential writers through the landmines of writing and publishing so that their dreams of being read can come true.
Never Thought I’d Be a Writer – How a bribe led to a book deal. Hope Clark always wrote but never thought that writing could be a career. But after being offered a bribe, and finding herself in the midst of a federal investigation, she quickly realized that life made for great fiction. In a journey of starts, stops, and ample rejection, she left the federal sector and became a full-time author proving that a lot of writer wannabes can do the same . . . with diligence, dedication, and desire. This discussion with Q&A will aid storytellers in their quest to write and publish.
Why Edisto? – Hope Clark’s Edisto Mystery Series clears the shelves of the Edisto Bookstore as fast as they appear. There’s something about the jungle setting, about crossing the McKinley Washington Bridge to that island, that makes for an intriguing, suspenseful setting for mystery. Learn how choosing a strategic setting for stories can make as much or more difference in the success of a book than plot or character, and in fact, become the biggest character in your tale.

Murraysharoncooper Sharon Cooper-Murray

Sharon Cooper-Murray is a native of South Carolina raised in Florence County. After attending college in Tennessee, she returned to South Carolina and has resided Charleston County, South Carolina. When she arrived on Wadmalaw Island, SC, it was the first time she heard the Gullah language, and she was fascinated by the tone and rhythm of this Creole language. That was the beginning of what has become her life-long passion: the Gullah culture, their stories, folk music, crafts, food ways, religious folkways … their way of life. She has traveled throughout the east coast of the United States as an advocate of the preservation, conservation and development of the culture through workshops, lectures, storytelling, special events and artist in residency programs.

**Sharon Cooper-Murray requests an additional honorarium to the $250 contributed by SC Humanities.**

The Gullah Language: History and Evolution of a Creole Language
This lecture presents in narration and interpretation an introduction to the Gullah language.  The presentation, partially in storytelling form, is spoken in the Gullah language with the English translations.
Traditional Gullah Folk Music: Call and Response
This presentation begins with the introduction of Christianity to the West African slaves and travels from the hush harbors, Praise house to children’s ring play songs.  This interactive program affords the audience the opportunity to participate in the hand clapping, percussion instruments and movement.
Rag Quilting of the Rice, Indigo and Cotton Plantations of the Lowcountry
This presentation travels the road of survival, the adaptation of material for uses other than its original design.  This presentation uses narration, interpretation, exhibits and hands-on activities to allow one to experience the rag quilting social gathering.
Dolls of the Antebellum Period on Johns and Wadmalaw Island, South Carolina
The desire for dolls and playthings knows no bounds in the minds of children. This presentation introduces the age-old art form of doll making from grass dolls to Twiss up dolls.  The use of exhibits and interpretation brings this art form to life.
The Haunts, Hags and Ghosts on the Sea Islands of the Lowcountry
What are the origins of the stories and superstitions so prevalent on the sea islands southwest of Charleston, SC?  These stories are the explanation of the other world experiences, and this presentation explores these phenomena.
The Rice Culture of the Lowcountry
This program looks at West Africans and their methods of rice cultivation and the West African slave on the rice plantations of the lowcounty during the antebellum period.  We explore one year on a rice plantation utilizing the antebellum tools used for harvesting the rice through its shipment to Europe.

CraigThomasMooreThomas Moore Craig, Jr.

Tom Moore Craig is a lifelong resident of Spartanburg County.  He is a graduate of Davidson College, has an MAT degree from Converse College and has completed course work for a Ph.D. in educational administration from the University of South Carolina.  He was a teacher, principal, and guidance counselor in Spartanburg District Seven Schools for 30 years.

Long active in community activities, he has served in the S.C. House of Representatives and on two State Commissions.   Locally he has been active with the Spartanburg County Historical Association, Hatcher Garden, and Upcountry History Museum.

His first book, Upcountry South Carolina Goes to War: The Letters of the Anderson, Brockman, and Moore Families, 1853-1865, based on a collection of family Civil War-era letters, was published by the University of South Carolina Press in April, 2009.

Upcountry Letters: 124 Civil War Era Letters (1853-1865)

This presentation looks at 124 Civil War era letters (1853-1865) written by members of three families from Greenville and Spartanburg Counties from the homefront and the battlefront. Edited by a descendant, Tom Moore Craig, they were published by the University of South Carolina Press in 2009 entitled Upcountry South Carolina Goes to War.  A third printing, a softcover, will be released in Feb., 2011. Topics such as dealing with shortages, women’s voices, military camp life are themes that can be explored in a presentation, as well as how the letters were preserved and prepared for publication.

 

DDamrelDavid Damrel

Dr. David Damrel teaches World Religions / Comparative Religion at the University of South Carolina Upstate, with research interests in Islam, Religion in India, and Islam in South Asia. He received his Ph.D. from Duke University in the History of Religions in 1991 with a dissertation based on fieldwork in India and Pakistan studying the “saints” and “miracle-workers” of popular Islam in India. His undergraduate work was at the University of Texas at Austin, where he studied Arabic and Persian (including a year abroad at the University of Isfahan, in Iran) and earned an MA in Middle Eastern Studies.

After his doctoral work, he was a research fellow for nearly three years at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies in the UK, contributing to an atlas of Muslim social and intellectual history in India. On his return to the U.S., Damrel taught at Arizona State University in Tempe for over ten years in the department of Religious Studies before coming to USC Upstate in 2006 to help create a program and minor in Religious Studies.

In 2007 Damrel received a Fulbright Award to teach Islamic studies and Comparative Religion at a Muslim University in Indonesia for seven months.  His research interests are in popular religion and the dynamics of religious change, particularly individual conversion.

An Introduction to Modern Islam
Damrel will explore some of the key elements of Islam and Muslim society, with a focus on ritual, law, authority and modern issues within Muslim communities globally and the U.S.

L.M. Drucker

An archaeologist over 30 years, Dr. Drucker is based in Columbia where she operates a business, teaches at area colleges, develops cultural resource management workshops, and writes educational and business materials. She earned a BA in Anthropology at USC and a Ph.D. in Archaeology at Tulane University. In addition to serving as adjunct faculty at Columbia College and USC, she is a member of the American Cultural Resources Association, a business group that advocates for support and preservation of community heritage. She is also past President of the Council of South Carolina Professional Archaeologists and served for nearly 10 years as Coordinator of the annual South Carolina Archaeology Discovery Weekend, an event co-sponsored by three state agencies.

Dr. Drucker has authored over 250 archaeological studies of South Carolina and North Carolina sites, as well as several major journal articles. She is co-editor of a nationally distributed book about South Carolina’s historic landscapes. She is also the author of Archaeology for Business People: A Handbook for South Carolina Developers and Planners, now in its 3rd edition.

Workshop: Teaching Archaeology to Children
Get an overview of the scope and depth of archaeology in the classroom. Working with slides, posters, brochures, handouts, and hands-on discovery of artifacts, learn how you can design lesson plans about archaeological topics that encourage students to use verbal, math, reasoning, analytical, judgment (ethics), and teamwork skills to link life in the past with life in the present and to think like “detectives in time.” Bring your book bag!
Earth Clues: Geology, Soils, and the Human Past
The science of archaeology is basically detective work. It involves understanding and “reading” earth science clues that are collected using careful, explicit techniques. If your interests range from map reading to digs or from cultural artifacts to radiocarbon dating, this workshop will prepare you to enter the world of amateur archaeological sleuthing.
Stories Untold: Slave Life in South Carolina
From the late 1600s to 1865, the Palmetto State was built on the backs of it most numerous inhabitants. African slaves and their descendants shaped, and were shaped by, the physical and social landscapes of early South Carolina. Their diverse cultural systems have been studied from several perspectives, based on historical, archaeological, and other material evidence. This workshop explores some of the major themes and lines of evidence derived from archaeology and narrative history.
Protecting Community Heritage Through Archaeology
If you are an active member of your community or a public employee, you no doubt get involved in interesting and contentious issues from time to time. More and more, our communities’ pasts and their remains are in jeopardy or in the news. Would you like to better understand and even contribute to saving the past for the future? Learn the basics here and become a more effective voice for historic preservation and heritage tourism.
The Anthropology of Dance
What in the world are they doing? As an art form, dance is almost universally appreciated, if not always understood. Understanding, though, is basic to communication, and dance is, above all, a form of non-verbal communication. Understanding the cultural context and history around dance can create an appreciation of even its most exotic, strange, or seemingly vulgar forms. Using films, slides, and short performances, this workshop offers participants a chance to stretch their horizons by experiencing and observing dance as a form of non-verbal communication. This workshop is particularly useful for community service and program staffs, educators, and dance instructors.
Exploring Multiculturalism Through Dance
Friendship dances, victory dances, wedding dances. Dance is often the handshake that introduces people from different cultures and ethnic backgrounds. It is a great way to introduce young people to the different forms of non-verbal communication around them. Using films and discussion, this workshop examines how individuals and groups define themselves, their boundaries and identities, even their political history, using the dance medium. Examples include dance from cultures around the world, including American, New World Indian, Polynesian, Malaysian, and African. This workshop is particularly useful for community service and program staffs, educators, and dance instructors.

EisimingerSkip Sterling (Skip) Eisiminger

Sterling Eisiminger is a Professor of English and Humanities at Clemson University, an accomplished poet and essayist, and the author/editor of a half-dozen books. He holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of South Carolina.

The Pleasures of Light Verse: Jabberwocky to Burma Shave
For the most part, this program is a poetry reading from the best comic verse of the last century or so. It seeks to restore light verse to the poetic canon which, in the lecturer’s opinion, is unfairly dominated by the seriously unfunny.
The Pleasures of Language: Malapropisms to Rhyming Slang
This audience-participation program works best with a group that enjoys language, as they will be intimately involved and asked to volunteer further contributions to the lecturer’s list of Southern dialect, contemporary slang, folk etymologies, Spoonerisms, and more.
Struck by Lightning: Ben Franklin’s Rod to the Omnipotence of God
A light-hearted lecture that will appeal to everyone from the scientist and engineer to the theologian and student of literature who has an interest in the consequences of grounding Zeus’s lightning bolts. Handouts and slides illustrate the author’s main points and the history of lightning control.
The Classic/Romantic Distinction: Paintings, Sculpture, Architecture, Fashion & Gardens
This slide-and-music lecture seeks to sharpen what is perhaps the most fundamental distinction in all of art, from music to maze designs.
The Pleasures of the Personal Essay
This program includes readings of one to five short essays (average length 1,200 words) depending on the time available and the tastes of the audience. Topics include: The Importance of the Play, The Necessity of Curiosity, The Limits of Free Speech, Reflections on Jim Crow, The Common Bond, and over sixty others.
Clemson: Significa and Trivia: Q and A
According to the Sikes Hall cornerstone, the old library was built 5,904 years after what?
John C. Calhoun’s sideboard was made from mahogany taken from what?
The 2012 addition to the architecture complex has a green roof made of what?
If you love Clemson University, I have 47 more just like these three.
Word Clay: Word Play: Q and A
What would you call several unicorns if you were so lucky to see them?
What does “avantular” mean?
And why will your children and grandchildren smile when you tell them what the potentater is?
If you love word play, you’ll love the other 47 questions and answers that go with the above.

Jennie Holton Fant

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Jennie Holton Fant has published The Travelers’ Charleston: Accounts of Charleston and Lowcountry, South Carolina, 1666–1861, an innovative collection of firsthand narratives that document the history of the South Carolina lowcountry region to the Civil War. She is presently finishing a postbellum collection. A South Carolina native, writer, and librarian who served for a decade on the staff of Duke University Libraries, she has published articles in innumerable publications, including Charleston Magazine, View, Charleston Place, Sporting Classics, Preservation Progress, Duke Library Magazine, and the State and Post and Courier newspapers, among others. She served as managing editor for View magazine, and on a variety of editorial staffs. Over the years, Jennie has performed research on historic projects for the City of Charleston, the Charleston Trident Chamber of Commerce, the Preservation Society, the Charleston Visitor and Reception Center, the Charleston Museum, the Preservation Society, and innumerable Charleston concerns. She lives at Pawleys Island, South Carolina.

The Travelers’ Charleston
This presentation will explore the history of the Charleston region through the documentary testimony of its antebellum travelers, none who were southerners. Jennie Holton Fant is editor of The Travelers’ Charleston; Accounts of Charleston and Lowcountry, South Carolina, 1666–1861, published in January by the University of South Carolina Press. We will explore how Charleston and the lowcountry region was perceived by early explorers and antebellum travelers, and how old travel accounts and other documents are the best means of “being there” and seeing history objectively, and as it happens. Old travel accounts and letters continue to allow the modern reader to step back in time and observe a bygone society, culture, and politics, and view history firsthand. A major theme implicit is that of slavery, and whether observations by these outsiders differ from the institution of slavery as described by southerners. Topics include how educators can enliven history for younger students of history, and the editor’s efforts to present a history for the general reader, as well as younger readers, by careful crafting and annotation to enhance the text for an easy understanding of a complicated, and fascinating, history of America’s most intriguing city.
Postbellum Charleston Travelers
To trace Charleston history from the postbellum era into the twentieth century is to encounter a shifting landscape change at every turn. With the conclusion of the war, the standard genre of travel books that dominated in antebellum times ended. Thereafter travel documentation of the region becomes less orthodox, and more American. Travel itself was no longer predictable, with faster steamships, hundreds of thousands of miles of railroad tracks, the rise of the automobile, and air travel; nor were travelers as predictable. One notable postwar difference is the writers themselves who, in this case, are far more diverse than were antebellum writers of travel accounts. However, these visitors continued to document a striking range of experiences and impressions that, over time, tell the history of Charleston. From the northern journalists who flocked south to report on a city of desolation and ruin in the aftermath of the Civil War and Reconstruction, through an era when national magazine writers came to promote the region as a picturesque, exotic paradise, across the Jazz era and into the Jim Crow era, we will explore the history of Charleston after the Civil War.

FarleyBenBenjamin W. Farley

Benjamin W. Farley is a graduate of Davidson College and has a Ph.D from Union Theological Seminary in Virginia. He is the Younts Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Religion at Erskine College. Dr. Farley is the author of 8 scholarly works in the field of reformation studies and philosophy and 7 works of fiction.

**Ben Farley may request an additional honorarium to the $250 contributed by SC Humanities depending on the location and timing of the speaking engagement.**

Existentialism
What is Existentialism? How old or modern is it? What are its defining features or principal philosophical points of interest? Who are among some of its best-known proponents or representatives? Are their views still relevant for our time? Could I be an existentialist and not know it?
Science and Religion
Why do science and religion sometimes clash? Must it necessarily be so? The views of Stephen Hawking, Edward Wilson, and Richard Dawkins describe a universe defined by the Big Bang and Evolution, one without need of the intervention of God. Can a religious person subscribe to the Big Bang and Evolution and yet believe in a higher power, whose influence they dismiss? What perspectives are essential to both fields? Wherein does each serve humankind’s highest good?
Plato and Aristotle
Both Greek philosophers pursued the life of the mind to its fullest limits. Each bequeathed to the world central concepts that still inspire and contribute to numerous disciplines today. What are these concepts? Which are unique to Plato, which to Aristotle? Is it true that we are either Platonic or Aristotelian in our outlook?
Nietzsche and Heidegger
Both German philosophers were fascinated with metaphysics, Nietzsche with humanity’s psychological and emotional need to express a better self-understanding of one’s being, while Heidegger strove to create a new metaphysics based on Nietzsche’s “Death of God” and the poet Hölderlin’s mystical views. What are their unique tenets and how applicable for out time?
Augustine
Few philosophical theologians of the Late Roman Period combined his Classic education, the philosophy of Neo-Platonism, and Pauline Theology into as soul-searching a Christian perspective of life as Augustine. Both Roman Catholicism and Protestantism drew and still draw on his insight. What Augustinian views in particular remain significant and account for his historical appeal?
Faith and Fiction
The Christ as well as other religious leaders used story, drama, legend and fiction as means of promulgating spiritual truth. This ancient approach (as old as the Gilgamesh Epic and Homer) remains effective for many religious writers, especially such notables as Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. Even Hemingway’s novels, along with Camus’ The Plague and Unamuno’s short stories bear witness to the power of fictional narrative to probe the human heart and open it to its deeper soul. Examples of such writing are presented for the audience.
Buddhism, Taoism, and Zen
All three Eastern Religions or Traditions trace their heritage and insight to the Buddha of Nepal. Each religious philosophy stresses unique features of enlightenment, self-understanding, and facets that contribute to global harmony. The views of D.T. Suzuki and the Dalai Lama are especially commendable and worthy of respect, if not adopting in some measure.
The French and Indian War – A Novelist’s Perspective
Few wars of the American experience have haunted the nation’s sense of history as the French and Indian War. Fought by nations seeking control of the greater part of the entire North American Continent, it brought into conflict not only France and Brittan, but the Colonies and the fate of the American Native People from Maine to Illinois and Ohio to Tennessee. The greatness of this conflict is reflected in Cooper’s The Last of the Mohicans, other novels, and my own: Three Thousand Days and Nights. What was it like to have lived in that time: as a Frenchman, American Native, British soldier, Tidewater planter, or frontiersman, let alone as a woman, wife, slave, or child? My novel explores the possibilities as the story unfolds.

JohnFowlerJohn Fowler

John has over 30 years of national performing experience conducting programs at festivals, schools, college’s, and camps. He is a regional favorite at the Stories for Life Festival, Stone Soup Storytelling Festival, Starburst Storytelling Festival, Hagood Mill Storytelling Festival, and Augusta Bakers Dozens Festival as well as many others.

John has produced several grant-supported research projects featuring a number of distinctive recordings of traditional/roots & ethnic musicians and storytellers: Textile Town (92) features a rare collection of interviews with local textile operatives fromSpartanburg County; Fiddler Traditions features rare field recordings and claimed national appeal in 2004; Story, Song and Image tours the state as an interactive exhibit which features roots music from the mountains-to-the-sea.

John has several other recordings projects to his credit and has written for the Hub City Writers Project. In 1994 he self-published an instructional book on how to play simple hand-held folk instruments. John is also featured in the book Southern Appalachian Storytellers (McFarland) by Saundra Kelly.

He is a graduate of the Institute for Community Scholars, Folklore & Music Studies at Swannanoa College and has an Associate in Civil Engineering at Spartanburg College. He is a member of the South Carolina Storytelling Network and founding member of the Carolina Old Time Music Network. Currently he is serving as the State Scholar with SC Humanities’s touring exhibit New Harmonies.  John also co-produces a very popular old-time music show, “This Old Porch” on N.C. Public radio WNCW 88.7 FM.

**John Fowler requests an additional honorarium to the $250 contributed by SC Humanities.**

History of Roots and Ethnic Music in South Carolina
An interactive timeline lecture with music presentations. John connects the dots, linking music heritage relative to region, ethnicity, religion and culture. The presentation is an overview of parallels between European, Native American and African influences which played an important role in shaping American music forms and styles, from field hollers and chants to blues and gospel. Early forms of folk/country and bluegrass are also introduced.
Appalachian Stories and Songs
A combination of traditional and personal stories with music presentation on banjo, guitar, fiddle, harmonica and spoons. This program is a celebration of Southern Appalachian culture and influences. John draws on his roots presenting stories and songs from the southern mountains with a personal touch about grandparents, apron-strings and his first telephone experience. Expect historic references and some music history.
Where’d You Come From, Where’d You Go?
A program that celebrates our heritage with stories and music from around the world. John’s retelling of African and European fables & folktales is a delightful presentation that connects the past with the present, highlighting culture differences and similarities. Each story reflects simple conflict and struggle with predictable resolutions. Some stories are enhanced with the introduction of old-world instruments (jaw harp, kalimba (lamellophone), drums, mouth bow and banjo). Designed for young audiences, suited for all.
Trotting Sally: The Roots and Legacy of a Folk Hero
This lecture is based on one of South Carolina’s premiere folk legends. John blends his powerful storytelling and traditional musical talents to share the interesting life-story of one of South Carolina’s famous and elusive turn-of-the-century African Americans. Through captivating performances, John weaves the history and folklore of the life of George Mullins. Fowler tells two tales: the story of Trotting Sally, an infamous street musician; and the real man few knew — George Mullins, who was born into slavery and built a new life as a free man, brick by brick. The presentation is based on Fowler’s book Trotting Sally: the Roots and Legacy of a Folk Hero. This presentation is not just a lecture—Fowler uses rare visual imagery, storytelling and 19th music during his presentation. The presentation is great for everyone and would be especially intriguing for history students and/or clubs, genealogy studies and/or organizations, and general audience populations. This program can easily conclude with time for Q&A.

 

Ginetta V. Hamilton

Ginetta V. Hamilton is a native of Alvin, South Carolina.

Educational Background: Mrs.  Hamilton is a proud graduate of the University of South Carolina, where she obtained both her Bachelor of Arts degree and Master of Arts in Elementary Education degree.  Mrs. Hamilton retired after serving as an educator for 25 years in Richland School District 2 at Joseph Keels Elementary.

Mrs. Hamilton has written three books: Black History: Someone Forgot to Teach the Children (recently revised); Navigate to Success: Understand the Past, Prepare for the Future, Move Forward on black history; Waverly, a Historic Perspective Through the Eyes of Senior Citizens; as well as The Civil War,  Slavery,  and the Laws – A Research Guide Timeline.

She volunteers with Junior Achievement USA, Midlands Education and Business Alliance, IT-ology Columbia.  She holds membership in Literacy 2030, the Spann Watson Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen, SCCAAS, and the Columbia Branch NAACP.  She is a member of the Greater St. Luke Baptist Church, Columbia SC, and Bethlehem Baptist, Alvin, SC. Mrs. Hamilton is married, has two children and two grandchildren.

Black History: Someone Forgot to Teach the Children
Ginetta V. Hamilton will share important facts from her book Black History: Someone Forgot to Teach the Children. She will address the struggle and contributions of African Americans both in South Carolina and in the country.
The Tuskegee Airmen – A Closer Look
This presentation will focus on the 5 Ws (Who? What? When? Where?  Why?) of the Tuskegee Airmen as well as  their plight to prove their abilities.

Lucy Beam Hoffman

Lucy Beam Hoffman is a business-owner and non-traditional student who returned to college in 2002 to pursue a Masters in History. She specializes in Holocaust history, and her passions are writing, speaking, and teaching.

The Seeds of the Final Solution
The Final Solution evolved slowly in the eyes of the Nazis, but with the process of the Euthanasia program and later Operation Barbarossa, the industrialization of killing began. The Euthanasia program, in which Hitler murdered the mentally and physically incapacitated of Germany, created the possibility—and incorporated the people—who could and did kill the innocent with impunity and disregard. Barbarossa commenced Hitler’s plan to kill the Jews, Commissars, and political undesirables as the Special Police Battalions and the Einsatzgruppen swept up those left behind when the German army marched through the USSR. What began as a program of Jewish emigration became one of extermination.
The Holocaust Through Film
Film is a major component of society’s understanding of history. How have films about the Holocaust changed over time, and how have these films changed our understanding of the Holocaust? Films such as The Diary of Anne Frank in 1959 hardly touched on the Jewish catastrophe and, in fact, eliminated much that was Jewish in the film, while Schindler’s List in 1993 graphically displayed the tragic issues of the Jews. Other films, such as Holocaust (the TV movie), were homogenized to the experience but opened up the German youth consciousness for what had happened in their country. With a discerning eye, one can gain a greater knowledge of the Holocaust through film studies.
The Holocaust – In the Beginning
The years 1933-1939 must be studied to enable an understanding of what came later. The Final Solution, implemented in late 1940-1941, was slowly realized through these early years. Hitler’s appointment as Chancellor in January 1933 paved the way for the Nazis to continue on their path of human destruction, but the economic woes of Germany are an important clue as to what later became state policy. What happened to allow a cultured but devastated society the willingness to take part in one of the most heinous events of the 20th Century? What are the many scholarly viewpoints regarding the German consciousness, and how do these conflict with or support the evolution of the Nazi’s Final Solution?
The Lynching of Willie Earle in Greenville – 1947
Willie Earle, an African American, was accused of killing Thomas Watson Brown, a cab driver from Greenville, SC.  Thirty-one white men (mostly cab drivers – all white) drove from Greenville in the middle of the night to take Earle out of the Pickens County Jail.  They then beat him, burned him, and shot him in the face.  The largest lynching trial in the history of the US took place in Greenville, SC, in 1947.  As a co-writer of the play, The Last Lynching, Hoffman read 26 confessions in the Thomas Bolt Culbertson papers at Clemson.  Out of 31 charged with the lynching, three didn’t stand trial.  The other 28 were acquitted.  This heinous act has never received justice, and many lives were ruined.  For many years, black parents warned their sons not to misbehave or they’d get “what Willie Earle got.”  Hoffman will present this tragic, riveting story, which includes the involvement of Strom Thurmond and took place in Greenville with world-wide media coverage.

Ellen Malphrus

MalphrusEllenEllen Malphrus lives and writes in her native Carolina lowcountry and southwest Montana. Her fiction, poetry, and essays have appeared in Southern Literary Journal, Review of Contemporary Fiction, William and Mary Review, Georgia Poetry Review, Haight Ashbury Literary Journal, and the anthology Essence of Beaufort and the Lowcountry. She was a student of James Dickey’s and teaches at the University of South Carolina Beaufort. Untying the Moon is her first novel. The foreword is written by Pat Conroy, her beloved friend and mentor. www.ellenmalphrus.com

 A general reading from and discussion of Untying the Moon, followed by Q&A.
“Untying the Moon is a beautifully written cultural narrative about the never-ending challenges of love and belonging. Ellen captures the power of memory and the call of the magical healing salt marshes of the South Carolina Lowcountry, where it all began.” ~ Jonathan Green, renowned Lowcountry artist
A “Rooted/Restless Road Trip” reading from and discussion of Untying the Moon, followed by Q&A.
Untying the Moon introduces an exciting new voice in Southern fiction. Ellen Malphrus’s kinetic heroine Bailey Martin takes the reader on an eventful, at times bumpy, ride across the continent in a search, ultimately, for the road that leads home.” ~ Ron Rash, New York Times best-selling author of Above the Waterfall and Serena
A “Coastal Conservation” reading from and discussion of Untying the Moon, followed by Q&A.
“The dolphin-haunted Carolina coast of Ellen Malphrus’s masterful, lyrical novel Untying the Moon brings us deeply into the natural wonders of the Lowcountry. Like the adventurous and near-mythical wandering heroine Bailey Martin, readers will not be able to resist the magnetic pull of Malphrus’s loving depictions of the landscape, its marvelous inhabitants—both human and animal alike—and its welcoming embrace that always and truly feels like coming home.” ~ Mary Alice Monroe, New York Times best-selling author of The Lowcountry Summer Trilogy
No Better Buddies: Pat Conroy and James Dickey as Literary Mentors
A reading from and discussion of Conroy’s and Dickey’s influence on Untying the Moon, followed by Q&A.
“We both consider ourselves Dickey-shaped and Dickey-transformed and there are echoes of his magisterial world in all that we write.” ~ Pat Conroy, from the foreword to Untying the Moon
Lowcountry Lowdown from a Born-and Bred Native
A Reading from and discussion of Untying the Moon that focuses on the South Carolina Lowcountry, followed by Q&A.
“Ellen Malphrus writes about the Carolina Lowcountry with the osprey-eyed vision of a native . . .” ~ Pat Conroy, from the foreword to Untying the Moon

 

matthewsmattMatt Matthews

Matt Matthews’ first novel and winner of the South Carolina Arts Commission First Novel Prize, was published in May 2011 by the award-winning Hub City Press; it won an honorable mention from the 2012 Library of Virginia Literary Awards and a Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance Bronze Award. Fritz and Christine and Their Very Nervous Parents, a children’s story about vocation and illustrated by Adrienne Davis, was published in the fall of 2010 by Avenida Books.

For eight years Matt has been pastor and head of staff at St. Giles Presbyterian Church in Greenville, SC, where he preaches weekly and works with a great staff of creative, devoted folk. He occasionally updates a webpage at www.MattMatthewsCreative.com.

In the summer of 2011, Matt and his family followed his dad’s WWII footsteps from Glasgow to Belgium where his dad was captured in the Battle of the Bulge. His book One Thousand Miles, which explores growing up in the shadow of unspoken horrors of war, is being shopped.

Matt and Rachel are the parents of Joseph (20), Benjamin (16), and John Mark (13). They live in Greer.

A Part-Time Author’s View Into The Writing Life
E. B. White said writing was a good way to spend one’s days, but for most writers it’s no way to make a living, so they do it part time, in fits and starts, hunched over the page because they feel compelled to be, and, sometimes, because it brings compelling joy. This talk is for those who secretly call themselves writers, for those who dabble in the craft, and for those who write full time but would like to come up for air to talk about why writing matters and why the writing life can be so rich.
A Reading From and Discussion Of The Novel “Mercy Creek”

This talk could be geared to teenagers, senior citizens, or an intergenerational crowd.

Bret Lott, formerly of The Southern Review, wrote that “Mercy Creek is . . . about the deep and slow-moving river that is History, and the darker story of a past the town won’t reveal for fear its shadow will overwhelm those parties involved in its making; it’s also about murder, and arson, and baseball, and all the worries, worthy and unworthy, real and imagined, every teenager experiences in the course of growing up. Most importantly, though, is the fact there beats inside this book a heart bent not toward the literary fashion of the day—existential pointlessness, or edgy doom, or snarky self-righteousness—but toward redemption and forgiveness in the face of the twin specters of guilt and loss. Peopled with characters that matter to us, Mercy Creek is—dare I say it?—fun to read, and reminds us of why we started reading in the first place: the joy of finding out what happens.”

On his first day out of school, 16 year-old Isaac doesn’t feel that events of June in a town on Virginia’s Eastern Shore could threaten his life or even change it. But there are signs. His girlfriend just gave him a geranium for his birthday. His mom, who died the year before, is fading into catch phrases. His dad is romancing a woman Isaac likes but doesn’t want to like. And a clutch of self-righteous vigilantes offers a $5,000 reward for conviction of the felon or felons vandalizing town homes.

Isaac’s summer job is to sweep and straighten the warehouse of the town’s hardware store. It’s the place where the vigilantes congregate. It’s also where unexplained puzzles swirl like dust motes around coworker Crazy Eddie, an acerbic 77-year-old.

By the middle of a sultry July, Isaac has discovered that small towns in which everybody knows everybody else’s business often hide the most vicious secrets. By solving mysteries of a twisted communal past, laying bare the stains of a history that includes the Klan, Isaac has resolved where he belongs in the world, opening the future. Included in that future is a new girlfriend who would never give him a potted plant.

In this quietly suspenseful story with splashes of manic humor, the eccentrics, the recluses, the bigots and the bores join the human parade. The beat of march for that parade, however, is the heart-stirring strains of forgiveness.

Digital Camera

Joseph McGill, Jr.

Joseph McGill, Jr. is a native of Kingstree, SC and is currently a Program Officer for the National Trust for Historic Preservation. He works in the Southern Office in Charleston, SC and is responsible for the states of Alabama, Louisiana, and South Carolina.

Mr. McGill received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Professional English from South Carolina State University. He spent six years in the United States Air Force and has been employed by the National Park Service, Penn Center, and the African American Historical Museum and Cultural Center of Iowa.

Mr. McGill is the founder of Company “I” 54th Massachusetts Reenactment Regiment in Charleston, SC. The 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry was the regiment portrayed in the award-winning movie Glory. As a Civil War reenactor, Mr. McGill participates in parades, living history presentations, lectures, and battle reenactments.

Mr. McGill is a member of the South Carolina African American Heritage Commission and the African American Historical Alliance.

**Joseph McGill requests an additional honorarium to the $250 contributed by SC Humanities.**

African Americans in the Civil War
A brief history of the approximately 180,000 African Americans that served in the Union Army and Navy during the Civil War.
54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry
The history of the regiment that was portrayed in the award-winning movie, Glory. This presentation is given in a Civil War uniform and includes a first-person characterization.
Slave Cabins of South Carolina
Joseph McGill will chronicle nights spent in several slave cabins in South Carolina.

McIntyreCarolineasCarsonCaroline McIntyre

Caroline McIntyre is a former history teacher, theater manager, and corporate presenter with a Masters in American History. She recreates the roles of three of her heroes – Frances Perkins, Rachel Carson and Mary Draper Ingles. She weaves the stories of these heroic women and, in Chautauqua fashion, inspires the audience to ask questions directly to the characters.

Rachel Carson, Silent Spring, 1962
Rachel Carson is depicted just after the publication of Silent Spring and 18 months before she dies of breast cancer. Warning of dangers of pesticides and pollution, Silent Spring races to the top of the bestseller list, and Rachel Carson is attacked on all sides by the chemical industry. Proclaimed founder of the Environmental Movement, she is still maligned today. To many of us, she was Joan of Arc, Mother Teresa, and Lois Lane all rolled into one. For the young women of the 1960s, Rachel Carson was our first hero.
Mary Draper Ingles, Survivor of the Wilderness, 1755
Talk about a hiking challenge! How about a 500 mile wilderness trek, without food, fire, or weapons, in early winter and while wearing a summer dress? Captured by a Shawnee war party in the French and Indian War and taken more than 450 miles from her home to what is now Cincinnati, Mary Ingles escaped through an untamed wilderness with the Ohio River as her only guide. Returning home skeletal and almost naked, she recovers to bear four more children and live to a robust 83 – an ordinary woman of extraordinary courage. The program is told Chautauqua-style.
Frances Perkins, Woman Behind the New Deal (1933-1945)
Perkins became the first female cabinet member, FDR’s Secretary of Labor,  at the rock bottom of the Great Depression.  She came with a “To Do List” –  workman’s compensation, unemployment insurance, old age and health insurance; a minimum wage, a maximum work week,  and the abolition of child labor.  When she left office 12 years later (longest serving Cabinet Member), she had accomplished all but one – health insurance.  Who wouldn’t want to ask her how it was done?

McNeelyPatPatricia McNeely

USC Professor Emerita Patricia G. “Pat” McNeely taught writing and reporting in the journalism school for 33 years. Before joining the USC faculty, McNeely was a reporter and editor for The Greenville News, The State and The Columbia Record. She is the author of “Sherman’s Flame and Blame Campaign through Georgia and the Carolinas … and the burning of Columbia” and “Fighting Words: A Media History of South Carolina.” She is co-author of “Knights of the Quill: Confederate Correspondents and their Civil War Reporting.”

Sherman’s Flame and Blame Campaign through Georgia and the Carolinas
General William T. Sherman created a new form of physical, economic, and psychological “total warfare” against civilians and private property in Georgia and the Carolinas that he readily admitted would be violent and cruel. In addition to physical and economic assaults, he designed a massive psychological strategy of disinformation, deception, and blame designed to cripple the Confederacy, to destroy the faith of civilians in their leaders and their government, and to kill the will of the people to fight for their cause.
(Presentation lasts 45 minutes and includes a PowerPoint; a screen or blank wall will be needed.)
Sherman’s Psychological War on Civilians and the Burning of Columbia
Follow the hour-by-hour description of the sack and destruction of Columbia, SC as told by eye-witnesses who survived Sherman’s assault on the surrendered city on the weekend of Friday, February 17 – Monday, February 20, 1865. Numerous detailed images and maps illustrate the torching and burning that left three-fifths of the city in ashes.
(Presentation lasts 45 minutes and includes a PowerPoint; a screen or blank wall will be needed.)
The End of Sherman’s Campaign through the Carolinas and the Lost Confederate Gold
Sherman’s brilliant campaign through Georgia and the Carolinas ended in political turmoil with public insinuations from President Andrew Johnson’s administration that Confederate President Jefferson Davis had bought his freedom from Sherman with gold from the Confederate treasury.  Sherman was accused by high government officials of being “a common traitor and a public enemy” while subordinates were being told to disobey his orders. Even as Sherman angrily denied the rumors, the hunt began for the Confederate gold that was trundling down through the Carolinas into Georgia. The search is still going on today.
(Presentation lasts 45 minutes and includes a PowerPoint; a screen or blank wall will be needed.)

James McTeer

McTeerJamesBorn and raised in Beaufort, SC, James E. McTeer II is the winner of the 2015 South Carolina First Novel Prize. A school librarian in Columbia, SC, he is the grandson of the late J. E. McTeer, whose 37 years as High Sheriff of the Lowcountry (and local witch doctor) served as inspiration for Minnow. McTeer’s novel has received starred reviews from Library Journal and Kirkus Reviews, and was selected as one of the Top 100 books of the year by Kirkus.

Minnow
This discussion and Q&A involves a brief reading from MINNOW, the author’s first novel and winner of the South Carolina First Novel Prize. Points of discussion will include the process of writing the book and bringing it to publication. The book’s content will lead the discussion into local South Carolina history. There will be a focus on the culture and history of the Lowcountry, including stories about the author’s grandfather, James E. McTeer, who served as high sheriff and local witch doctor.
Author’s Craft
This talk and Q&A involves a reading from MINNOW, the author’s first novel and winner of the South Carolina First Novel Prize. The focus of the discussion will be on the process of writing the book and the road to its publication. Discussion will also cover the marketing, promotion, and footwork involved in selling a new novel.
The Writing Librarian
This talk and Q&A involves a reading from and brief discussion on MINNOW, the author’s first novel and winner of the South Carolina First Novel Prize. Further points of discussion will focus on the author’s work and life as a public education school media specialist, and how that experience has informed (and been informed by) the process of writing, publishing, and selling an award-winning novel.

MitchemStephanieStephanie Mitchem

Stephanie Y. Mitchem, Associate Professor at University of South Carolina, is a joint appointment in Religious Studies and Women’s Studies.  Mitchem holds a Ph.D. from Northwestern University-Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary and a Masters from St. John Provincial Seminary and focuses her research on exploring the rich religious contexts and meanings of African American women and men, while critiquing social injustices structured into American society.  Her forthcoming book is African American Folk Healing (New York University Press, June 2007).  She is author of Introducing Womanist Theology (Orbis Books 2002), African American Women Tapping Power (Pilgrim Press 2004), and numerous articles.

African American Women, Literature, and Spirituality
Literature is a rich source for comprehending African American women’s lives. Through literature, black women discuss their experiences and analyze society. In these discussions, black women also express their sense of the religious and define aspects of a spirituality. This talk will explore ways African American women create communal meaning and personal identities while naming their concepts of faith and salvation. We will consider various authors’ works, ranging from earlier writings of Zora Neale Hurston to the contemporary with writers such as Alice Walker, Barbara Neely, and Octavia Butler.
Creative Power of African American Religion
The religious experiences and understandings of African Americans are unique, born of a combination of historical, cultural, social, and political realities. Diverse religious and theological meanings have been crafted, sometimes within Christian denominations, sometimes not. This lecture aims to increase the listeners’ appreciation of the creativity and complexities of black religious life in the United States.
African American Women and Spiritual Autobiography
Autobiography is an important facet of spirituality in any faith tradition, pointing to how faith is lived. Autobiography is a literary genre that has been important to women in general, giving information about lived experience that is often missing from formal historical records. African American women have found this genre especially important for expressing the depth of faith, often in light of oppressive personal experiences. This talk will combine a focus on historical and contemporary black women’s spiritual autobiographies while inviting listeners to consider aspects of their own.
African American Culture
Culture is often thought of in terms of its products—music, visual, art, literature. But culture is also a process, that of making the products at different times under different conditions. This presentation invites the audience to look at some of the different products from African Americans at different times in order to consider this question: what defines black culture?

OakesMargaretMargaret Oakes

Margaret J. Oakes is Professor of English at Furman University and has been teaching at Furman since 1996. Her academic areas of teaching and research are English Renaissance literature, including such authors as George Herbert, William Shakespeare, John Milton, and Margaret Cavendish. Her avocational interests include British detective fiction and children’s fantasy literature, and she has published on mystery writer Dorothy Sayers and Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling. Prior to her academic career she practiced securities regulation law in Chicago. An Illinois native, she is a graduate of the University of Illinois (BA and JD) and Stanford University (PhD).

The History of Liberal Arts Education
The history and practice of the liberal arts in the western tradition fundamentally underlie how we think about education in America. This wide-ranging talk explores educational institutions from the classical period to the present, focusing on the development of universities from medieval monastic houses to the colleges of Oxford to the American system based on German universities.
Flying Cars, Floo Powder, and Flaming Torches: The Hi-Tech, Low-Tech World of Harry Potter
J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series presents a world parallel to our own in many ways. We share some technological achievements such as the wheel, optics, and basic engineering principles. With the added ability to control their world through magic, however, Rowling’s wizards have opted out of advancing through science. Their powers over natural forces outstrip ours in many areas, yet they have chosen in others to retain the old ways, which require time and effort, and which inflict a fair degree of discomfort or ineffectiveness. Why do they prefer this combination of the antiquated and the advanced? This talk focuses on the creation of a fictional universe that is both believable and fanciful, and helps us reflect on the “magic” of our own technology.
The Letters of Queen Elizabeth I: the Humility of Power
Elizabeth I was regarded with awe by her people in her own lifetime, but she frequently communicated with her subjects as well as her fellow monarchs and counselors. Her avenues of communication were much more limited than those used by most politicians nowadays; Elizabeth only had at her disposal official written communications and public appearances. However, we also have the benefit of being able to read dozens of Elizabeth’s letters from throughout her life. This other means of communication – written messages, in the form of personal, diplomatic, and political letters – were created with the same attention to the delicacy of the situation, her relationship with the speaker, and, most importantly, her underlying objective in writing the letter in the first place. This talk will explore the surprisingly distinctive voices in Elizabeth’s letters as she assesses the relative degrees of power between her and the recipient of the letter, plays the recipient’s desires and weaknesses, and offers the right mixture of praise, conciliation, advice, and sometimes veiled threats, depending on the situation.
A Comfortable Murder: British Detective Fiction of the Golden Age
The 1920’s and 30’s were the highlight decades of the British “cozy”: the relatively bloodless type of murder mystery that one can read curled by up by the fireplace with a strong cup of tea. This talk will trace the development of the genre of British detective fiction from its antecedents such as Wilke Collins and G.K. Chesterton to its masters, including Dorothy Sayers, Agatha Christie, and Margery Allingham.
John Milton: Making and Destroying the World
Many of our contemporary notions of Heaven, Hell, and Eden come not just from the Bible, but from John Milton’s Paradise Lost. Milton did not contradict anything in Genesis, but built from centuries of interpretation and synthesis to create the most powerful images in English literature. He is also not, contrary to popular opinion, misogynistic or daunting to read! We will explore some selected scenes from this beautiful, tragic, and occasionally funny story to uncover Milton’s understanding of human and divine relationships, his perceptive views on self-knowledge and arrogance, and his belief that humans must go through tragedy to learn the hardest lessons.
Donne and Herbert: Facing God with Humor and Frustration
We may assume that 17th century poets, especially two who are priests, are boring, rigid, sanctimonious, and irrelevant to how contemporary life approaches spirituality. John Donne and George Herbert were, however, people like us – with families, career frustrations, facing illnesses and death, grappling with their relationship to God and their parishioners. We will look at a selection of Donne and Herbert’s divine poetry to see how they reflect our own concerns in ways that are eloquent, thoughtful, sometimes reassuring and sometimes provoking. No experience reading poetry required!
The Shakespeare You Don’t Like
The expression “The Bard” does Shakespeare and playgoers a huge disservice. The guy with the ruff and the beard is “too highbrow,” “out of touch,” and “stuffy.” Sometimes, however, Shakespeare is raunchy, extraordinarily violent, and witty, as reflected in numerous phrases and concepts in our language. This session will explore some of the lesser produced plays such as Titus Andronicus, Coriolanus, and Troilus and Cressida to show how Shakespeare explores harsh emotion, the shock value of violence, and the cruelty of individuals as part of the range of human experience. No previous Shakespeare experience needed.

PalmerKateSalleyKate Salley Palmer

Kate is a native of Orangeburg and a USC graduate.  While at USC she did a cartoon strip for The Gamecock satirizing the school’s administration, entitled “Terrible Tom and the Boys”.  In 1978, Kate became the first full-time staff editorial cartoonist for a SC newspaper at The Greenville News. Kate’s political cartoons were nationally syndicated in over 200 newspapers, and in 1980 she won the Freedom Foundation’s George Washington Honor Medal for Editorial Cartooning.  In 2000, one of her cartoons made Newsweek’s Special Edition, “100 Years in Cartoons” – the only woman political cartoonist featured. In 2006, Clemson University’s Digital Press published Kate’s memoir, Growing Up Cartoonist in the Baby Boom South, which got a good review in Comics Journal. Kate is currently doing free-lance cartoons for the Greenville Journal.

In the 1990’s Kate began writing and illustrating picture books for children, and has had over 25 published by national and regional publishers. How Many Feet in the Bed?, published by Simon and Schuster in 1991, and Octopus Hug, Boyds Mills Press in 1993, received great reviews and are still in print. In 2000, Kate and husband, Jim, a retired Clemson professor, started Warbranch Press to publish Kate’s picture books. Warbranch Press has published 10 books and has sold over 60,000 copies, with the South Carolina-themed books, such as The Pink House, Palmetto-Symbol of Courage and Francis Marion and the Legend of the Swamp Fox, the most popular. Her latest is a cartoon coloring book, 2016 Race for the White House: A Grownup Coloring Book. Kate makes presentations to teacher groups and to students at elementary and middle schools about writing and illustrating picture books. She also makes talks to civic groups and others about political cartooning, using her work as illustrations. She is a member of the AAEC (American Association of Editorial Cartoonists) and the National Cartoonist Society’s Southeastern Branch.  Kate’s original state cartoons are housed in the USC Library’s SC Political Collections and her national cartoons and papers are archived at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library at Ohio State University. Kate and Jim live in Clemson. For more about Kate and her books go to www.warbranchpress.com.

Helping Teach South Carolina History With Picture Books
Kate has written four picture books about our state’s history: Palmetto – Symbol of Courage, about the famous Revolutionary War battle that inspired the color and symbols on our beautiful state flag; Francis Marion and the Legend of the Swamp Fox, the story of South Carolina’s most famous Revolutionary War hero; Almost Invisible – Black Patriots of the American Revolution and First South Carolinians, about our state’s native people. These books have become very popular in schools and libraries as resources for teaching our state’s history. Kate makes presentations to various groups about how she did the research for non-fiction writing, with emphasis on getting the facts right.
Political Campaigns Illustrated by a Cartoonist
Kate has always been interested in political commentary. She was a staff editorial cartoonist and nationally syndicated for several years, and her cartoons appeared both locally and nationally. She is now doing cartoons for a weekly paper, the Greenville Journal, and her latest book is a coloring book, 2016 Race for the White House: A Grownup Coloring Book. She is often asked to make presentations to civic groups and others about political cartooning and how it’s evolving, especially in light of recent controversies about the work of some editorial cartoonists.
The Little Chairs – Helping Young Children Understand Mental Illness
In 1999, Warbranch Press published The Little Chairs, a story based on real life experience in Kate’s family. Kate’s father, a WWII veteran, was chronically depressed and would retreat to a dark corner when he didn’t feel like participating in family activities. The book shows in vivid colors and narrative how Kate’s mother eventually got her father to rejoin the family using the task of painting little chairs. In talks, Kate emphasizes that the children in the story or the Mama didn’t make the Daddy sad, and further that they couldn’t make him well again. This book does not mean to suggest that painting chairs is a “cure” for depression, but does illustrate that the love and compassion of a family member can have an effect, if only temporary.
How to Publish Your Own Book
Kate and Jim started Warbranch Press when self-publishing was an almost unheard of idea. Now, print-on-demand is a widely used process, and options are available for publishing services from many sources. Jim and Kate have given workshops on self-publishing as an alternative to conventional publishing, emphasizing that producing a quality product and marketing it successfully are the keys to success for authors wishing to publish their own book.

 

Gerald Pitts

PittsGeraldNEWFebruary2016Gerald Y. Pitts is the only South Carolina member of ALP, the Association of Lincoln Presenters. ALP is a national organization of approximately 166 members whose purpose is to further knowledge and appreciation of the 16th president of the United States. Lincoln was a boyhood hero of Mr. Pitts (along with Joe DiMaggio, Roy Rogers, and Mark Twain). When Mr. Pitts read about ALP in 2007, he realized that he, like Lincoln, was 6’4″ tall, wore a size 14 N shoe, and had four sons, so he became a Lincoln presenter.

Gerald Pitts has appeared in schools, libraries, civic meetings, conventions, and other venues throughout South Carolina, from Walhalla to Charleston. He was also featured in the two-hour PBS documentary, Looking for Lincoln that aired on February 11, 2009. “The Peggy Denny Show” devoted a 30-minute interview to Lincoln on Chanel 16 in Greenville on May 24, 2010.

Mr. Pitts spent 30 years in the Army on active duty and in the reserve and was awarded The Soldiers Medal in the name of President Reagan in 1985. He graduated from Presbyterian College on a National Merit Scholarship and holds graduate degrees in microbiology and counseling psychology. He taught every science course in the curriculum from grades 7 through 12 during 12 years at Cambridge Academy.

He is married to Jymmie Nell, owner of the Bootery, and they have six grandchildren. Even though they were married on a Friday the 13th, they celebrated their 46th anniversary in December 2009. Jymmie sometimes appears as Mary Todd Lincoln at evening programs.

**Gerald Pitts requests an additional honorarium or travel reimbursement to the $250 contributed by SC Humanities.

 

An Afternoon with Abraham Lincoln
Gerald Y. Pitts performs an original one-act play as Abraham Lincoln. You will hear Abe recount stories of his life from boyhood to presidency. Programs are available for any grade level and of any length.
The Classroom Civil War Museum
A traveling display of Lincoln and Civil War memorabilia and artifacts is available as a separate program. It requires a dedicated classroom for the day and at least six folding or library size tables. One or more classes can be rotated through the exhibit during a period of perhaps four repetitions; commentary and historical explanation will be given by the presenter who may or may not dress as Lincoln. Some of the objects can be seen nowhere else and include items of high value like Lincoln-signed documents to tintypes, cannonballs from Charleston harbor, goose quill pens, CDVs, a Confederate knapsack, original Currier & Ives prints, surgeon’s kits, letters, battlefield dug artifacts, over a thousand minie balls, an extensive exhibit of drummer boys and powder boys, and many other objects.

PolandTomTom Poland

Tom writes about the South, its people, land, culture, and nature. The author of six books about South Carolina, he travels back roads looking for forgotten places, captivating people, and vestiges of bygone times, many of which appear in his columns and features. Much of that work finds its way into books. A Georgian and University of Georgia alumnus, he lives in Columbia where he writes about Georgialina, the region he calls his native land. In all, he’s written ten books and has three others underway.

Discoveries & Surprises Along South Carolina’s Back Roads
Tom travels many a road off the beaten path. Three legs across South Carolina on Highway 76 reveals the state’s rich and surprising character. Other journeys have taken him from the Chattooga River to the Glendale Ruins to the Lowcountry. A surviving drive-in theater, the Kings Highway, a covered bridge, nuclear weapons reactors, poke salad picking, and primitive barrier islands will take you on a journey too as he shares his experiences along the back roads.
A Vanishing Southland: The Loss of Ways and Traditions
Tom often writes about the vanishing ways, places, and traditions that have blessed the South with a sense of place: small towns that close at noon Wednesdays, vanishing country stores, telephoning fish, wasp attacks in church, casting spells to remove warts, and more. He brings the Southland of yesteryear alive … despite change and newcomers the South lives on.
How A Road Trip Led To Four SC Books
Before walking out as SC Wildlife‘s managing editor to freelance, Tom made a road trip with photographer Robert Clark in search of a story. They found it and “Tenant Homes, Testament To Hard Times,” landed them a book contract. That book led to four others. Their initial 100-mile journey in time would lead to more than 50,000 miles as they documented a beautiful vision of South Carolina.
Stories Behind The Photos (Behind the scenes of Reflections of South Carolina, Vol. II and Classic Carolina Road Trips: 100 stunning images in all.)
An illustrated talk takes the audience behind the scenes to a haunted cemetery, South Carolina’s oldest bridge, North America’s only tea plantation, a wild ride down the Chattooga, an old mill where a tractor killed one of the last men making stone-ground cornmeal, a colony of carnivorous pitcher plants, forest fire entrapment while photographing rocky shoals spider lilies, and more.
How A Mule Kick Killed Eight People: A True Story
Tom’s habit of photographing old gas pumps at country stores had him cross paths with the grandson of a man killed for $500—murder for hire. The mayhem that ensued made history, involved Strom Thurmond, and led to eight people’s death, all because a mule kicked a calf in the head. The sole electrocution of a woman in South Carolina took place accompanied by a scandalous rumor.
From Georgetown To Georgialina—The Enduring, Endearing South
The South our forebears knew lingers … rivers free of dams, old timey religion camp meetings, classic BBQ haunts, old home places, rice plantations, a night on a primitive barrier island untouched by man, the High Hills of Santee, and a sentimental journey down US Highway 1. Experience why the South remains iconic. Fading but hanging on the Southland of yesteryear lives on.
Carolina Bays—South Carolina’s Mysterious Landform (Photos)
An illustrated talk … From Woods Bay State Park to Carolina bays in the coastal plain and Savannah River Site, Tom takes the audience on a journey to unique wetlands once thought created by a meteorite bombardment. From Venus flytraps to pit vipers and white sand rims reminiscent of snow, it’s a journey to and through one of the world’s more mysterious landforms.
Unforgettable People & Places
Tom shares experiences about the legendary Goat Man, a colonel who turned from war to camellias, a sweet man who ended up homeless, and an unforgettable teacher. Enduring places include adventures at a bus station as a ticket agent, filming a wildlife refuge’s lovely isolation, the smell of rain on dirt roads, a kudzu-covered land, and a summer place where life changed, and a night journey by train from Columbia’s Lincoln Street to Florida and back.
What The Shag Taught Me
Tom wrote Save The Last Dance For Me (USC Press), the story of how the blues evolved into beach music and how the shag evolved to become the state dance of North and South Carolina. What surprised him most while writing the history of the shag and the Society of Stranders was a revealing glimpse into his own past. How the Beatles and other British rock groups idolized Elvis and commandeered the Mississippi Blues to storm America with its rocking and rolling British Invasion.
South Carolina Country Roads
“South Carolina Country Roads” takes readers on a journey down forgotten routes and lesser-traveled byways. Join Tom as he shares photos and discusses what he discovered along the 10,000 miles he drove deliberately avoiding the interstates. Discover the bones of the land, the DNA of real life—rural icons, old home places, oddities, vanquished communities, and relics from yesteryear. It’s like resurrecting your grandparents and visiting them once again. During his talk, somewhere down a road few consider, you’ll find a place called Obscurity. It will put you back in touch with your roots, and do so in a beautiful way.

Aïda Rogers

AidaRogers2016JPGAïda Rogers is a writer and editor whose feature journalism has won national and regional awards. She has worked in newspapers, television and magazines, and is co-editor of Stop Where the Parking Lot’s Full, a guide to some of South Carolina’s most popular restaurants. A Lexington native, she lives in Columbia and works for the South Carolina Honors College at her alma mater, the University of South Carolina.

South Carolina: Sometimes we like it, sometimes we don’t.

When writer/editor Aïda Rogers asked other writers in South Carolina to write about the one place in the state that means the most to them, what she got was … complicated. And what love isn’t? South Carolina’s many conflicting characteristics have marked its many writers, whether their genres are poetry or fiction, journalism or history. Composers of those kinds of writing, and those who specialize in food, sports, children’s literature, the outdoors, and other subjects, weigh in on what Pat Conroy describes as a state that’s more of a “cult” than anything else. Rogers gathered the stories and compiled them into a series of anthologies published by the University of South Carolina Press. In State of the Heart: South Carolina Writers on the Places They Love, a variety of regionally and nationally known writers describe fading farms, small hometowns, obscure eating places, grand and crumbling sports arenas, lakes and rivers, islands and mountains, country roads, and places that no longer exist. These collections are for tourists who want a different kind of vacation—one that offers a deeper look into why South Carolina is the way it is.

Ron Roth

Ron Roth is former director and CEO of the Reading Public Museum in Reading, Pennsylvania, and director of the Nebraska Museum of Art of the University of Nebraska.  He has curated or co-curated numerous exhibitions from the Patriotic Paintings of N.C. Wyeth to a major exhibition with international glass artist Dale Chihuly. More recently as an independent curator and consultant he researched and wrote the script for the permanent exhibition area of the Central Pennsylvania African American Museum in Reading, Pennsylvania and its exhibit on the Underground Railroad in central Pennsylvania.  Most recently he curated and designed an exhibition for the Historic Beaufort Foundation in Beaufort, South Carolina, on the history of the Beaufort Volunteer Artillery, one of the United State’s first organized, military units.

Roth curated the exhibition, John James Audubon in the Mid-Atlantic, for the Reading Public Museum in Reading, Pennsylvania, and organized an exhibition of the work of Audubon for the Museum of Nebraska Art of the University of Nebraska in Kearney, Nebraska.  Roth researched and purchased major original works of Audubon for the creation of a gallery devoted to Audubon’s art for the Museum of Nebraska Art.

As an educator he has made many presentations for diverse audiences including high schools, universities, service clubs, Elder Hostel and most recently the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute of the University of South Carolina, Beaufort.

He wrote and narrated a popular statewide weekly radio program on the arts for Nebraska Public Radio, and has been a seasonal historian and licensed battlefield guide for the Gettysburg National Military Park. His publications include non-fiction, fiction, poetry, museum catalogues and educational publications.  He received his bachelor’s degree in history from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio,  and a Masters-At-Teaching degree in Museum Studies from George Washington University, Washington D.C.

Bound for Canaan: The Underground Railroad and the African American Quest for Freedom
The story of the Underground Railroad is one of the most epic in American History.  This presentation describes the heroic efforts of African Americans and whites to hide and guide runaway slaves in their desperate journeys to freedom in the north and in Canada.  Highlights of the presentation include first person narratives of escaping runaway slaves and their encounters with slave catchers and kidnappers; the courageous work of railroad “conductors” like Harriet Tubman; and the role of plantation slavery, African American churches and slave uprisings like the Stono Rebellion in South Carolina in generating the growth of the Underground Railroad.
Desperate Hours: Understanding the Legacy of the Battle of Gettysburg through the Sculpture of its Battlefield Monuments
The battlefield monuments at the Gettysburg National Military Park that were sculpted and dedicated in the decades following the Civil War include some of the most powerful and expressive works of 19th and 20th Century American sculpture.  The work of some of America’s leading sculptors is represented on the battlefield including Augustus St. Gaudens and Gutzon Borglum—the sculptor of Mt. Rushmore.   This presentation explores  the sculptor’s and stone mason’s art at Gettysburg  and  how this art expressed the public’s changing perceptions and sentiments related to the battle and its significance.
The Entrepreneurial Artist: John James Audubon in the Lowcountry
John James Audubon’s Birds of America ranks as one of the greatest achievements in American art. Its groundbreaking format depicting 435 of North America’s known bird species life-size and in habitat captured the imagination of the public and catapulted him into international fame.  This presentation provides audiences with insight into Audubon’s ambitious, self-styled role as adventurer, artist and natural scientist.  In addition to providing an overview of Audubon and his era, the presentation focuses on his work in the South Carolina Lowcountry.
Undaunted Valor: The Beaufort Volunteer Artillery in the Civil War
The Beaufort Volunteer Artillery is one of the longest serving military units in the history of the United States.  Its service includes the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Civil War, the Spanish American War, World War I and World War II.  This presentation will focus on its Civil War exploits in over a dozen military engagements.
From Samarkand to the Caves of the Thousand Buddhas: The Story of the Silk Road
The history of the Silk Road in Central Asia covers a vast panorama of history, art, religion and commerce over the past 2,500 years.  A major trade route linking Mediterranean and Far East cultures, its story includes exotic ancient cities like the legendary Samarkand.  Explorers of the Silk Road are highlighted in this presentation as well as the art and religion of this unique melting pot of cultures.
The Hudson River School Artists
The Hudson River School artists were a group of 19th Century American Artists who painted primarily in the Hudson River Valley of New York in the Catskills and Adirondack mountains.  Their work transformed American landscape art by depicting nature realistically, while endowing it with spiritual meaning.  This introduction to the Hudson River School artists includes work by Thomas Cole, Asher B. Durand, Sanford Gifford, Jasper Cropsey and John Kensett.
A Landscape Aflame: The Art Of The American Civil War
The art of leading American artists and photographers of the American Civil War era provides unique and compelling images of the experiences of soldiers, civilians and slaves. From the battlefield to the home front, this art includes insights into the viewpoints that motivated both sides of the conflict and eloquent depictions of the human face of the war.  Many of America’s leading 19th century artists including Frederick Church, Winslow Homer and Eastman Johnson created Civil War related art, and some, like northern artist Sanford Gifford and southerner Conrad Wise Chapman were soldiers themselves. This presentation  includes recent scholarship that has demonstrated how significant Civil War art can be to further our understanding of the War.
The Stono Rebellion
The Stono Rebellion on September 9, 1739, was the largest slave uprising in North America.  Twenty-one whites and approximately 40 African slaves were killed in this bloody confrontation just twenty miles from Charleston.  This presentation examines the social and political context of the South Carolina Lowcountry’s plantation system and the growth of slavery in the early Colonial era; the events which sparked the revolt and the brutal struggle that ensued; and the aftermath of the event and its impact on the future of slavery in South Carolina.
The Art of Norman Rockwell
As the premiere illustrator for the Saturday Evening Post for nearly half a century, no other American artist was more popular with the public than Norman Rockwell. Americans saw in Rockwell’s art a reflection of their values, their strengths and their foibles. Despite his easy-going, pipe-smoking facade, he was a lonely man who suffered from depression. This presentation explores the life and art of America’s unofficial “Artist-in-Chief,” and the unique and lasting contribution he made to American life.
Trusting the Light:  America’s Master Impressionists
One can hardly think of a more revolutionary and significant art movement than that of 19th century Impressionism, a style so influential and popular it continues to flourish today. This presentation  examines the American Impressionist movement, its leading artists, and their transformation of the American art scene.
All Things Southern:  The Charleston Renaissance and the Revival of Southern Art
Once celebrated as “the Queen of the South,” Charleston, South Carolina, was left devastated by the Civil War–a faded reflection of its ante-bellum glory.  For 50 years following the war the city struggled to overcome economic and cultural stagnation. Then in 1915 a group of artists and writers rediscovered the City’s innate beauty and artistic possibilities, fueling an extraordinary cultural and economic revival.  This presentation will explore the art of the Charleston Renaissance and its role in transforming a depressed southern capital into one of the world’s premier, tourist destinations.
Winnie-the-Pooh: The Bear Facts
Enjoy the fascinating back story of the Winnie the Pooh books and how they came to be written.  How a Canadian army officer found a baby bear in his home town of Winnipeg (hence the name Winnie), took him to London as his army unit’s mascot, donated him to the London Zoo where a young visitor named Christopher Robin saw him and became his friend, and  then, well, the rest is history isn’t it?  Join speaker Ron Roth and his guests Christopher, Eeyore, Kanga, Roo, Piglet, Owl  and Heffalump for a nostalgic exploration into one of the world’s most beloved children’s books.
What Civil War Are We Talking About?  Southern Honor and the Myth of the Lost Cause
In the aftermath of a brutal Civil War, many southerners justified their sacrifice by creating a romanticized version of the War. Prominent people like South Carolina’s Wade Hampton and LaSalle Corbell Pickett, widow of the famed Confederate General, promoted a version of the War that justified the South’s secession, casting doubt on the real causes of the conflict. This presentation explores this 19th century manifestation of “fake news” and its lasting consequences on the national memory and understanding of the Civil War.

 

 

ScheinBernieBernie Schein

Born, bred and Bar Mitzvahed in Beaufort, SC., Bernie graduated Newberry College, Newberry SC., and earned his Master’s Degree in Education from Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. Bernie is the author of Famous All Over Town -2014 (USC Press-Story River Books). The novel is based on Beaufort, SC from the 1960’s to ‘90’s and what it was like growing up Jewish in the South.

Bernie has been been featured and published in Atlanta Magazine, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Newsweek, Creative Loafing and other magazines, journals, and periodicals.

He has been on NPR and a featured guest on radio stations across the country.

His previous book is If Holden Caulfield Were In My Classroom (2009).

Bernie is also an educational consultant, doing workshops, giving talks and telling stories about the kids in his classroom at the Paideia School in Atlanta, where after serving as principal of three different schools, he taught for 33 years.

Married to the psychologist Dr. Martha Schein, Bernie has two daughters—the writer and philosopher Dr. Maggie Schein and the teacher Lara Alexander Williams and two granddaughters, Sofie and Caitlin. Bernie lives in Beaufort, SC.

www.bernieschein.com

**Bernie Schein requests an additional honorarium to the $250 contributed by SC Humanities.**

Growing up Jewish in the South
The Jewish Southerner is the last unexplored terrain in Southern literature. Learn how growing up Jewish in the South informs writing, characters, and psychology of narrative.
Historical perspective on the Lowcountry
What was the Lowcountry like for all of us in the past? What’s it like now in a small Southern town? In the fifties, everybody knew everybody else, or thought we did, so everyone was famous or infamous. In hindsight, however, what we didn’t know was equally powerful and revelatory.

Kimberly Simms

SimmsKimberly2016While dedicating some of her time between her work as a teaching artist and her writing for young adults, Kimberly Simms is an award winning poet in her own right. She was recently named as the 2016 Carl Sandburg Writer-In-Residence. Simms is primarily inspired by the history and people of the South. Simms holds a Masters in English from Clemson University with a Creative Writing Thesis on the textile mills of South Carolina. Kimberly Jane Simms has been sharing her poems with a variety of audiences since she started running poetry slams in her twenties. She was a member of the Greenville Slam Team that won the South East Regional Poetry Slam in 1998. Since then she has gone on to gain recognition from both esteemed literary editors, as well as live audiences. Her poetry has appeared in numerous literary journals such as Poem, The South Carolina Review, The Asheville Poetry Review, Kakalak, and Eclipse. She has been a featured performer and reader internationally at festivals and venues including the Battersea Arts Center London, The Institute of Contemporary Arts London, The Chopin Theater Chicago, The Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, The Peace Center, the LEAF Festival, and Artisphere, as well as numerous other arts establishments and universities. She is currently finishing her first young adult novel.

A Poetry Reading: Discovering South Carolina through poetry. (Grades 4 -12 OR Adults.)
This reading, led by poet Kimberly Simms, connects audiences to the excitement of contemporary poetry. Kimberly Simms will share a variety of original and well known engaging poems that explore the life and history of South Carolina. Kimberly Simms has garnered recognition for her poetry not only from esteemed literary journals, but also from national poetry festivals. Her poems have been featured on both television, radio, and in print. For libraries, this reading can include book talks tailored to that library’s collection. The reading will finish with a question and answer session.
A Festival Reading: A Poetic Journey through South Carolina (All Ages)
This poetry reading and performance will present a variety of original poems that will appeal to a broad audience on themes related to South Carolina. These poems are family friendly and entertaining to all ages. Audiences will enjoy crowd favorites such as Simms’ Turner Speaks My South poem “My South’s Boys” and her inspirational “Small Spaces.” This collection of light, lively, and humorous poems are a great way to bring the poetic arts to your community festival.  Simms has been featured at The Red, White, and Blue Festival (Greenville, SC), Artisphere Festival (Greenville, SC), The TRAM Festvial (Travelers Rest, SC), The Art on the Trail Festival (Travelers Rest, SC), The LEAF Festival (Asheville, NC,) and many more. The reading will finish with a question and answer session.
Celebrating Carl Sandburg: Hands on Poetry Experience (K-8)
This workshop weaves together history and poetry to explore Southern themes through the poetry of Carl Sandburg. After introducing Carl Sandburg, Kimberly Simms will lead the group in a poetry writing AND/OR theater activity inspired by Carl Sandburg’s poetry. This experience can be tailored for different age groups and experience levels.  Kimberly Simms is the 2016 Carl Sandburg Writer-In-Residence. The reading will finish with a question and answer session.
Talking to Disaster: Finding healing through poetry. (Adults)
After a disaster, communities find comfort in poems that speak to their sense of loss. Whether dealing with personal grief or processing a disaster, individuals can be overwhelmed with emotions. Yet a special type of healing comes from reading and hearing words that echo your own complex feelings. In this reading and discussion, poet Kimberly Simms will share poems on disaster and grief to provide a medium for dialogue. Attendees will be encouraged to find a sense of community through discussion of contemporary poetry.  This dialogue can be tailored to help communities deal with specific events.
Poetic Perspectives: Exploring the humanities through poetry. (K-12 OR Adults)
In this workshop, poet and educator Kimberly Simms will lead attendees in writing monologue style poems in the voice of a favorite literary character or historical figure. This workshop works particularly well when exploring a pre-chosen work of fiction or historical figure as part of a larger celebration, conference, or unit. The workshop includes a pre-writing activity, a craft lesson, and examples to scaffold all writing levels. The workshop will finish with sharing and a brief discussion.
Cooking up Poetry: Writing recipe poems. (K-12 OR Adults)
In this delicious workshop, poet and educator Kimberly Simms will lead attendees in writing their own “recipe” style poems. Attendees will also discuss several sample poems to help them explore ideas about food and life. The workshop includes a structured poetic form and a craft lesson so that writers of any level can participate. The workshop will finish with time for sharing and discussion.
Poetry Slam: Putting performance into contemporary poetry. (Grades 4-12 OR Adults)
In this hands-on workshop, poet and educator Kimberly Simms will lead attendees in performing well-known contemporary poems or pre-written original poems. The workshop will feature a short craft lesson on voice and blocking. The workshop will also include a discussion on the history and current state of poetry slams. The session will end with an informal performance, as well as a question and answer session. Kimberly Simms is a certified slam master with the national organization Poetry Slam Inc. She is a former South East Regional Slam Champion (Greenville Slam Team 1998). She was a regional SC judge for the 2016 Poetry Out Loud Competition.

SpragueStewartStuart Sprague

Dr. Sprague is an Associate Professor of Family Medicine, teaching at the AnMed Family Medicine Residency program in Anderson, SC. His work involves teaching behavioral medicine, ethics, and humanities to physicians in training. He also works at AnMed Health, and as a consultant in other facilities, as an ethicist preparing ethics committees, educating clinical staff, and consulting on difficult cases. He also serves as a consultant to the Medical Ethics Committee of the South Carolina Medical Association and the convener of the South Carolina Healthcare Ethics Network. Prior to his current assignment, he was a professor in the Religion and Philosophy Department at Anderson College. He received his undergraduate education in chemistry at Duke University and received the MDiv and PhD degrees from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY.

Medical Ethics: An Introductory Survey
Scientific and technical progress, political and economic forces, and a changing social climate have combined to form a new era in the practice of medicine. These trends and many of the ethical issues they have created are treated in a brief overview of a new discipline.
End of Life Decisions
The ability to extend life and the issues created by new technologies have focused increased attention and decisions that must be made as we approach the end of life. The ethical, spiritual, political, and economic issues raised in this context are the focus of this discussion. Cases are used to illustrate the issues raised.
Ethics of Health Care Reform
Economic and political factors are dramatically changing the context in which healthcare is delivered. This program will identify some of these changes and address the ethical issues that arise as a result. Cases will be used to illustrate the issues, and specific strategies for change will be addressed.
Religion and Politics
Questions about the proper role of religious ideas and beliefs in the political process have abounded since ancient times. This program addresses the modern debate on that subject and seeks to find ways in which religion can appropriately be included in political deliberation without being narrowly partisan or sectarian.
Religion and Medicine
Much research is being focused on ways in which religious practice and spirituality influence health. These findings, along with religious attitudes and values of both patients and physicians, inevitably influence medical practice. How these influences interact and strategies for a helpful relationship among them are addressed.
Literature and Medicine
Poetry, short stories, and novels often contain narratives which describe how persons deal with illness. Study of these genre can illuminate this part of the human condition and help doctors and patients understand better their interactions and the healing role of the physician-patient relationship.
Physician-Patient Relationships and Communication
Physician-patient relationships are distinct from other relationships and can have important effects on the health and wellness of all. How communication takes place in these relationships and their role in the processes of healing and preventing illness are a useful study.
Modes of Ethical Thought
In recent years much attention has been devoted to ethics, particularly in a variety of professions and in the realms of politics and business. The language of ethics is often used without reference to the history of ideas about ethics and the various modes of thinking about and making ethical decisions. Studying the ways in which ethical theories have arisen and the contributions of religious thought and philosophy to the discussion leads to much help in making difficult decisions.

Bonnie R. Stanard

StanardBonnieBonnie Stanard graduated from the University of South Carolina and became an English teacher until marriage, children, and travel took her out of the profession. Arriving late to a writing career, she has published six novels in the last five years, one of which was listed on BlueInk Review’s selection of “Best Novels of 2015.” Her poems and stories have been published in journals such as Harpur Palate, Slipstream, Eclipse, and North Atlantic Review. Prior to returning to her home state, she lived in a number of cities where she edited local periodicals. Her novels are available at various online venues. She is active in the Columbia II Writing Workshop. Her website is http://www.bonniestanard.com.

Acting on Poetry
Even if you don’t read poetry, you’ll find in this program a poem to like. Beginning with Bonnie Stanard’s quick review of three poetic forms, this audience participation program gets into acting. You don’t have to love poetry, but it helps if you can stand before a group and read a poem. There are sonnets for those who like structure, free verse for those who don’t, and blank verse for the in-between. Participants compete for “best reading” of a poem of their choice of either a sonnet, blank verse, or free verse. Maximum 15 participants.
A Demanding Genre – Historical Fiction
If you’ve thought of writing a novel such as Cold Mountain, Wolf Hall, or Girl with a Pearl Earring, consider the demands of Historical Fiction. No other genre requires the research of this one. In addition, its sub-genres multiply like fast food franchises, e.g. Alternate Historical Fiction; Romance HF; Paranormal HF; Suspense HF. It’s hard to keep up with where novels are going with history. Bonnie Stanard touches on some of the controversy surrounding Historical Fiction and provides examples of her research in writing her series of antebellum novels.
Prose Poems, Or Is It Flash Fiction?
A fine line, which isn’t easily defined, divides prose from poetry in these two literary forms. As painting and sculpture are merging in many a museum, so are prose and poetry on the literary scene. You may not come away from this program with a clear definition of either, but you’ll learn about the latest developments. This is an audience participation program in which attendees will produce prose poems based on news accounts. Bring notebook and pen or pencil.

SweeperDonaldDonald Sweeper

Donald Sweeper has been doing reenactments of famous African Americans for nearly 10 years. He also does lectures and storytelling about the Gullah Culture for large and small groups of all age levels. He has taught in both public and private education at the elementary and middle school grade levels. During the summer of 2014 he was selected by the Greenville Chautauqua organization to portray African American Congressman and Civil War Hero, Robert Smalls. He did (8) performances during the 10-day festival at different sites which included Greenville Technical College, Hughes Main Library at Spartanburg, and Warren Wilson College near Asheville, North Carolina. His Web Address is donaldsweeperpresents.net

**Donald Sweeper requests an additional honorarium to the $250 contributed by SC Humanities.**

Robert Smalls “Rising to the Occasion”
This is a stage reenactment which is approximately 35 minutes long in which Donald Sweeper portrays Robert Smalls Chautauqua-style, as if the current year is 1895. Donald Sweeper dramatizes the commandeering of the Planter boat on the early morning of May 13, 1862 as Robert Smalls piloted through the Charleston Harbor undetected by the Confederates and sailed past Fort Sumter on the way to the Union blockade forces situated out into the Atlantic. At the end of this performance, Donald Sweeper entertains questions in character  as Robert Smalls and then later takes the beard and mustache off and answers personal questions as well.
A visit from Dr. Ernest Everett Just Research Scientist
This performance, in which Donald Sweeper portrays Dr. Ernest E. Just Chautauqua-style, is about 35 minutes in length. As Dr. Ernest E. Just, he tells the story of how the doctor succeeded as a research biologist working at the Woods Hold Marine Biology Lab in Massachusetts from 1909 to 1930 while also heading the Zoology Dept. at Howard University as a faculty member. Learn about the hidden racism Dr. Just encountered as a black researcher whose work was many years before its time.
Scrooge, “According to Gullah”
This is a Christmas season comedy based on Ebenezer Scrooge from the Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol.  The stage performance features Donald Sweeper acting the part of Scrooge as if he is speaking in the Gullah Language.
Growing up Gullah
This is a 45 minute one-man show in which Donald Sweeper tells stories shared to him by his ancestors and the elderly people from the community in which he grew up. This performance also includes Gullah folklore and traditions, as well as rites of passages performed by many of the African American Churches from Reconstruction up to the early 1970s. Donald Sweeper will also translate Gullah to English for the audience. As a demonstration, he reads scriptures from the New Testament Gullah Bible.
Richard T. Greener
Donald Sweeper brings to life professor Richard T. Greener, the first African American to graduate from Harvard University and the first African American faculty to teach at the University of South Carolina during Reconstruction from 1873-1877.  At the University of South Carolina, Greener reorganized and cataloged the library holdings which were in disarray after the Civil War.  In character as Richard Greener, Mr. Sweeper will dramatize the frustration and disappointment Greener experienced when Wade Hampton became governor and closed the university in 1877 to rid the school of blacks only to reopen in 1880 as an all-white institution.  Greener then became Dean of the Howard University Law School in the District of Columbia. The reenactment is 35 minutes in length, followed by a brief question and answer session from the audience.

tekulvesusanSusan Tekulve

Susan Tekulve is the author of In the Garden of Stone, winner of the 2012 South Carolina First Novel Award and a 2013 SIBA “Okra Award.”   She’s also published three short story collections: Savage PilgrimsWash Day and My Mother’s War Stories.  Her stories and essays have appeared in Shenandoah, The Georgia Review, New Letters, Best New Writing 2007The Indiana ReviewDenver QuarterlyPuerto del Sol, Prairie SchoonerNorth Dakota QuarterlyConnecticut Review, Beloit Fiction JournalCrab Orchard Review, The Literary Review, WebdelsolBlack Warrior Review, and The Kansas City Star. She has been awarded a Sewannee Writers’ Conference Scholarship and a Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference Scholarship.  An Associate Professor of English at Converse College, she teaches in the BFA and MFA in Creative Writing Programs.

A recipient of Converse College’s Kathryn Amelia Brown Teaching Award, her teaching interests include creative writing: short fiction, novel writing, nonfiction, memoir writing, travel writing, and professional writing.  She also teaches World Literature, Short Fiction as Literature and Appalachian Literature.  She 
has taught creative writing study abroad courses in Italy.

Are there too many trees in my story?: How to harness the forces of nature in your narratives
In this workshop we will discuss ways that writers use natural landscapes to form characters, to create rhythm and structure, and to communicate themes in their writing. You don’t need to be an expert in the natural sciences to enjoy and benefit from this workshop.  We will practice writing exercises designed to help you hone your observations of nature as it relates to you, and to help you to use the forces of nature as more than just backdrop to your stories.
Moments of Being and Non-Being; Finding Extraordinary Stories in Every Day Objects and First Homes
In her autobiographical essay, “A Sketch From the Past,” memoirist and fiction writer Virginia Woolf explains that narrative is encoded in objects, particularly every day objects and places from our childhood.  She maintains that these “moments” often go unrecognized, and that it is our job as writers to identify and consciously shape these experiences into stories.  This workshop is designed to teach fiction and nonfiction writers how to identify metaphors in seemingly ordinary childhood moments and places.  Additionally, it will help writers learn how to use these details to create strong, resonant narrations.
From Fairy Tale to Literary Narrative: How to Transform Family Stories Into Fiction and Essays
This class is divided between lecture/discussion and writing exercises, and it is designed to help writers shape family stories into fictional or nonfictional narratives.  We will discuss the best ways to identify “family legends” that make the richest material for written stories, novels, and essays.  By reading excerpts from the work of published authors, we’ll examine several research techniques—traditional and nontraditional– that these writers use to mine the material of their lives, or the lives of their family members, in their fiction and nonfiction.  We’ll also look at the different ways to shape family stories into engaging narratives. Finally, during the writing portion of this workshop, you will practice transforming a small fragment of a story from your family or town into an essay or short story.
Crossing Borders: Travel Writing in Three Genres
In her autobiography, One Writer’s Beginnings,  Eudora Welty states,  “Writers and travelers are mesmerized alike by knowing of their destinations.”  She argues that like travelers, writers are preoccupied with discovering sequence in experience, of stumbling upon cause and effect in the happenings of a writer’s own life as well as in the lives of others.  Connections slowly emerge. “Like distant landmarks you are approaching, cause and effect begin to align themselves, draw closer together. “  Often these connections are made in retrospect, from a distance, after you have traveled to a new place and are able to look back from where you’ve come.  In this writing workshop, we will discuss the elements of narration shared by fiction writers, poets and travel writers—character development, setting, point of view and dialogue.  We will read classic and contemporary authors, discussing how those writers look back through a lens of distance and memory at places and people in order to create stories that make good narrative sense.   We will explore our own memories through writing exercises, generating real and imagined stories that are enhanced by the element of travel.

 

ThompsonDavidDavid Thompson

David Thompson, a South Carolina native, is Professor of Music at Limestone College where he teaches private and group piano, music theory and history and accompanies the college-community chorus. In addition to being a Limestone graduate, he received his Master’s and Doctorate in Piano Pedagogy from the University of South Carolina. He has performed as a soloist and accompanist in many different venues in the United States and in England, Germany, Korea, and Iceland, where he and his family lived and taught music for several years. He has also been involved with professional, amateur, and college theatre companies and is very active as Musical Director for productions at Limestone College. His other interest includes performing piano music of the Civil War era in period clothing. David lives in Gaffney with his wife Sharon and their children Jeanna and Will.

Confederates at the Keyboard: Southern Piano Music During the Civil War Era
Along with songs and military band music published in the South during the Civil War, a considerable repertoire of solo keyboard music written by white, black, male, and female composers also exists.  This repertoire includes traditional dances such as the waltz, mazurka, schottische and polka, marches, song arrangements, and descriptive fantasies.  This program, performed in period clothing, brings this unknown repertoire to modern ears.  Throughout the program, excerpts from Confederate diaries, letters and memoirs are read recounting the moving effect of keyboard music in the home as well as the overwhelming grief resulting from the destruction of these prized possessions during the war.

John Thompson

ThompsonJohnAfter twenty-five years on Wall Street, John Thompson chose “the road less traveled” and became an award-winning author of Middle Grade fiction, as well as thrillers and occult thrillers for adults. His works include Middle Grade novels: The Girl from Felony Bay (Junior Library Guild Selection and SIBA Best Children’s Book) and Disappearance at Hangman’s Bluff (Junior Library Guild Selection). His adult novels include: Armageddon Conspiracy (SIBA Finalist and IPPY Gold Medal), and Salem VI: Rebecca’s Rising (soon to be a major motion picture).

The Importance of Teaching Literacy
John Thompson leads a lively discussion about why literature matters so much in a society increasingly focused on technology, how reading can help level the socio-economic disparities in our schools and our society, and how reading prepares children for the jobs of the future.
The Girl From Felony Bay and Disappearance At Hangman’s Bluff
This presentation includes a brief reading from one of the books and a discussion of the influences that led John Thompson to write the books (racial reconciliation, environmentalism, living history). John talks about the incredibly deep well of material both cultural, environmental and historic for a Yankee novelist moving to the South.

WagnerGailGail Wagner

Gail Wagner is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of South Carolina and a respected paleoethnobotanist (one of the few in the Southeast). Her fields of study are the prehistoric archaeology of eastern North America and ethnobotany (the study of the interrelationships between plants and peoples). She is a veteran of archaeological projects in the Southwest, Israel, India, and South Carolina and has a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Washington University.

Why Garden?
Why do South Carolinians grow vegetables, and how does their ethnic background affect what they grow? You might be surprised to learn about the intangible benefits as voiced by local gardeners and to learn why some plants have special meaning.
What is a Vegetable?
Wait a minute – don’t we all know what is a vegetable? Or do we? Discover what we’ve learned from over 450 interviews. Do we agree on a definition of vegetable, and do we agree on which foods are vegetables? The answers will surprise you.
Cofitachequi: A Chiefdom
What is a chiefdom, the type of society encountered by de Soto when he visited South Carolina in 1540? Find out what recent digs have revealed about the late prehistoric Indians who lived in central South Carolina, in the vicinity of Camden.
Colonial Encounters
What happens to people’s diets when two worlds collide? Find out how life changed for the Indians in South Carolina following European exploration and settlement 1520-1730. Why were some crops adopted, and how did the encounter change the Europeans?
Use of Plants by American Indians
This slide show focuses on the uses of plants by Indians for food, drink, medicine, fiber, smoking, construction, and even poison and is based on both archaeological evidence and historic accounts. The show can also be combined with a 1-2 hour outside walk and talk to examine local plants, or we can do a walk only, even in the city, with no slide show.
Indian Gardens
You might be surprised to learn that corn, beans, and squash were not always important and that eastern North American Indians once depended on the now-extinct crops of marshelder, goosefoot, and maygrass. Learn about Indian gardens through time and discover the role of women in the domestication process.
Can Nature Knowledge Save the World?
What are the implications of Videophilia and Nature Deficit Disorder for the future of our world? Studies of children and South Carolina college students reveal the relationships between knowing nature, knowing the names of plants, human health, and conservation of biodiversity.

 

Marjory Wentworth

WentworthMarjoryMarjory Wentworth’s poems have been nominated for The Pushcart Prize five times. Her books of poetry include Noticing Eden, Despite Gravity, and The Endless Repetition of an Ordinary Miracle and New and Selected Poems. She is the co-writer with Juan Mendez of Taking a Stand, The Evolution of Human Rights, co-editor with Kwame Dawes of Seeking, Poetry and Prose inspired by the Art of Jonathan Green, and the author of the prizewinning children’s story Shackles. Forthcoming books include, We Are Charleston, Tragedy and Triumph at Mother Emanuel, with Herb Frazier and Bernard Powers, Ph.D. (2016) and Out of Wonder with Kwame Alexander and Chris Colderly (2017). Marjory is on the faculty at The Art Institute of Charleston. She is the co-founder and former president of the Lowcountry Initiative for the Literary Arts. She serves on the Editorial Board of the University of South Carolina’s Palmetto Poetry Series, and she is the poetry editor for Charleston Currents. Her work is included in the South Carolina Poetry Archives at Furman University, and she is the Poet Laureate of South Carolina.

What is a poet laureate?
In this program, Marjory Wentworth describes her tenure as South Carolina Poet Laureate, with many funny stories. The discussion also highlights the poets laureate who came before Marjory in SC, others in the US, and the US Poet Laureate.
Expressions of Healing
This presentation describes Marjory Wentworth’s experiences starting an arts and healing program for cancer patients at Roper Hospital. She will share stories about the experience and provides background information about the value of such programs, including examples from Duke, Sands Medical Center, and the Society for Arts and Healing.
One River, One Boat: what’s so scary about a three minute poem?
Marjory Wentworth’s poem “One River, One Boat” was cut from the lineup of Governor Nikki Haley’s 2015 inaugural ceremony, though it is traditional for the SC Poet Laureate to read a poem at this event. This speech is built around the poem and includes interesting anecdotes. It analyzes the larger issues that surround the poem and why the reaction was so immediate and intense.
Book Banning
Censorship issues are front page news every day: from the movie The Interview, to the killing of cartoonists in Paris. Censorship goes back centuries and needs to be understood in the complex historical and cultural situation surrounding the issue. Marjory Wentworth addresses this topic, using both her own experiences and drawing on work she has done for more than 10 years promoting banned authors.
The Power of Poetry
The speech describes the power of poetry – its unique ability to express ineffable and often overwhelming feelings, which is why we hear poems read at funerals, weddings and important occasions. During the days and weeks following the September 11th terrorist attacks, Americans turned to poetry as never before. In the haze of media, it was poetry that consoled us and helped us express our grief and outrage. It seemed that others had been there before. With that in mind, Marjory Wentworth will discuss poetry’s ability to describe the indescribable in both the personal and the public realm.
Poetry in the Public Life
This presentation examines the role of poetry in the public sphere from an international and historical perspective right up through the present in South Carolina.
The News from Poems
Newspapers and non-print media are filled with sound-bites that characterize an incident or policy in a limited and often stilted way. Other stories are under-reported or not reported at all. Writing poems inspired by a headline, an article or a news photo can counteract this practice and find the inherent humanity in the situation. Marjory Wentworth will read poems inspired by the news and explain the process. Some are profound; others are hysterically funny.
Poetry and Empathy
Poetry research shows that reading literature encourages compassion by showing people what it feels like to be in someone else’s shoes. Poetry, in particular, can help us understand the human condition in deep and transformative ways.
Poetry and Spirituality
Poetry is the closest thing we have to prayer. We turn to poetry and prayer when we are troubled and looking for explanations and courage. For most of us, our first exposure to poetry is in a religious context. Like prayer, poetry invites us to slow down and be still – to appreciate everything and everyone around us and consider what matters most in our lives and the world we live in.
Poetry and Resilience
“What is poetry that does not save nations or people?” (Milosz) From war to political terror, poets have been witnessing and writing about the horrors of injustice and tyranny. This body of work helps us better understand ourselves and our history.
Taking a Stand, The Evolution of Human Rights
This presentation describes the book Marjory Wentworth wrote with Juan Mendez, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture. It will explain the history of the human rights movement vis-à-vis his life. He was a political prisoner and torture victim in Argentina during the 1970s, and he is now one of the leading figures in the world on human rights issues. This is a redemptive story and a personal one. Marjory and Juan worked together at Amnesty International, and a poem she wrote about him reconnected them.

WestdonaldDonald West

Donald West is an instructor in the Department of History, Humanities, and Political Science at Trident Technical College. He teaches both sequences of the U.S. History and African American History courses. He also teaches a survey history course on Africa. He is a travel enthusiast and has visited numerous places connected to the Atlantic slave trade. West is also an active member of several professional organizations.

**Donald West requests an additional honorarium or travel reimbursement to the $250 contributed by The Humanities CouncilSC.**

The African Slave Trade (Atlantic and Indian Oceans)
Between 750-1890, African were forcefully removed from the continent to places throughout the Islamic world and the Americas. Donald West addresses this historical period with the support of a PowerPoint presentation.
Blue, Red, & Black: African Americans and the Revolutionary War
What role did black people play in the quest for liberty? This presentation and powerpoint of art work, illustrations, and historical documentation address the little-known, but significant impact African Americans made in US history during the period of 1763-1783.
Carter G. Woodson: the Father of Black History Between 1915-1950
Woodson promoted black history and culture through his scholarship and the professional organization he help to start, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. Donald West’s presentation tells this story.
African Americans and the Civil War
What role did black people play in preserving the Union and ending slavery? With (or without) a period uniform, including Springfield rifle, Donald West will present a brief history of African Americans and the Civil War which includes data, facts and figures, and key people.
Black Confederate
A reexamination of this strange and little-known topic. What are the facts behind the words, Black Confederates? This presentation addresses this controversial chapter in US and African American history.
Africanism in the Lowcountry and African American Culture
This presentation addresses many of the unknown facts about African survivals in American culture.
Madam C.J. Walker
Madam C.J. Walker was a business woman and activist in the age of Booker T. Washington. This is the story of a self-made millionaire and her impact on black life and culture.
The Right Stuff: Preserving Black History and Culture Through Historical Records and Documents
This presentation addresses the need and efforts to preserve historical records, photos, and documents and also includes the practice of proper storage and care of these archival materials.

Kasie Whitener

WhitenerKasieKasie Whitener is a South Carolina native, small business owner, and English professor. She earned her bachelors degree from Clemson University and masters in English from Winthrop University, where she wrote about Naked Realism, or GenX literature. She earned her Doctorate in Organization and Management with a specialization in global leadership from Capella University and volunteers for Bpeace, an organization that provides business coaching to women-owned start-ups in Afghanistan and South America. She has written dozens of short stories and completed four novels. Her primary areas of interest are reading critically, the writing process, the experience of Cold War kids, and the erosion of communication through social media. Dr. Whitener resides in Columbia, S.C. with her husband and daughter where she founded Lean In Columbia and Clemson Road Creative, a business writing studio.

Writers’ Work: Re-Vision Means Seeing the Work Again
Learning to re-vise or “see again” is the most important skill in creative writing. This workshop addresses the challenges of revision from the shortest flash fiction to a complete novel. This session provides basic principles of revision and practical tools for approaching the work. Attendees will learn how to evaluate their pacing, language, and characters scene by scene.
Writers’ Work: Self-Editing for Submission
The expertise of an editor is invaluable. Until you can afford one, there’s self-editing. This workshop addresses some basic distinctions between revision and proofreading, provides tools and tips for editing, and suggests ways in which you can become a competent editor of others’ work as well as your own.
Writers’ Work: Stories that Say More
In real life people chatter mindlessly about nonsense never actually making progress toward anything meaningful. In a story, your characters can’t afford that kind of talk. This workshop addresses writing dialogue including the mechanics like punctuation and tags, as well as dialogue functions like action and subtext. Samples of really good dialogue are examined and tools for evaluating your own dialogue and revising it are provided.
Reading like a Writer
More than just knowing you could have said it better, reading like a writer means understanding what the writer meant to do in a given passage. There are specific choices writers make in character, scene, and plot. This workshop is for avid readers who want to adopt a fresh approach, book club members looking for activities they can do, and ambitious readers wanting to take a new journey with the books they choose. I will provide methods for analysis, exercises for group participation, and reading challenges and lists to mix up your annual selection.

WilliamsJackJohn Williams

Dr. John R. Williams is a retired Professor of English Literature from Spartanburg with a Ph.D in Folklore from Indiana University. He served two years in Tehran, Iran with the United States Army as part of a military advisory group to the Shah. While there, he learned to speak fluent Farsi, served as a translator for a General, and traveled widely in Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria. He also directed the Appalachian Oral History Project in Eastern Kentucky.   He is a major contributor to Folklore studies including Our Appalachia: An Oral History and Usable Pasts: Traditions and Group Expressions in North America. He also holds an M.A. in Literature from the University of Kentucky and a B.A. from Centre College.

{Any of the following presentations can be tailored to meet the needs of your organization.}

Stories From Our Mountain Heritage
An entertaining storyteller, Dr. Williams portrays the characters from folk tales collected from Appalachian migrants in Cincinnati, Ohio. He highlights the migrants’ deep-seated sense of place as he recreates characters in Appalachian dialect. Especially moving is his version of Cinderella as a poor girl living up a hollar in the Kentucky mountains whose painted fingernails are her glass slipper. He weaves tales of real life moonshiners venting the smoke out the chimney of a tenement house, saloon keepers robbed so many times they put up a sign for the robbers to take what they want, and farmers whose dogs became notorious snake killers. Similar to the stories of mill workers in South Carolina, these tales reflect the problems created by cultural conflict in Appalachian Kentucky and Cincinnati.
Tales From the Mill Villages
The Folklore and oral traditions from the mill villages are rapidly changing as the they go the way of the coal camps in the mountains. Storytelling itself, the connective tissue of the community, has been drastically affected by this change. Dr. Williams has collected stories from mill workers in the Upstate, and he weaves a tapestry of yarns from colorful raconteurs such as Powerhouse Hawkins, a once infamous Spartanburg baseball pitcher. With the aid of Powerhouse, Dr. Williams recreates the larger than life mill baseball league and peoples it with great ball players of the past like Shoeless Joe Jackson and Dizzy Dean. In addition, he recreates life in the villages through children’s games and nursury rhymes along with foodways and workers’ tales. Dr. Williams highlights his own oral history collection with an archeological study of Sampson Mill Village in Greenville County, SC which uncovered unique family artifacts when they excavated this mill village. By recreating actual families from a mill village through their stories, Dr. Williams brings the village to life once more. The audience is encouraged to participate in this animated presentation.
Legends and Ghost Stories from the South
The South has a rich tradition of folk literature that draws upon oral tradition and colorful language for its substance. Legends, folk history, songs, foodways, customs, and unique dialects permeate the ghost stories of South Carolina and other Southern states. Dr. Williams draws upon the numerous collections of ghost stories and scary tales to create an evening of haunted enjoyment for young and old. Not just a Halloween event, this presentation promises to inform and delight and maybe evoke a few screams from all participants. Beginning with brief spellbinding recitations from Coleridge and Poe, Dr. Williams discusses the cathartic power of fear and horror in the human experience. Citing the night riders of southern history as examples of “real ghosts,” Dr. Williams discusses the use of fear as a psychological tool to control an ethnic minority group. All the usual “haints” are here too. Dr. Williams summons up all the ghosts that appear along the Atlantic seacoast from Georgia to the Carolinas beginning with the uncanny spectral ships that were often seen in Charleston Harbor. You are bound to hear the voice of a ghost from your neighborhood, so be prepared to jump out of your skin!
The Rise of ISIS and the Sunni/Shiite Schism
This presentation focuses on the differences between the beliefs and customs of Shiite Moslems in Iran and those of their neighbors, the Sunnis in Iraq. Focusing on the theoretical underpinnings of these two extreme branches of Islam, Dr. Williams discusses the historical changes which gave rise to ISIS in the light of the historical role of the Caliphate in the Middle East. Dr. Williams spent two years in Iran studying the language and customs of this 2500-year-old nation, and his Ph.D studies include Middle Eastern Folklore. He describes in detail some ancient Shiite traditions, such as their most famous holy day, Ashura, when mourners beat and cut themselves as part of a procession reenacting the death of Husein, a Shiite martyr.   Understanding the roots of this and other bleak customs together with the Zoroastrian new year celebration in which young men leap over fires to celebrate Spring helps us appreciate the differences between Western Christian customs and Muslim Middle Eastern ones. The discussion concludes with an overview of various terrorist groups and their allegiances.
How To Collect Your Community Stories
This presentation focuses on Oral History and its value to a community. Dr. Williams will share stories from two projects which he directed: the Appalachian Oral History Project and the Great Smoky Mountains Project. In the late 19970s Dr. Williams was one of the campus directors for an oral history project which covered four states in Appalachia. Funded by a grant from Rockefeller, Ford, NEH and other agencies, the AOHP was responsible for collecting thousands of interviews with mountain people. As a result, the book Our Appalachia: An Oral History was published. The Smoky Mountain Project took place in 1983 when Dr. Williams was part of a team in Tennessee who were hired by the state to collect Folklore traditions. Dr. Williams and others set up recorders and copy stands in Sevierville and invited family members who had been displaced from the Park to return with their stories and photographs.   In this technical presentation Dr. Williams will discuss the theory and techniques behind designing a similar project in your own community using modern technology. A major focus is grant – writing and other forms of fundraising. Participants will be asked to share their personal stories and to suggest ideas for oral history projects in their neighborhoods.
Jack Tales from the Richard Chase Collection
In1 983, while working as a scholar-in-residence for the Tennessee Committee for the Humanities, Dr. Williams had the opportunity to travel around the mountains with Richard Chase, the famous Jack Tale collector. During that time, he discussed Chase’s dialect renditions of the Jack Tales along with a number of  old English fairy tales which Chase discovered in the mountains.  The clever Jack of these tales always outwits his stronger adversaries from Bears and Bulls to Robbers and Giants. Familiar to all ages is the tale of “Jack and the Bean Stalk,” but told in mountain dialect it becomes funnier than ever. Also, “Jack and the Robbers,” a rendition of “The Bremmen Town Musicians,” keeps the audience howling, especially when the robbers mistake all the animal sounds for human ones. Dr. Williams also taught English in Appalachian Kentucky in the 1970’s where he studied Appalachian speech.  He combines the stories Chase collected with his appreciation of mountain dialect to present Jack Tales in a highly entertaining fashion. He also adds a degree of scholarship to this presentation as a trained academic folklorist.

WoodwardStanStan Woodward

Stan Woodward was born in Spartanburg, SC in 1942. He graduated from Spartanburg High School (1960); Clemson University BS, English (1964); and Columbia University MA, Curriculum and Supervision (1969). Woodward studied filmmaking in NY at The Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and the International Film Foundation as apprentice to producer, Julien Bryan during late 1960s. He was a filmmaking instructor and artist-in-residence at the Center for Understanding Media in NY and Designer/Director for the Media Arts Center and Filmmaker in Residence at the SC Arts Commission in Columbia, SC (1972 – 1980). He has been an Independent filmmaker and consultant for media arts at the National Endowment for the Arts, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and Capital Children’s Museum. Since 1980, he has studied Southern culture and been folklife documentary filmmaker at The Woodward Studio Ltd.

**Stan Woodward requests an additional honorarium to the $250 contributed by SC Humanities.**

 

Folklife: Don’t Be Home Without It
A 75-minute presentation on the ease of selecting and programming the finest and most wide-ranging American folklife documentaries in America over folkstreams.net, with annotations about filmmakers, including their own observations and accounts and multiple cross-references throughout.
GRITS In My Camera
A 75-minute film presentation with audience discussion about the making of “ITS GRITS!“, the Southern documentary film classic that entertained and surprised the world!
Carolina Hash: South Carolina Born and Bred
A 75-minute film presentation with audience discussion about the folk heritage companion to barbecue that is a unique foodway of South Carolina – not found in neighboring states of Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia.
Chicken Bog: King of the PeeDee
A one-hour film presentation with audience discussion about this unique folk heritage foodway that is beloved and native to South Carolina’s Lowcountry: a product of SC plantation rice kitchens; the theme of a town festival; and the center of stump meetings, church reunions and family gatherings.
Barbecue and Homecooking: South Carolina Folk Heritage Foodways Along the SC National Heritage Corridor
Learn about the film that set out to find, identify and authenticate folk heritage foodways, food artisans and restaurants where people could experience an authentic taste of South Carolina folklife.
Hallowed Ground: The Two Hundred Thirty Year Old Primitive Camp Meetings Continuing to Meet in Lowcountry South Carolina
Learn about the virtually unknown but continually thriving five primitive camp meetings grown out of the small rural communities of Dorchester County all within a twenty mile radius that each meet and celebrate in the woods in tents on their own permanent campgrounds once annually for a reuniting of families and extended families with roots in the agrarian communities near St. George, SC (three Anglo- and two African-American traditions). They can trace the roots of their traditions to the 1780 horseback evangelists Bishop Frances Asbury and Bishop Harry “Black Harry” Hosier who initiated camp meetings among small farmers and plantation owners in the SC Lowcountry.
Nothing to Prove: Mac Arnold Returns to the Blues
A film presentation about SC farmer, blues musician, and former Muddy Waters bass player, Mac Arnold, who grew up playing black gospel, country and rhythm and blues as a child in the region of the state heralded for forming what became known as the Piedmont Blues. Stan discovered Mac on the night when he shot Mac and his band, Plate Full ‘O Blues, as they introduced their first CD at the Handlebar Music Club in Greenville, SC and conducted a brief interview with him during the break. Realizing that Mac was sitting on a Southern Americana folk heritage tradition that was important to document and preserve, he began a three-year project that followed Mac and his young band of musicians as he led them back up the blues ladder and returned to the mainstream blues. This is their story.
Stewbilee: The Story of the Origin of The Virginia and Georgia Brunswick Stew Wars
A film presentation about the claims by Brunswick County Virginia and Brunswick Georgia that each originated the famous Southern stew, and how both state legislatures passed resolutions that declared so drawing the ire of stewmasters and stew crews from Virginia and Georgia that ultimately brought on the Brunswick Stew Wars.