NOV. 17, 2014 -- I was going to pose this question on social media to see what answers I might get. I decided not to. I already know the reason why. It's because of race.
I am a 68-year-old white woman who spent the majority of her teaching career as the librarian at Rivers Middle School, an all-black inner city school. I could count the white students I had in 17 years on one hand.
We still are not far enough away from when schools were segregated. It is a process that takes time. If today's parents were brought up in integrated schools, their parents were likely not. I believe it will take more than two or three generations for us to completely erase what is in our collective memories -- to eradicate any vestiges of what once was.
It is not right, moral or logical to have feelings that are racist, whether you are black or white or somewhere in between. Unfortunately, the feelings still survive and are fed on both sides by flag-carrying entitled whites and bitter blacks.
Having said that, I think the foremost reason white parents do not send their children to Burke is fear. Fear is something I understand. I was in an all-black school when whites began buying houses in the "hood." They did not force black owners to sell. They just offered dazzling sums.
In 1985, blacks wanted their children in peninsula schools that were all black. Many brought in their relatives' electric bills to prove they lived on the peninsula. One person told me he had sent his child to Orange Grove but she didn't do as well so he got her back in the downtown schools where she could succeed. Meanwhile, white parents were buying second homes or rental property across the rivers in districts where they wanted their children to attend school.
There were three downtown middle schools in 1980, which became two in 1985 and then finally one school when Courtenay was closed. I was at Rivers from 1985 when it was an elite black school with students who did science fair projects on subjects like AIDS. I was there as it wasted into total chaos. We got a few principals who stayed behind their closed office doors (you never saw them in the halls at the changing of classes) and some unconcerned people down in the district offices.
Toward the end of my tenure, we had two loaded guns on campus in one month. We had a Steinway grand piano that was moved into the hall during renovation. Thuggish kids running the halls tore it to pieces, ripping out the keyboard and breaking off the legs. A Steinway piano! The chorus risers were in the hall and were soon kindling sticks thrown everywhere. Parts with nails protruding were to be walked around on your way to lunch. All of this littered the halls and the yard. We often had to have metal detector checks before school started. Imagine how long that took. Classes were delayed at least an hour. Homeroom teachers had to hold students that were bored and restless.
This was all before Dr. Nancy McGinley, the superintendent ousted recently by the school board. Back when I was at Rivers, white and black administrators knew we had problems. We needed additional police presence, an additional assistant principal and lots of guidance in handling students who were unmanageable. In the late 1990s the school district just did not care. They, black and white administrators, blamed it on the teachers.
Fast forward to today. I toured the Burke Middle/High School campus recently. It was pristine and seemed very empty. I saw empty classrooms and classrooms with maybe 15 students. Yet, it is a beautiful campus. My late husband, Hugh Cannon, was on school board when the renovation for Burke was started. By then, the exodus of black students from downtown schools was evident and some board members said we were building a school too big for our prospected population. My husband said, "This train has been coming down the track for a long time. We promised the black community this school." He voted for the renovation.
Now this school district is again in turmoil. Our best superintendent ever is gone. Our school board is concerned with personal ego trips rather than the children they serve. We have whites fighting over the Rivers campus with beautiful Burke nearby. There is talk that we might need to construct a new school with our tax dollars because two integrated schools can't fit on the Rivers campus. I think it is time for both black leaders and white leaders to work to stop this racial divide. Wouldn't that be a wonderful thing? Blacks and whites working together.
How about a real conversation about this? Not a black pride or a you-have-it-better-than-me conversation. Not a my-kids-need-to-go-to-schools-that-are-specialized conversation. Let's have a conversation on how we can all go to school together and share all resources -- a conversation on how we can help each other and really learn.
2014 -- The single biggest hurdle for South Carolina moving away from
the bottom tier of American states is in the way we elect people to the
Southerners believe in competition. In football, baseball or basketball,
Southerners realize that having good teams to play against causes all
teams and players to get better at their games.
To the editor:
To the voters of Charleston County: Thank you.
We've spent nearly four years working together, asking for your ideas, your suggestions and your vision for the future of Charleston County Public Library. You were there every step of the way, and together we developed a Building and Renovation Plan that will bring our library system into the 21st Century.
On November 4, you showed up to the polls to make sure "your" plan was approved and it passed by a huge three-to-one margin. It's been a long journey to get to this point, but our work is just beginning because we must turn the vision and ideas into concrete and stone.
74 percent of voter support was possible only because of the many individuals,
organizations and media outlets that endorsed the referendum. A special
thanks to Charleston Currents for multiple article and constant support
from the very beginning!
As we assured
you throughout the campaign, we will continue to seek your input on building
designs. The next step is to work with the County Council and staff to
secure land for the new libraries, develop a detailed timeline and begin
the process of hiring architects and engineers.
Our whole community will benefit from new libraries for years to come. The library Board of Trustees and staff members thank you for your support and trust.
fun to run and walk with the whole family
NOV. 17, 2014 -- The holiday season is a time for repeating traditions unique to each family. As your children get older, consider adding one or two new activities to keep things exciting. The following list includes a few ideas your family may enjoy:
calendar now to squeeze in even just one new Christmas tradition!
Battle of Honey Hill
When Union General William T. Sherman marched out of Atlanta in November 1864, leaving a path of destruction and devastation behind him, his next destination was the subject of great speculation by the Confederate command. Troops and resources were pulled from Charleston and elsewhere in South Carolina to face him.
The Fifth Georgia was moved from Charleston and sent to Macon, Georgia, to reinforce General Howell Cobb. Brigadier General James Chesnut Jr. also moved his South Carolina Reserves to Georgia. Confederate general William J. Hardee, headquartered in Charleston, also moved to Georgia, and Major General Robert Ransom arrived in Charleston to replace him. Soon, it was determined that Sherman was marching to Savannah.
Sherman's March to the Sea targeted not just military targets, but destroyed industry, civilian property, and infrastructure such as roads, railroads, and bridges. His "Total War" concept was designed to cripple the civilian population's psychological support for the war. As he moved through Georgia, Sherman allowed what he called "liberal foraging" by his troops. Those in his path would have likely called it criminal looting and needless destruction and attacks on civilians.
Hardee was entrenched in Savannah with 10,000 veteran troops. The region's rice fields were flooded, leaving only narrow causeways for use by the advancing Union troops. Sherman sent orders to Major General John G. Foster, headquartered in Hilton Head, to send a large force to sever the Charleston and Savannah Railroad in South Carolina. He did not want the Confederates to send further reinforcements to Hardee in Savannah and sought to cut off Hardee's best avenue of escape.
dispatched five thousand army troops and a naval brigade of five hundred
sailors and marines, under the command of Brigadier General Edward Hatch,
to sever the railroad line at Grahamville. The troops were supported by
a squadron of warships with heavy artillery. The twelve Union regiments
included five regiments of U. S. Colored Troops and the 54th and 55th
Massachusetts Infantry regiments. Hatch and his troops landed at Boyd's
Neck, on the Broad River, just above Beaufort, South Carolina on November
28 to make the seven-mile march to Grahamville. Facing heavy fog, the
Union troops did not disembark until the afternoon of November 29.
Despite having area maps and former slaves as guides, the Union army first moved down the wrong roads. By 8:00 am on the morning of November 30, Hatch's army was re-directed and skirmishing with Confederate troops and taking on artillery fire. Without any direction from Hatch, Union troops spread out on a front in Honey Hill Swamp. Most of the Federal units never did attack but chose to exchange musket fire with the entrenched Confederate forces.
Finally, the 35th US Colored Troops made a charge up Grahamville Road, but were quickly driven back. Next the 55th Massachusetts formed in-column and made two charges up the same road. Both attacks broke up at the creek of Honey Hill Swamp as the Confederate guns at the earthworks fired on them causing high casualties and wounding their brigade commander, Colonel Alfred Hartwell. The 127th New York attempted an attack through the swamp, but, after exchanging fire, they retired as well.
reinforcements and additional artillery arrived in the afternoon, but
there were no further attempts to over-run the Confederate fortification.
In the daylong battle, Hatch could not dislodge the Confederates from
their position, even though the Union troops outnumbered the Confederates
more than three to one. At dusk, the Federal troops began a retreat from
the swamp to their transports at Boyd's Neck. Total Union casualties were
764, compared to only forty-seven for the Confederates. Hatch's mission
to sever the railroad line failed. This Confederate victory and a later
victory at Coosawhatchie would prove critical as Hardee ultimately did
use the railroad to escape Savannah.
and law enforcement officials from around the county on Friday celebrated
the grand opening of the Charleston County Law Enforcement Center, a 110,000
square-foot structure that will consolidate several public safety services
in one place on Leeds Avenue.
"We are very pleased to be moving into the new Charleston County Law Enforcement Center," said Charleston County Sheriff Al Cannon. "The facility will help streamline communication and coordination across several units within the Sheriff's Office. In addition, the space will allow us to grow and adapt to the future public safety needs of Charleston County."
Construction on the center, which cost $9.3 million, started in May 2013 and finished this month.
County has made public safety a top priority and this new facility is
proof of that initiative," said Charleston County Council Chair Teddie
E. Prior Sr. "We live in one of the fastest growing areas in the
country and the need for law enforcement is growing as well."
Jones named new president of Charleston School of Law
Highly-respected legal educator Maryann Jones is the new president of the Charleston School of Law, school leaders announced last week. While Dean Andy Abrams will continue to serve as the school's top academic officer, Jones takes over as the school's top executive following a unanimous vote by the school's board of directors.
"This is a thrilling opportunity to join a respected school as it matures," said Jones, who has served as dean emerita of Western State University College of Law in Fullerton, Calif., since June 2009. That year, she began service as an independent educational consultant with the Charleston School of Law to provide guidance on accreditation, assessment and programmatic issues.
"We are indeed fortunate to have an individual with the experience and expertise of Maryann Jones assuming a leadership position here at the Charleston School of Law," Abrams said today. "Having previously played a significant role in our initial American Bar Association accreditation efforts and later in the establishment of our J.D./M.B.A. dual degree with the College of Charleston, her knowledge of legal education, in general, and the Charleston School of Law, in particular, will be invaluable at this pivotal time in the life of our law school."
in various roles at the California school, including dean and president
from 2004 to 2009. Jones, who has a bachelor's degree from Trinity College
in Connecticut, earned her law degree and graduated with honors from Chicago-Kent
College of Law in 1982.
Illusion of Being Here
From the outset, let us say we enjoyed this new first novel by Georgia writer David Hutto. It tells the story of two cousins -- a College of Charleston history professor looking for a lost letter from Catherine the Great to help him with his career and a grieving diplomat trying to understand his young wife's death in Russia. As they glide through Charleston, they seem as much on a spiritual quest to understand their place in the world as anything else.
The novel, however, had some problems that a good editor would have been able to fix. First were the obvious basic mistakes, such as referring to "Foley Beach" and "Shem's Creek." And then was the need to better develop the two background muses of the book -- the professor's girlfriend and the diplomat's wife, both of whom were the reason for the cousins' different spiritual searches. An editor might have been able to deal with occasional confusing changes in the voice of the work, too. But as we said, "The Illusion of Being Here" offers a creative, interesting story that engaged this reader. Tightening and pulling it together more would have made it even better.
Continued from last edition
South Carolinians contributed to the war effort in other ways as well, especially through rationing. Tire rationing began less than a month after Pearl Harbor, with just 2,921 tires allotted the entire state for January 1942. Six months later, gas rationing began on the East Coast, and many in South Carolina grumbled about bearing the brunt of this war measure.
1943, the entire nation was under the same restrictions. This system reduced
gas consumption for private cars to between three and four gallons every
two weeks for the remainder of the war. In March 1943 nationwide food
rationing began. Under the mandatory system coordinated through the federal
Office of Price Administration, all canned and processed foods were severely
rationed, as were red meat, sugar, and coffee. Foods exempted by the rationing
board were fresh vegetables and fruits as well as seafood. Victory gardens
were successfully promoted in cities and towns to supplement family needs,
so that by 1943 more than 330,000 plots were reported across the state.
Amid war-time conditions, segregation laws came under pressure. The influx of non-South Carolinians with different ideas on social customs led to temporary changes, especially on military bases. Nevertheless, African Americans remained at the bottom rung of the social ladder. Although some minorities gained promotions to skilled jobs, most of these went to recent arrivals. Segregated United Service Organizations, restaurants and movie houses remained standard throughout the war. When reports reached South Carolina congressmen about "violations" of southern traditions on military installations, those congressmen did not hesitate to protest. U.S. Senator Burnet Maybank wrote a strong objection to the captain of the Charleston Navy Yard after a constituent protested that blacks were working alongside whites and that some minorities were getting promotions above whites.
segregation would remain entrenched in the early postwar period, seeds
of change were planted during the war, particularly through landmark court
decisions. In 1944 the federal district court ordered South Carolina to
provide equal salaries to black and white teachers. In the same year,
in the case of Smith v. Allright, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the all-white
primary unconstitutional. Politicians in the state, led by Governor Olin
D. Johnston, fought these and subsequent court rulings, but African Americans
in South Carolina were slowly but steadily gaining voting rights by the
end of the war. Between 1940 and 1946, the number of registered African
American voters in the state increased from 1,500 to 50,000.
at all of the colors
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7.03 | Monday, Nov. 17, 2014
Tradition and progress
love of tradition has never weakened a nation, indeed it has strengthened
nations in their hour of peril; but the new view must come, the world
must roll forward."
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NEW ON THE CALENDAR
(NEW) Holiday Swing: 8 p.m., Nov. 22, Charleston Music Hall, 37 John Street, Charleston. The Charleston Jazz Orchestra will end its sixth season with "Holiday Swing: A Charleston Jazz Tradition" featuring movements from Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn's Nutcracker Suite. Tickets are $30 to $45. More.
(NEW) Gospel Christmas: 7:30 p.m., Dec. 6, Ashley River Baptist Church, 1101 Savannah Highway, Charleston. CSO Gospel Choir and CSO Spiritual Ensemble will present the 14th annual performance of beloved holiday show. Tickets: $35, which lower prices for seniors and students. More.
MISS THESE EVENTS EITHER
Regional premier of 4000 Miles: Through Nov. 30, Charleston Acting Studio, 915 Folly Road, James Island. Midtown Productions will offer the regional premier of this award-winning play at the end of the month. For tickets and info, click here.
Feast: 7 p.m., Dec. 4 through Dec. 6, Alumni Memorial Hall,
Randolph Hall, College of Charleston, 66 George St. The Department of
Music will present an annual feast with their award-winning Madrigal Singers.
In addition to beautiful music, the Renaissance menu will include Cornish
hen, haricots vert, wild rice, apple caramel tart, coffee and wine. Wassail
will also be served. Tickets are $40 to $70 per person and are sold
in advance only. Reservations: (828) 432-7271.
That Holiday Book Sale: Dec. 5 through Dec. 7, Main Library, 68 Calhoun St. Charleston. Books, CDs and DVDs will be on sale during the annual That Holiday Book Sale. by the Charleston Friends of the Library. Books have been picked for quality with gift-giving in mind. With prices starting at just $0.50, this is a bargain that can't be beat.
Bird walks: 8:30 a.m. to noon, every Wednesday and Saturday. This is the time of year that a great variety of migrating birds fly through the Lowcountry so what better time to take part in one of the regular early morning bird walks at Caw Caw Interpretive Center in Ravenel. Pre-registration is suggested. Cost is $5. Walks also are conducted on James Island and Folly Beach.Learn more online.
Moredock: New station