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Issue 2.24 | Monday, Feb. 1, 2010 | Ahead: Invasion of tan, green, camo

Watercolorist P. Smallwood will be in Charleston this week to exhibit new work created for and inspired by the Lowcountry, such as "Destiny," his portrait of a young girl. In celebration of Black History Month, which begins today, Smallwood will visit Carolina Galleries from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Feb. 5, with a special talk at 6:30 p.m. See the calendar for details. (Provided by Carolina Galleries)

:: City housed Haitian refugees in past


:: Bauer should get out of gov's race

:: Send us your thoughts

:: Free talks during SEWE

:: Green pro, parks classes, more


___:: CALENDAR: This week ... and next

___:: REVIEW: Send us a review

___:: HISTORY: Memminger School

___:: QUOTE: Thoreau on dressing

___:: SPOTLIGHT: Meet an underwriter


ABOUT US is a new online twice-weekly publication that offers insightful community comment and good news on events. It cuts through the information clutter to offer insight and news on the best of what's happening locally. More | Reader testimonials


City housed Haitian refugees in another troubled time

Charleston County Public Library
Special to

Editor's note: Charlestonians have supported a number of efforts in the past few weeks to help the people of Haiti in the wake of last month's crippling earthquake. Dr. Nic Butler of the Charleston Archive at the Charleston County Public Library says the relationship between the two areas actually goes back more than two centuries. We thank Dr. Butler for allowing us to reprint his recent blog post about the historic connection. Find out more here.

FEB. 1, 2010 -- The recent earthquake in Haiti has induced many Charlestonians to offer assistance and aid to the unfortunate sufferers of that island nation. Charleston is certainly not alone in offering relief to Haiti from afar, but we in the Palmetto City can claim to have a rather special distinction in this regard. In fact, Charlestonians' first experience in providing aid to Haitian refugees began in the summer of 1793. The story of this interesting connection goes back to the early days of what became known as the Haitian Revolution.


During colonial times, the port city of Charleston enjoyed some limited trade with the French island colony of St. Domingue (the western half of the island of Hispaniola, renamed Haiti in 1804), but the 1778 alliance between France and the United States increased the channels of communication dramatically. For many years afterwards, the French colony provided sugar, fruit, and other commodities that were sold in Charleston's waterfront markets. When slaves and free persons of color in St. Domingue began revolting in 1791, Charleston paid close attention to the violent uprisings that rocked its trading partner, which we called "St. Domingo."

The situation in St. Domingue was volatile and uncertain for many months, but in the summer of 1793 things worsened considerably. Starting in June of that year, white planters, merchants, and artisans began fleeing St. Domingue in large numbers in any ship they could find. Most took only what possessions they could carry in their arms, and the wealthiest brought trusted slaves as well. Throughout the second half of 1793 and into 1794, these refugees took shelter in Atlantic port towns from Florida to New York, and in New Orleans in the Gulf of Mexico as well.

Anticipating the arrival of refugees in their town, Charlestonians began collecting donations in July 1793. Boatloads of penniless refugees began streaming into the city soon afterward, eagerly searching for peace, shelter, food, and clothing. The exact number of refugees who came to Charleston from St. Domingue is unclear, but contemporary evidence indicates that the number was probably between 400 and 500 men, women, and children. Almost immediately, the City Council of Charleston faced the need to secure the basic necessities of life for hundreds of starving refugees. Many local residents welcomed families of refugees into their homes, while others found respite in the glebe (rental) properties of the city's various churches. Some refugees were left on the street, however, and so the city government made a bold move: it housed an unknown number of "unhappy sufferers" in a building known as the "New Market" in Market Street.

The "New Market" was built as a tall, one-story, rectangular "shed" two hundred feet long and twenty-seven feet wide, located one hundred feet east of Meeting Street in the middle of what is now Market Street. Built circa 1790-91, it had a tiled roof supported by brick arched pillars and was designed to serve as an open-air meat market. This "New Market" was the first of several building planned for the city's new market space in the newly designated Market Street, but the plan was moving slowly in 1793. In a moment of crisis, therefore, Charleston City Council apparently voted to convert the New Market into a dormitory for refugees from St. Domingue.

The records of City Council from that era were lost in 1865, but fragments of the story survive in the contemporary newspapers. On 19 August 1793, the Charleston City Gazette published a notice informing the public of their plan to house a number of the refugees. … Since we have no City Council records from this era, the details of this relief effort have unfortunately been lost to time. …

How many refugees lived in the New Market, and how long did they stay there? These are questions to which we may never know the answers. It is revealing, however, that Charleston City Council had intended to move all of the city's market activity-the selling of vegetables, fruits, and butchered meats-into Market Street in the early 1790s, but that plan was delayed for a decade. Between August 1793 and the spring of 1804, the city made no progress in turning Market Street into a proper market. Starting in May 1804, the city resumed filling the marshy area and building market sheds, and the new "Centre Market" officially opened to the public on Aug. 1, 1807. It seems unlikely that refugees from St. Domingue resided in the refurbished New Market building from late 1793 until the spring of 1804, but they probably lived in it long enough to discourage the city from undertaking the expenses required to convert it back to a market shed.

The "New Market" of 1793 was renamed the city's "Beef Market" in 1804, and it was destroyed in the massive fire that burned Ansonborough in April 1838. Although a new, slightly wider brick market shed was erected on that site in 1838, that building and the rest of Charleston's Centre Market (now commonly called the City Market) stand today as a living reminder of the long-established connection between our city and the people of Haiti (St. Domingue).

Bauer should drop out of gubernatorial race
By ANDY BRACK, publisher

JAN. 29, 2010 - Let's give a big hand to gubernatorial candidate Andre Bauer: He's wrapped up the intolerant, racist, elderly vote with recent comments linking stray animals to people on government aid. Maybe all the lieutenant governor now has to do to garner the GOP nod is expand his base by speeding more cars, crashing more planes and punching more walls.


What he really should do is save the state from four years of being the continuing butt of national jokes. How? By dropping out of the governor's race. Regardless of your political party, South Carolina just can't afford Bauer's immaturity to get in the way of where the state needs to go.

After years of bad behavior with planes and cars, Bauer's mouth has finally caught up with him. At issue is his deplorable comment last week on taking away government assistance for people who didn't pass drug tests or attend PTA meetings. At an Upstate political gathering, Bauer recalled his grandmother telling him to stop feeding strays: "You know why? Because they breed. You're facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply. They will reproduce, especially ones that don't think too much further than that. And so what you've got to do is you've got to curtail that type of behavior. They don't know any better."

In a Jan. 24 story in The Greenville News, Bauer said he didn't regret the comments, but said using the "stray animals" comment probably wasn't the best metaphor. By Jan. 26, the spin was in full control. He told The State in a story printed that morning that he regretted the comment because it was being used as an analogy, not a metaphor.

By that afternoon, he was throwing more gas on the fire by "explaining" his comment about strays to the S.C. Radio Network: "If you can't take care of them, take them to the animal shelter. But what happens when you feed them all the time and they become dependent of the food and you go on vacation? They've learned how to not take care of themselves. They've become dependent on you, so what happens to them? I should have never used that metaphor. I never dreamed people in the media would try to turn this thing around instead of saying 'hey let's have an honest discussion.'"

Bauer's words have been roundly criticized and are, as the Times and Democrat of Orangeburg wrote, "not some kind of Democratic overreaction." The Rock Hill Herald said he was reckless and used "spectacularly insensitive language." Bauer was "not only cruel and derogatory, but counterproductive," according to the Myrtle Beach Sun-News. And Warren Bolton at The State, who wrote he ate free lunches when he was in school, noted Bauer's remarks were "an affront to every parent and child who might not come from financially stable homes."

Bauer after a hunting trip

What's bothersome with Bauer's cycle of telling the comment to a friendly Upstate audience followed by not regretting it, regretting it and then saying it again, is the very real possibility the whole shameful episode was a calculated political move to inject some life into a dull, somewhat sputtering campaign.

Like him or not, Bauer long has been a determined, savvy campaigner who shouldn't be underestimated. Just ask Sen. Phil Leventis or former Rep. Robert Barber, both of whom narrowly lost to Bauer in statewide races.

Bauer's throwback brand of unenlightened, retail politics isn't what will move South Carolina forward. Leaders of all political stripes are calling for real leadership in wake of the disaster of the Sanford years. And real leadership is not something that Bauer has shown while in office. Instead of governing, he's been the eternal candidate who runs his mouth.

South Carolina deserves better from its next governor than someone who kowtows to the lowest common denominator. After the last week, it deserves just about anybody but Andre.

Andy Brack is publisher of Charleston Currents. This commentary first appeared in Statehouse Report. Brack can be reached at:

Send us your thoughts

Have a comment or want to vent? If you have something to say about leadership in South Carolina, the state of baseball today, good barbecue or something about your community's government, drop us a line to: Please send no more than 200 words and include contact information (phone number, hometown) so we can get in touch with you.


The public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring CharlestonCurrents to you at no cost. This issue's featured nonprofit partner is Rural Mission on John's Island. The organization is many things to man people: a hand up in times of crisis and need … a mission, service and faith volunteer experience for the young and older … a caregiver and advocate for young migrant children and a support system for migrant families … a provider of a warm, comfortable home in winter and … a greatly appreciated giver of desperately needed home repairs to make low income homes safe, healthy and decent. For all, Rural Mission is a source of hope for low- and very low-income residents, the elderly and families living in the rural underserved Sea Islands of Charleston County, from Johns Island to Wadmalaw to Edisto and Yonges Islands. To learn more about this extraordinary organization, visit Rural Mission online. To talk to someone about giving your time or money to help, phone: 843.768-1720.

Fleming earns Certified Green Professional designation

Bob Fleming, president of Classic Remodeling & Construction on Johns Island, recently earned the Certified Green Professional (CGP) designation from the National Association of Home Builders. According to the NAHB's directory, Fleming is the only person within a 50-mile radius who has the registered designations of Certified Green Professional and Certified Graduate Remodeler.


The Certified Green Professional designation recognizes builders, remodelers and other industry professionals who incorporate green building principles into their work without driving up the cost of construction. Classwork leading to the designation provides a solid background in green building methods as well as the tools to reach consumers.

In addition to Fleming's NAHB distinctions, he is also a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional (LEED AP), awarded through the U.S. Green Building Council. "At Classic, I encourage all my employees, in the office and the field, to train and strive for designations that will ultimately provide a higher level of service and expertise for our clients," said Fleming. "The remodeling and construction industry is constantly changing, and it is our responsibility to be a resource of knowledge and experience related to the latest products and technology."

Fleming established Classic Remodeling & Construction in 1989. It's the largest full-service, design-build company in the Charleston area. The company is an underwriter of

Conservancy classes will help you grow your green thumb

The Charleston Parks Conservancy is offering a series of classes designed for beginning Lowcountry gardeners and those who want to improve their horticulture know-how. From the basics of choosing plants all the way to successfully growing roses in the hot, humid Lowcountry, classes will provide instruction as well as hands-on demonstrations. Jim Martin, a horticulturist and lifelong gardener who has extensive knowledge of gardening in the South, will lead many of the programs.

"People often have the misconception that gardening is hard, but when you have the proper knowledge and skills, it can be an incredibly rewarding. Half the battle is understanding gardening in the South - what works and what doesn't," says Martin, executive director of the Conservancy.

The first "Charleston Parks Conservancy Ed" class will be held Feb. 16. Titled "Park Angels 101: An Introduction to the Parks, People, History and Horticulture in Charleston," the class is free to anyone who has signed up to be a Park Angel. Park Angels support the conservancy by volunteering in local parks and spreading the word about the conservancy. Registration is free; go to to sign up or get more information about the organization.

Additional courses include "Vegetable Gardening for Beginners in the South," "Gardening from the Ground Up: A Course for Beginners on Basics," "Container Gardening," "A Beginner's Guide to Growing for Annual and Perennial Color" and "Growing Roses in Your Lowcountry Garden." Prices will range from $15 to $40.

S.C. adults get into aquarium for kids' rates in February

Adults who live in South Carolina can get child's-price admission into the South Carolina Aquarium throughout the month of February, aquarium officials have announced. That's a savings of $7 off the regular adult ticket price. Valid proof of residency (such as a driver's license) must be presented to take advantage of the special deal. More information is available at or by calling 577-FISH (3474).

In addition to the "Sea and Save" program, the aquarium also announced that the popular Magellanic penguins will be extending their stay at the aquarium until October. The exhibit was originally scheduled to conclude in March. Watch a video of the Waddle Wagon experience. The South Carolina Aquarium is an underwriter of

Roadway improvements planned around county during 2010

2010 is shaping up to be a big year for local road projects funded by the Transportation Sales Tax Program. Two major projects are under way now, and three more will begin in the spring. County officials say right-of-way acquisition is in progress for three additional projects that could also begin this year.

The bonded projects that are currently under construction are the Palmetto Commerce Parkway (Phase II), a nearly four-mile extension of the existing parkway to connect with Ashley Phosphate Road in North Charleston, and Folly Road/Maybank Highway intersection improvements, which include new traffic signals, new road pavement, landscaped medians, sidewalks, lighting and stormwater drainage at the intersections of Folly Road, Old Folly Road and Maybank Highway on James Island.

Projects expected to begin construction in spring are improvements to Johnnie Dodds Boulevard in Mount Pleasant (including road widening and upgrades to existing intersections along U.S. 17/Johnnie Dodds from the base of the Ravenel bridge north to the I-526 overpass); Medical University of South Carolina road infrastructure improvements (including the conversion of Courtenay Drive to a one-way street from Spring Street to Cannon Street) and improvements to the Glenn McConnell Parkway/I-526 interchange area.

Right-of-way acquisition is now in progress for three projects: widening Harbor View Road from just west of North Shore Drive to Fort Johnson Road (including turn lanes, a sidewalk and a bicycle path); widening Bees Ferry Road for its entire length (including converting the two-lane road to a four-lane divided/five-lane road with accommodations for bicycles and pedestrians) and improvements to the intersection of Folly and Camp roads (adding two left-turn lanes on southbound Folly Road and dedicated left-turn lanes on both Camp Road approaches).

Send us a review

HAVE A REVIEW? If you have a review or recommendation of a book, movie, restaurant or local arts endeavor, please send no more than 150 words to editor Ann Thrash. Make sure to include your name and full contact information.

Memminger School

Founded in 1858, the State Normal School at Charleston owed its existence to a reform movement that simultaneously erected a modern public school system for the white children of the city, the first in South Carolina. The school was begun by Christopher G. Memminger, a state legislator and chairman of the Charleston school board. Patterned after schools in the northern states, the mission of the Memminger School (as it was called after 1876) was to train female teachers for the state at large as a department of a new city high school for girls (the Charleston High School was then reserved for boys only). The first principal was Frederick A. Sawyer, a native of Boston and future U.S. senator for South Carolina.

Memminger Auditorium

Memminger got initial support from state funds and drew students from outside the city. However, the school came to rely primarily on local gifts and taxes. Admission depended on entrance tests and was usually free. The curriculum included courses in education theory and practice, teaching advanced studies in the humanities, mathematics, and science. Eventually, Memminger expanded its scope, providing departments of instruction in domestic science and business. After years of declining enrollments variously attributed to the admission of women to the College of Charleston and wider opportunities for women in the private economy, the flagship Normal Department was discontinued in 1932. By then the school had educated thousands of teachers, business and professional women, and housewives.

In 1933 Memminger was reorganized as a comprehensive high school for white girls, offering classical, general, and prevocational courses. In subsequent decades, as secondary schools of Charleston were integrated by gender and race, Memminger emerged as the name of an elementary school.

- Excerpted from the entry by Laylon Wayne Jordan. To read more about this or 2,000 other entries about South Carolina, check out The South Carolina Encyclopedia by USC Press. (Information used by permission.) To read more about this or 2,000 other entries about South Carolina, check out The South Carolina Encyclopedia by USC Press. (Information used by permission.)


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Free talks during SEWE

Check out these four free activities taking place at the main branch of the Charleston County Public Library during the Southeastern Wildlife Expo. Call 805-6930 for more information.

  • "Legends of the Hunt": 1 p.m. Feb. 12. John Seerey-Lester, an internationally known painter, will host an audiovisual presentation about his new book, "Legends of the Hunt."

  • Carl Brenders - How & Why: 2:30 p.m. Feb. 12. One of the world's most successful nature painters, Carl Brenders will share a slide presentation demonstrating his realistic painting technique. Copies of his latest book, "Pride of Place," will be available.

  • Celebrity Story Reading for Kids: 1 p.m. Feb. 13. Here's one for the young'uns. Celebrity guest readers are sure to delight children with their interpretations of stories featuring animal.

  • Animal Sculpture in America: 3 p.m. Feb. 13. Robin Salmon, vice president of collections and curator of sculpture at Brookgreen Gardens, will give a talk titled "American Animalier: A Brief History of Animal Sculpture in America." The talk will take a closer look at landmark works of art and prominent sculptors of animals (both domestic and wild) from the mid-19th century to the present.

On dressing for success

"Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes."

- Henry David Thoreau, American author and Transcendentalist (1817 - 1862)


Art-Collecting Advice: 6 p.m. Feb. 4, Gibbes Museum of Art, 135 Meeting St., downtown. Barbara Guggenheim, an author and art consultant, will give a talk titled "How the Art World Works: New Twists on the World's Second Oldest Profession." A reception will follow the talk. Tickets: $10 museum members, $20 nonmembers. Advance purchase required; buy online through Jan. 29 or call the Gibbes, 722-2706, ext. 22.

(NEW) Workshop for Nonprofits: 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Feb. 5, First Federal Corporate Center, Mall Drive, North Charleston. Part of a free series of luncheons for nonprofits. Topic: "Social Media Basics 101: How Nonprofits are Using Social Media." Tina Arnoldi, director of information management at Coastal Community Foundation, will talk about how the organization got started with social media and what's worked along the way. RSVP by Feb. 3 by contacting Lynn Greer, or 529-5940.

(NEW) Artist's Visit: 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Feb. 5, Carolina Galleries, 106-A Church St., downtown. Artist P. Smallwood will attend a special opening of his watercolor paintings inspired by Charleston and the rural region around it. Smallwood will give a talk at 6:30 p.m. discussing his process as an artist and what inspires him. More information.


Gourmet Wild Game Dinner: 7:30 p.m. Feb. 10, Halls Chophouse, 434 King St., downtown. One of several new events associated with the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition. Five-course dinner with wine pairings. Menu includes local oysters, quail, bison ribeye and more. Cost: $115/person. Tickets: Buy online or phone 723-1748.

Women in Business Conference: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 12, Charleston Marriott. The Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce and the Center for Women will present the conference, which focuses on integrating female business professionals into mainstream networks and expanding their business opportunities by providing access to successful business leaders in the region. Cost: $75 for chamber or Center for Women members; $100 for nonmembers. Registration: Online.

An Evening with Jack Hanna: 7 p.m. Feb. 12, South Carolina Aquarium, 100 Aquarium Wharf, downtown. Spend an evening with animal expert Jack Hanna during his visit to the Lowcountry for the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition. Guests will be able to meet Hanna, enjoy hors d'oeuvres and cocktails, and hear stories about his animal adventures around the world. Cost: $85 per person ($75 for aquarium members, who can order by calling 723-1748 and giving their member number). More info: Online or 723-1748.

Birds of Prey Brunch: 9 a.m. to noon Feb. 13, Francis Marion Hotel, corner of King and Calhoun streets, downtown. Jim Elliott, executive director of the Center for Birds of Prey, will show off some of his feathered friends in this new event, which is part of the Southeastern Wildlife Expo. Hearty buffet-style brunch includes coffee, tea, juice, and bottomless mimosas and Bloody Marys. $42 per person; tickets may also be purchased at the door. Tickets: Online or 723-1748.

SEWE Cooking Classes: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 14, Charleston Cooks, 194 East Bay St., downtown. A new feature of the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition calendar. The hands-on cooking class will give participants a chance to prepare fish and wild game, then enjoy the food prepared in class along with a glass of wine. Cost: $75 per person. Tickets: Online or 723-1748.

(NEW) ABWA Game Night: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Feb. 22, Holiday Inn Express, 120 Holiday Drive, Summerville. The American Business Women's Association's Jessamine Chapter of Summerville will hold a game night fundraiser and silent auction to benefit women's scholarships. Open to the public. Guests are invited to bring their favorite game and/or team. Prizes, food and beverages provided. Cost: $10 ticket donation. Reservations requested. Contact Shirlie Taylor, 873-6769 or, or get tickets online.

(NEW) Amuse Bouche: 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Feb. 26, Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art, College of Charleston, 161 Calhoun St. The event, the unofficial kickoff of the BB&T Charleston Wine + Food Festival, benefits the Lowcountry Food Bank's Kids Café and Backpack Buddies Programs and the Halsey Institute. Jim 'N Nick's Bar-B-Q will "Pork from Around the World" tastings, and Whole Foods will offer an open wine bar. Cost: $20 per person at the door; RSVP no later than Feb. 24 to 747-8146 or

House & Garden Tours: 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. April 9 and April 10, downtown Charleston. The Garden Club of Charleston offers its 75th annual walking tour of private homes and gardens in the Historic District. Homes also feature flowers arranged by garden club members, and refreshments will be served in one of the gardens. All proceeds benefit the garden club's year-round maintenance of several public gardens, including those at the Manigault House, the Heyward-Washington House, the Gateway Walk and the Healing Garden at MUSC. Tickets: $35. Details: or 530-5164.

Talk by Christo: 5:30 p.m. April 13, Memminger Auditorium, 56 Beaufain St., downtown. Internationally known artist Christo will visit talk about his work in a slide presentation and lecture sponsored by the Gibbes Museum of Art. Christo and his late wife, Jeanne-Claude, have collaborated throughout the world on large-scale art projects using fabric, including wrapping the Pont-Neuf bridge in Paris, the 24½-mile-long Running Fence in Sonoma and Marin counties in California, and The Gates in New York's Central Park. Tickets (in advance only): $25 for museum members, $35 for nonmembers, and $15 for students (with ID); available at the Gibbes Museum Store, by calling 722-2706, ext. 22, or online through April 6.


7/1: Shaffer: Picky Eaters Group
6/28: Bender: Fishy Fourth
6/24: Belden: Society 1858
6/21: Stevenson: Summer reading
6/17: Handel: On Jim Fisher
6/14: Reeves: Summer dress
6/10:Martin: Garden tips
6/7: Dubrofsky: Green homes
6/3: McCutcheon: Young pros
McFaddlin: Health benefits
5/27: Ledbetter: Senior riders
5/24: Myers: Microloan's impact
Gadson: Rural Mission's needs
5/17: Bender: Bocce bashing
DeMarco: Homeless help
Spencer: Ending violence
5/6: Westmeyer: Fish to buy
Maas: Spoleto tips


3/4: Green mowers
Get outdoors
Local guide book for kids
Reviewing Jenny's book
MSNBC looks at success
Tell Mt. Pleasant
Winter plant tips
New books


3/1: Cut all of the cuts
A look at summer camps
School district Einsteins
About mules
Bauer should get out
Gibbs at White House
Friend's new show
Rockwell painting
Palmetto Priorities
Piggly Wiggly visit


3/4: Tickets still left
Eat & Run
RiverDogs' auction
Recycling bins
Designer data
SC Olympians
Prohibition cocktails
Tops for Charleston
Sweet treats
Free at SEWE
Artists' gift
Sharks at Aquarium
Church turns 100
3 helping Haiti
Civil War lectures
5 for King Day
New at SEWE
Staying warm

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