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Interviews with Pat Conroy and His Family
A New York Times best-selling author of eleven novels and memoirs, Pat Conroy is one of America’s most beloved storytellers and a writer as synonymous with the South Carolina lowcountry as pluff mud or the Palmetto tree. As Conroy’s writings have been rooted in autobiography more often than not, his readers have come to know and appreciate much about the once-secret dark familial history that has shaped Conroy’s life and work. Conversations with the Conroys opens further the discussion of the Conroy family through four revealing interviews conducted in 2014 with Pat Conroy and four of his six siblings: brothers Mike, Jim, and Tim and sister Kathy. In confessional and often comic dialogs, the Conroys openly discuss the perils of being raised by their larger-than-life parents, USMC fighter pilot Col. Don Conroy (the Great Santini) and southern belle Peggy Conroy (née Peek); the complexities of having their history of abuse made public by Pat’s books; the tragic death of their youngest brother, Tom; the chasm between them and their sister Carol Ann; and the healing, redemptive embrace they have come to find over time in one another. With good humor and often-striking candor, these interviews capture the Conroys as authentic and indeed proud South Carolinians, not always at ease with their place in literary lore, but nonetheless deeply supportive of Pat in his life and writing. Edited and introduced by the Palmetto State’s preeminent historian, Walter Edgar, Conversations with the Conroys includes the first publications of Pat Conroy’s interview with Edgar as the keynote address of the 2014 One Book, One Columbia citywide “big read” program, the unprecedented interview with the Conroy siblings for SCETV Radio’s Walter Edgar’s Journal, the resulting live Conroy Family Roundtable held at the 2014 South Carolina Book Festival, and a recent interview in Charleston following Pat Conroy’s induction into the Citadel’s Athletics Hall of Fame. This collection is augmented with an afterword from National Book Award–winning poet Nikky Finney and nearly fifty photographs, many from the Pat Conroy Archive in the Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, University of South Carolina Libraries, and published here for the first time. Through the resulting treasure trove of text and images, this volume is as much a keepsake for Conroy’s legion of devoted fans as it is a wealth of insider information to broaden the understanding of readers and researchers alike of the idiosyncratic world of Pat Conroy and his family.
A Collection of Oral Histories
"It was hard times," French Carpenter Clark recalls, a sentiment unanimously echoed by the sixteen other women who talk about their lives in Country Women Cope with Hard Times. Born between 1890 and 1940 in eastern Tennessee and western South Carolina, these women grew up on farms, in labor camps, and in remote towns during an era when the region's agricultural system changed dramatically. As daughters and wives, they milked cows, raised livestock, planted and harvested crops, worked in textile mills, sold butter and eggs, preserved food, made cloth, sewed clothes, and practiced remarkable resourcefulness. Their recollections paint a vivid picture of rural life in the first half of the twentieth century for a class of women underrepresented in historical accounts. Through her edited interviews with these women, Melissa Walker provides firsthand descriptions of the influence of modernization on ordinary people struggling through the agricultural depression of the 1920s and 1930s and its aftermath. Their oral histories make plain the challenges such women faced and the self-sacrificing ways they found to confront hardship. While the women detail the difficulties of their existence—the drought years, early freezes, low crop prices, and tenant farming—they also recall the good times and the neighborly assistance of well-developed mutual aid networks, of which women were the primary participants.
Vividly set in the rich pluralistic culture and primeval landscape of colonial South Carolina, this historical novel brings to life, and back into our memory, the birth of free-range cattle herding that would later come to be associated exclusively with the American West. Drawing on his accomplished career as a leading scholar of the anthropology and history of the early South, Charles Hudson weaves a compelling tale of adventure and love in the colorful tapestry of Charles Town taverns, backcountry trails, pinewoods cattle ranges, hidden villages of remnant native peoples, river highways, rice plantations, and more. Hudson’s narrative revolves around William MacGregor, a young Scottish immigrant trying to establish himself in the New World. A lover of philosophy and Shakespeare, William is penniless, which leads him to take work as a cow-hunter (colonial cowboy) for a pinder (colonial rancher) of a cowpen (colonial ranch) in the Carolina backcountry. The pinder, an older man with three daughters, sees his world unraveling as he ages. The parallel to King Lear does not escape William, who gets caught up in the family drama as he falls in love with the pinder’s youngest daughter. Except for the boss of his crew, who is the pinder’s son-in-law, William’s fellow cow-hunters are slaves: an old Indian captured in Spanish Florida, a Fulani captured in Africa, and two brothers, half-Indian and half-African, who were born into slavery in the New World. A rogue bull adds a chilling element of danger, and the romance is complicated by a rivalry with a wealthy rice planter’s son. William struggles to salvage something from the increasingly disastrous situation, and the King Lear–like dissolution of the cowpen proceeds apace as the story heads toward its conclusion.
Proprietary Era Histories
The essays in Creating and Contesting Carolina shed new light on how the various peoples of the Carolinas responded to the tumultuous changes shaping the geographic space that the British called Carolina during the Proprietary period (1663–1719). In doing so, the essays focus attention on some of the most important and dramatic watersheds in the history of British colonization in the New World. These years brought challenging and dramatic changes to the region, such as the violent warfare between British and Native Americans or British and Spanish, the no-less dramatic development of the plantation system, and the decline of proprietary authority. All involved contestation, whether through violence or debate. The very idea of a place called Carolina was challenged by Native Americans, and many colonists and metropolitan authorities differed in their visions for Carolina. The stakes were high in these contests because they occurred in an early American world often characterized by brutal warfare, rigid hierarchies, enslavement, cultural dislocation, and transoceanic struggles for power. While Native Americans and colonists shed each other’s blood to define the territory on their terms, colonists and officials built their own version of Carolina on paper and in the discourse of early modern empires. But new tensions also provided a powerful incentive for political and economic creativity. The peoples of the early Carolinas reimagined places, reconceptualized cultures, realigned their loyalties, and adapted in a wide variety of ways to the New World. Three major groups of peoples—European colonists, Native Americans, and enslaved Africans—shared these experiences of change in the Carolinas, but their histories have usually been written separately. These disparate but closely related strands of scholarship must be connected to make the early Carolinas intelligible. Creating and Contesting Carolina brings together work relating to all three groups in this unique collection.
Critical Approaches to Joseph Conrad is a collection of essays directed to both new and experienced readers of Conrad. The book takes into account recent developments in literary theory, including the prominence of ecocriticism, ecopostcolonial approaches, and gender studies. Editor Agata Szczeszak-Brewer offers a comprehensive and comprehensible introduction to Conrad’s most popular texts, also addressing the most recent academic debates as well as the conversations about narrative and genre in Conrad’s canon. Students and scholars of Conrad, twentieth-century literature, and modernism will appreciate the clear, accessible prose by nineteen internationally recognized contributors who approach Conrad in different ways, from postcolonial and ecocritical perspectives, through explorations of gender, to psychoanalysis, narrative theory, and political analysis. Beginning with a biographical introduction by Szczeszak-Brewer, the collection offers an essay outlining the cultural and historical contexts that influenced Conrad’s fiction and an essay on reception of Conrad’s work. Following that, contributors provide critical approaches to Heart of Darkness, Lord Jim, Typhoon, Nostromo, The Secret Agent, The Secret Sharer, and Under Western Eyes. In these sections scholars offer insights about complex issues in Conrad’s fiction, ranging from the study of specific literary tools and narrative development in his books to the political theories in Conrad’s portrayal of the threat of terrorism and violent revolutions.
A Rhetorical Perspective
Emerging in China in the early 1990s, Falun Gong is viewed by its supporters as a folk movement promoting the benefits of good health and moral cultivation. To the Chinese establishment, however, it is a dissident religious cult threatening political orthodoxy and national stability. The author, a Chinese national once involved in implementing Chinese cultural policies, examines the evolving relationship between Falun Gong and Chinese authorities in a revealing case study of the powerful public discourse between a pervasive political ideology and an alternative agenda in contention for cultural dominance. Posited as a cure for culturally bound illness with widespread symptoms, the Falun Gong movement's efficacy among the marginalized relies on its articulation of a struggle against government sanctioned exploitation in favor of idealistic moral aspirations. In countering such a position, the Chinese government alleges that the religious movement is based in superstition and pseudoscience. Aided by her insider perspective, the author deftly employs Western rhetorical methodology in a compelling critique of an Eastern rhetorical occurrence, highlighting how authority confronts challenge in postsocialist China.
J. A. De Laine and Briggs v. Elliott
At the forefront of a new era in American history, Briggs v. Elliott was one of the first five school segregation lawsuits argued consecutively before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1952. The resulting collective 1954 landmark decision, known as Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, struck down legalized segregation in American public schools. The genesis of Briggs was in 1947, when the black community of Clarendon County, South Carolina, took action against the abysmally poor educational services provided for their children. In a move that would define him as an early—although unsung—champion for civil rights justice, Joseph A. De Laine, a pastor and school principal, led his neighbors to challenge South Carolina's "separate but equal" practice of racial segregation in public schools. Their lawsuit, Briggs, provided the impetus that led to Brown. In this engrossing memoir, Ophelia De Laine Gona, the daughter of Reverend De Laine, becomes the first to cite and credit adequately the forces responsible for filing Briggs. Based on De Laine's writings and papers, witness testimonies, and the author's personal knowledge, Gona's account fills a gap in civil rights history by providing a poignant insider's view of the events and personalities—including NAACP attorney Thurgood Marshall and federal district judge J. Waties Waring—central to this trailblazing case. Though De Laine and the brave parents who filed Briggs v. Elliott initially lost their lawsuit in district court, the case grew in significance when the plaintiffs appealed the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. Three years after the appeal, the Briggs case was one of the five lawsuits that shared the historic Brown decision. However, the ruling did not prevent De Laine and his family from suffering vicious reprisals from vindictive white citizens. In 1955, after he was shot at and his church was burned to the ground, De Laine prudently fled South Carolina in order to save his life. He died in exile in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 1974. Fifty years after the Supreme Court's decision, De Laine was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in recognition of his role in reshaping the American civil rights landscape. Those interested in justice, human rights, and leadership, as well as in the civil rights movement and South Carolina social history, will be fascinated by this inspiring tale of how one man's unassailable moral character, raw courage, and steely fortitude inspired a group of humble people to become instruments of change and set in motion a corrective force that revolutionized the laws and social practices of a nation.
Stories from My Twenty Years in South Carolina Maritime Archaeology
Combining his skills as a veteran journalist and well-practiced storyteller with his two decades of underwater adventures in maritime archaeology, Carl Naylor offers a colorfully candid account of remarkable discoveries in the Palmetto State's history and prehistory. Through a mix of personal anecdotes and archaeological data, Naylor's memoir, The Day the Johnboat Went up the Mountain, documents his experiences in the service of the Maritime Research Division of the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology, a research arm of the University of South Carolina. Shared in a companionable tone, this insightful survey of Naylor's distinguished career is highlighted by his firsthand account of serving as diving officer for the excavation of the Confederate submarine H. L. Hunley in 1996 and the subsequent excavation of its victim, the USS Housatonic. He also recounts tales of dredging the bottom of an Allendale County creek for evidence of the earliest Paleoindians, exploring the waters off Winyah Bay for a Spanish ship lost in 1526 and the waters of Port Royal Sound for a French corsair wrecked in 1577, studying the remains of the historic Santee Canal near Moncks Corner, and searching for evidence of Hernando de Soto's travels through South Carolina in 1540. Naylor describes as well his investigations of suspected Revolutionary War gunboats in the Cooper River, a colonial and Revolutionary War shipyard on Hobcaw Creek, the famous Brown's Ferry cargo vessel found in the Black River, a steamship sunk in a storm off Hilton Head Island in 1899, and a mysterious cargo site in the Cooper River. Throughout these episodes, Naylor gives an insider's view of the methods of underwater archaeology in stories that focus on the events, personalities, and contexts of historic finds and on the impact of these discoveries on our knowledge of the Palmetto State's past. His narrative serves as an authoritative personal account of South Carolina's ongoing efforts to discover and preserve evidence of its own remarkable maritime history.
Murder, Honor, and Freedom of the Press
On January 15, 1903, South Carolina lieutenant governor James H. Tillman shot and killed Narciso G. Gonzales, editor of South Carolina’s most powerful newspaper, the State. Blaming Gonzales’s stinging editorials for his loss of the 1902 gubernatorial race, Tillman shot Gonzales to avenge the defeat and redeem his “honor” and his reputation as a man who took bold, masculine action in the face of an insult. James Lowell Underwood investigates the epic murder trial of Tillman to test whether biting editorials were a legitimate exercise of freedom of the press or an abuse that justified killing when camouflaged as self-defense. This clash—between the revered values of respect for human life and freedom of expression on the one hand and deeply engrained ideas about honor on the other—took place amid legal maneuvering and political posturing worthy of a major motion picture. One of the most innovative elements of Deadly Censorship is Underwood’s examination of homicide as a deterrent to public censure. He asks the question, “Can a man get away with murdering a political opponent?” Deadly Censorship is courtroom drama and a true story. Deadly Censorship is a painstaking recreation of an act of violence in front of the State House, the subsequent trial, and Tillman’s acquittal, which sent shock waves across the United States. A specialist on constitutional law, James Lowell Underwood has written the definitive examination of the court proceedings, the state’s complicated homicide laws, and the violent cult of personal honor that had undergirded South Carolina society since the colonial era.
Constructing a Conservation Culture in the South Carolina Lowcountry
Sustainability of the natural environment and of our society has become one of the most urgent challenges facing modern Americans. Communities across the country are seeking a viable pattern of growth that promotes prosperity, protects the environment, and preserves the distinctive quality of life and cultural heritage of their regions. The coastal zone of South Carolina is one of the most endangered, culturally complex regions in the state and perhaps in all of the American South. A Delicate Balance examines how a multilayered culture of environmental conservation and sustainable development has emerged in the lowcountry of South Carolina. Angela C. Halfacre, a political scientist, describes how sprawl shock, natural disaster, climate change, and other factors spawned and sustain—but at times also threaten and hinder—the culture of conservation. As Halfacre demonstrates, maintaining the quality of the environment while accommodating residential, commercial, and industrial growth is a balancing act replete with compromises. The book documents the origins, goals, programs, leaders, tactics, and effectiveness of a conservation culture. A Delicate Balance deftly illustrates that a resilient culture of conservation that wields growing influence in the lowcountry has become an important regional model for conservation efforts across the nation. A Delicate Balance also includes a foreword by journalist Cynthia Barnett, author of Blue Revolution: Unmaking America's Water Crisis and Mirage: Florida and the Vanishing Water of the Eastern U.S.