Charleston and the Irish

The Charleston Historical Society will co-sponsor its next lecture at the Karpeles Manuscript Museum at 68 Spring Street on Thursday, March 15, 2012, at 7:00 PM. The lecture, entitled, ” Charleston and Its Irish: Celebrations in the 1890s” will be presented by Stephen J. White, Sr.  It relies on some of his recent research and writings on one of the most vibrant periods of Irish Charlestonians in the late 19th Century. The lecture is free and open to the public.
White has sorted through three decades of records and articles in The News and Courier as in the early years of The Evening Post. In them he has found a vast store of rich accounts of an extraordinary range of public, philanthropic and social activities among close to a dozen Irish societies, clubs, militias, and civic organizations. The major focus in this talk will be how they led all of Charleston in its annual, colorful observances of St. Patrick’s Day. This presentation is part of our current, annual St. Patrick’s Week celebrations.
Stephen Jennings White, Sr. is a native of Charleston whose Irish ancestors emigrated from their homeland to the Holy City five generations past. He attended Cathedral Grammar School on Queen Street and graduated from Bishop England High School in 1971. He earned his BA degree in history and philosophy from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in 1975. He taught history at the Archibald Rutledge Academy in McClellanville and at Bishop England before entering graduate studies. In 1981 he completed a MA degree in Early America History at the University of Virginia, and then completed all requirements for a PhD except for the dissertation (ABD). In 1995 he received a Masters in Public administration from the College of Charleston/University of South Carolina joint program.
White has taught at the University of Virginia, St. Andrews Academy in Boca Raton, Florida, the College of Charleston, The Citadel, and Trident Technical College locally. He also worked in the Admissions Office and the Office of Academic Advising at the College of Charleston for a half dozen years. In 1999 he founded, and has since served as the Director of, the Charleston Historical Society, and since 2007 he has served as the Executive Director at the Karpeles Manuscript Museum.
White is married to the former Christine Westcott Stewart of Charlottesville, Virginia and they have raised five children on Smith Street in Harleston Village, on the Charleston peninsula.
For more information about this lecture and all future lectures, call Stephen White at the Charleston Historical Society at (843) 723-3398, or at the Karpeles Museum at (843) 853-4651.

Race, Gender, and Sexualities in the Atlantic World

On March 9-11, 2012 the Program in the Carolina Lowcountry and Atlantic World (CLAW) at the College of Charleston will host an international conference addressing women, gender, and sexuality in the Atlantic World 1500-Present. The featured keynote speaker is Jennifer L. Morgan (New York University).  Conference registration is now open.  For registration information or for a full conference schedule, please visit the conference homepage.

Exhibit: Word, Shout, Song: Lorenzo Dow Turner Connecting Communties through Language

The Avery Research Center is excited to host “Word, Shout, Song: Lorenzo Dow Turner Connecting Communities through Language”, the world-class exhibition developed by the Smithsonian Institution’s Anacostia Community Museum, in January 2012. This exhibition is a beautiful and thought-provoking assemblage of artifacts, photographs, and text that documents the life and work of Dr. Lorenzo Dow Turner, whom many scholars consider as the first African-American linguist and the Father of Gullah Studies. It also examines the visceral interconnections between African diasporan cultures on three continents: the Gullah-Geechee communities of South Carolina and Georgia; the Afro-Brazilian community of Bahia, Brazil; and the West African cultures from which the other two were born.
The Turner family had been free for four generations by the time Dow Turner was born in 1890, which helped him pursue a stellar education that included an undergraduate degree from Harvard College and a Ph.D from the University of Chicago. His studies eventually led him to the South Carolina Lowcountry and his introduction to the Gullah language. He immediately began to see similarities between it and various African languages. Turner’s curiosity of a language that sounded much like English, yet was without formal academic study, led him to twenty years of research on the language and its people, including many sojourns to West Africa to expand his research.
Before Dow Turner’s research, the Gullah language was unclassified, unstudied, and considered informal gibberish. Using an inquisitive ear, Turner was able to eventually link Portuguese and English words to their myriad of African roots within Gullah, and “Word, Shout, Song” visually and audibly explains this in a magnificent exhibition
Although born on American soil and free at the time of Dow Turner’s studies, the speakers had retained the past of their enslaved ancestors and beyond to their African heritages. In that vein, the Gullah language is a syncretic fusion of the African, American, and European ties that weave through the speakers’ legacies.
Dow Turner’s research helped bridge the gap between the descendants of the enslaved people on the Lowcountry Sea Islands to the descendants of the enslaved people on the mainland—linguistically as well as culturally. The exhibit chronicles all of the research, trips, recordings, and findings through aural and visual means. To have an exhibit not only of this importance, but also of this stature, come to the College of Charleston is an honor and a landmark.
Various generous donations to the Avery Research Center have made this exhibition possible, including the Office of the President at the College of Charleston, MUSC, the MeadWestvaco Community Development and Land Management Group, the City of Charleston, the Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the National Park Service.

The Art of History: A two-day Celebration at the College of Charleston in Honor of Peter H. Wood

Peter H. Wood has inspired a generation of historians to investigate the role played by people of African descent in the construction of American society.  His first book, Black Majority: Negroes in Colonial South Carolina from 1670 through the Stono Rebellion (1974), is both an essential history of South Carolina’s turbulent beginnings and a classic portrait of how a human community shapes its environment and is shaped by land and water in turn.  His subsequent work reflects his lifelong interests in exploration, natural history, and the arts.  Wood’s two recent books on paintings by Winslow Homer—Weathering the Storm:  Inside Winslow Homer’s Gulf Stream (2004) and Near Andersonville: Winslow Homer’s Civil War (2010)—break new ground in the interpretation of an American master.

On October 20–21, the College of Charleston’s Carolina Lowcountry and Atlantic World program, Addlestone Library, and Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture will present “The Art of History,” a two-day event honoring Peter Wood.  Activities will begin on Thursday evening at 6:00 in Addlestone Library, room 227, with a screening of Carvalho’s Journey, a work-in-progress by acclaimed filmmaker Steve Rivo.  Born in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1815, Solomon Nunes Carvalho was an observant Jew who became a mainstream artist and the official photographer for John C. Fremont’s 1853 expedition across North America, a journey that nearly cost him his life.

On Friday, Wood, professor emeritus at Duke University, will offer a lecture on Near Andersonville, recounting the detective-like work at the intersection of art and history that led him to uncover the mysteries of this once neglected painting.  Winslow Homer may be best known for his paintings of ships and sailors, hunters and fishermen, rural vignettes and coastal scenes, but he also created some of the first serious black figures in American art.  Wood’s provocative study gives us a fresh view on Homer’s early career, the struggle to end slavery, and the dramatic closing engagements of the Civil War.

The lecture, to be held on October 21st at 6:00 PM at the Avery Research Center, 125 Bull Street, is co-sponsored by Wells Fargo (formerly Wachovia) Bank and is a part of the CLAW program’s commemoration of the Civil War sesquicentennial.

English Diaspora Project

CLAW UK Associate Director David Gleeson is happy to announce a new project at Northumbria University entitled Locating the Hidden Diaspora: The English in North America in Transatlantic Perspective, 1760-1950‘.  The project, which is led by Professor Don MacRaild, Dr Tanja Bueltmann and Dr David Gleeson, argues that the existence of English cultural communities in North America has been largely ignored by traditional historians who see the English as assimilating into Anglo-American culture without any need to overtly express a separate English ethnicity.  Please visit the project’s website or check out this article for more information.

Public Lecture

The Slave Body in the World of Southern Medicine

Thursday November 18, 2010
6 PM
Avery Research Center, 125 Bull Street, Charleston, SC 29401

Dr. Stephen Kenny, Lecturer, University of Liverpool, UK will discuss the development of professional medicine in the Old South, especially the role of slave patients and the uses of slave bodies in that process. This lecture is co-sponsored by Avery Research Center, CLAW, and the Waring Historical Library.