The Cleveland School Fire

NEW TOPIC! In 1923, on the last day in this two-story wooden school, people packed the house for the school play. In the third act, an oil lantern fell to the floor. Everything caught fire. Relatives threw children out windows, slid others down outer walls. The seventy-seven souls who perished—only thirteen recognizable—were laid to rest in … Read more

George Washington’s 1791 Tour of the South: Where He Went and What He Drank

George Washington promised to visit every state in the new union during his presidency, and in the spring 1791 he set off from his Mount Vernon, Virginia home and traveled all the way to Savannah, Georgia and back. In researching his journey for her book “Methodists and Moonshiners,” Smith followed the president’s tour, investigating not … Read more

Reconsidering James Petigru: Unionist and Civic Reformer in a Radical Age

Few sarcastic quips in all of southern history remain as famous as James Petigru’s reported comment upon receiving the news that South Carolina had seceded from the Union. South Carolina, Petigru mused sarcastically, was “too small for a republic and too large for an insane asylum.” Petigru died in 1863, a devoted Unionist and southern … Read more

Twenty-First Century South Carolina’s Economic Dilemma

Despite the significant increase in South Carolina’s per capita income over the decades since 1940 (and those gains were real and generated a more vigorous consumer economy), the Palmetto state’s standing among states remained in the bottom ten of among fifty. In 2021, despite the state’s aggressive and sustained development efforts, SC ranked 43th in per … Read more

“A Soul of Priceless Value”: The Contested Ideology of Slaveholding in the Lowcountry

This lecture examines white Christianity’s struggle for influence among slaveholders in Charleston and the surrounding South Carolina Lowcountry as the movement delineated both the ideological and the practical mechanisms that it believed necessary to sustain a slaveholding society in the face of increasingly sharp moral and social criticism, chiefly from outside the region. Religious paternalism’s … Read more

The Thompson Family: Untold Stories from the Past (1830 – 1960)

Through the stories of enslaved ancestors and notable relatives, The Thompson Family: Untold Stories from The Past (1830-1960), chronicles the rich history of a prominent African American family from Salley, South Carolina features stories of individuals who were enslaved, a woman served as an enslaved cook during the Civil War, and agricultural life.