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True Places

A Lowcountry Preacher, His Church, and His People

Stanley F. Lanzano

Publication Year: 2013

True Places is an emotionally charged photographic documentary of the lives of evangelical pastor Floyd Knowlin and his close-knit African American congregations who live, work, and worship in a rural stretch of coastal South Carolina. For more than a decade photographer Stanley F. Lanzano has immersed himself in the daily practices of this community in Williamsburg and Georgetown counties, befriending Reverend Knowlin and becoming a welcomed part of his extended church family. The respectful relationship that Lanzano has forged with his subjects and the trust that they have extended to him shines through in the eighty-three black-and-white and eight color photographs included here, illustrating a vibrant coastal subculture rarely witnessed by outsiders. Many of Lanzano's photographs document services and church revivals, conveying the great joy, sorrow, and fervor of these meetings while highlighting Knowlin's captivating persona. Lanzano also grants us glimpses into baptisms in the murky, still waters of lowcountry South Carolina rivers. Beyond the church he takes us into the private homes and lives of Knowlin's flock, many of whom are of Gullah descent and keep elements of this heritage alive in their daily practices. Collectively these images show a society in transition, where pain and grief are juxtaposed with redemption and bliss. Lanzano's narrative of his meeting Reverend Knowlin and his continuing relationship with Knowlin's community is a tale of self-discovery. It is also a testament to the power of faith in the lives of often forgotten South Carolinians. It is a rarity for a photographer to be granted such unlimited access into these communities. Through these images Lanzano creates with the utmost reverence and respect a powerful record of the hardships and hopes he witnessed among Knowlin's congregations to preserve their legacy and to share their inspirational attitude toward life in these true places.

Published by: University of South Carolina Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. 2-7


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pp. vii-9

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pp. ix-x

This book would never have been possible without the sincerity, enthusiasm, wisdom, and friendship of the Reverend Floyd Knowlin. He believed in this project rom the start and encouraged his community and his family to accept my presence...

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pp. 1-5

In the summer of 1994, I was vacationing with my family at a historic inn on Pawleys Island, not far rom Georgetown, South Carolina. The inn was as intimate and restful as we had been told. The veranda was wide, the living room filled with books, and the ocean right at the door....

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1. People and Places [Includes Image Plates]

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pp. 7-38

I always carry a silver key that opens the side door of a pink, lat-roofed former furniture store near the corner of Winyah Street and Highway 17 in Georgetown, South Carolina. The paint has faded, and some shingles are missing rom the mansard roof, but glory lies within. It is...

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2. "Lord, I Wish I Had a Prayin' Church Tonight!"

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pp. 39-80

After a circuitous drive I arrived at Hickory Grove Chapel for my first revival meeting. Still a bit shakrom my experience at the burned church, I walked in and sat down on the side near the altar. Most of the lights were of and I was the only one there. I sat quietly and wondered if someone...

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3. Life, Death, and Renewal

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pp. 81-117

In August 2003 I received this message rom Reverend Knowlin on my voice mail: “God Bless you, Lanzano Family. This is your black pastor in South Carolina. Hello Joy! Hello my boy, Francis! Hello Mister Stanley! Stanley, could you call me? I have something important to tell you. I’ll be at...

Stanley F. Lanzano

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pp. 118-137

E-ISBN-13: 9781611172669
Print-ISBN-13: 9781570038518

Page Count: 136
Publication Year: 2013