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Protecting us during the holidays. Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) Airman Quevaris Brigman of Charleston operates an aircraft elevator aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer this month in the Arabian Gulf. Boxer is the flagship for the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group and, with the embarked 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, is deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Mayra A. Knight/Released)

Issue 6.08 | Monday, Dec. 23, 2013
Have a very Merry Christmas!

FOCUS Meeting Nelson Mandela
BRACK Nice, naughty list for 2013
MONEY And now there is hope
GOOD NEWS Hanna to be back, blood drive
REVIEW South of Broad
HISTORY Henry Timrod
SPOTLIGHT Kaynard Photography
FEEDBACK Yes, they're related
BROADUS Holiday perspective
THE LIST Remember to recycle
QUOTE What holidays mean to one
CALENDAR This week ... and next

What it meant to meet Nelson Mandela
Special to Charleston Currents

NOTE: Today's Focus is an excerpt from remarks by Simpkins, who was keynote speaker and recipient of an honorary degree at the Charleston School of Law's commencement ceremony at Charleston School of Law on last Sunday.

DEC. 15, 2013 -- There are certain questions where the answer is always yes. "Would you like to sit in first class?" "Would you like to receive an honorary degree?" But none compares to being asked if you'd like to meet a man who was already a global icon and a month away from becoming the president of his country after serving 27 years in jail. So, I answered "yes" as quickly as I could before Denis changed his mind.

As a result, just a few weeks later, I found myself entering the bleak office tower known as Shell House, the downtown Johannesburg headquarters of the African National Congress. After passing through security, I was taken to an elevator, whisked up to the top floor where the doors opened and I was greeted by Madiba's [Nelson Mandela's] personal secretary. She shepherded me through a warren of cubicles and opened a large oak door, closing it behind me. Leaving me alone with Nelson Mandela as he came from behind his desk to greet me. It was the first time in my life when I was speechless. For the first few seconds of the encounter, I could not speak.

Not to worry, my host welcomed me and asked about my home. I told him I was from South Carolina and that my parents and other relatives before them had been active in the struggle for civil rights. Then, something happened that will stay with me forever: "Thank you," he said, "for coming to South Africa. And thank you to your family for serving as examples to us in the fight against apartheid. Our brothers and sisters in America were a source of great inspiration to us."

Having regained my ability to speak, I was nevertheless in awe. Nelson Mandela thanked me. This man who had sacrificed so much personally, professionally, and politically in the service of an ideal-equality-was thanking me, a know-nothing 22 year-old college grad do-gooder from the U.S.

More than the charisma and trappings of authority, the one memory that remains strongest from that very brief encounter was the humility of the man. He could have been dismissive of this kid who was cluttering up his schedule, condescending to someone who had lived nothing close to the life he had lived. But he thanked me. And anyone who ever got a thank you from Nelson Mandela would never dare question its authenticity. It was the kind of gratitude that wraps itself around you and allows you to simply bask in his appreciation. It is a feeling I have never forgotten. I especially recall his humility during those times when I find myself confronting so many others-unimpressive but self-important politicians, businessmen, sometimes even academics-who believe themselves to be my superiors and go to great pains to make their case. Whenever I find myself in those situations, I think of the humility of a man who didn't have to be.

Madiba didn't have to be humble, yet he so easily engaged with everyone, no matter where they were situated within the social hierarchy. As Mandela himself said in "Long Walk to Freedom:"

No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.

No one is born hating, yet the forces Mandela confronted were not only consumed by hatred, but in fact reflected a twisted globalized expression of hatred. As much as some trumpet the newness of human connection with clever sayings like "The World is Flat" or in tidy just-so stories reported by cab drivers around the world, globalization is neither news nor is it new.

We have borne witness to a long history of the globalization of hate, a hatred in which the law was often complicit. Apartheid South Africa was but one point on a legal map that saw Jews dehumanized as vermin while being stripped of all rights, and ultimately threatened with extinction by a lawfully elected government in Nazi Germany. And here, in our beloved South, where for too long we lawfully segregated the races, deciding that we would rather ignore the human potential of large swaths of our population instead of giving everyone an equal chance. ...

Among the lessons we can draw from genocide and wide-scale dispossession and relocation is that law may be equally useful in combating hate. Gandhi, who first gained notoriety as a young lawyer in South Africa, turned the British Empire away from the Indian subcontinent. Mandela, applying the discipline from his training as a lawyer, utilized every tool at his disposal to force an end to legalized apartheid. And here in South Carolina, Briggs v. Eliot spurred a wave of judicial and legislative activity aimed at ending Jim Crow. ...

Our defense against the evil that men do is dignity. And so, in this season of belief, I, too, believe. I believe that dignity is real. We can see it in its absence. The assault on dignity is a felt evil and very real. Consider ... our own history of the execrable trade in humans, a custom centered just miles away from here on Sullivan's Island, the entry point for the largest number of Africans into the United States. Many of those same Africans then made their way to area rice plantations, where they manually dug irrigation canals, themselves impressive feats of engineering and agriculture. Many of those same Africans lived no more than 7 years while performing backbreaking work in malarial conditions, making killing fields of those lovely irrigation canals we now traverse in recognition of our "heritage." Dignity is real because we see that our only alternative to turning towards each other is to turn from each other and ultimately to turn ON each other, meaning there really is no choice at all.

Faced with these options, Mandela chose love over hate. Dignity over depravity. It was the thoroughly secular Mandela who took the mantle of liberation so that justice would "roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream." ...

If it is so that we are to love, then we must apply ourselves to this project with all the energy, passion, and intellect that you began your journey here at the law school. With a clear head and open heart, it is our time to stand shoulder to shoulder in the service of human dignity. Just like Gandhi. Just like Madiba. Just like every lawyer who ever gave a damn about someone other than himself.

John L.S. Simpkins is a native of Lexington and a former constitutional law professor who works today in Washington, D.C. Click here to see video highlights of the law school's December commencement ceremony.


Who's been naughty and nice in South Carolina
Editor and publisher

DEC. 23, 2013 -- It's the time of year for Christmas cheer, with presents or black coal, oh dear!

For some there will be great hoorays, while others will get holiday nays.

While South Carolina leaders who should get lumps of coal far outstrips the list of those who will unwrap presents, let's start with those who have been nice:

Sugarplums to Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell, whose advocacy for South Carolina's elderly is making a difference. And to state Sen. Vincent Sheheen, D-Camden, for successfully expanding 4-year-old kindergarten to reach more poor children. With just a bit more of a push in 2014, South Carolina could have every 4-year-old in a school of some sort.

Christmas cheer to state Rep. Jenny Horne, R-Summerville, for working to expose how the state Department of Social Services may not be protecting children as it should and for advocating for a new children's agency. Kudos to moderate Rep. Tommy Stringer, R-Greer, for injecting some practical, moderate tax policy conversation into a chamber too dominated by people mesmerized by their own voices. And a holiday tip of the hat to Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter, D-Orangeburg, for continuing as the conscience of the House -- even when the wingnuts get out of control.

In the Senate, pass the eggnog to state Sens. Wes Hayes, R-York, and Thomas Alexander, R-Oconee, both of whom get more accomplished by working diligently in the background than the blowhards who hog the television cameras.

And don't forget all of the folks working to keep our state green -- or greener -- from the Don't Dump on S.C. anti-out-of-state-waste coalition to Santee Cooper and SCE&G that finally are pushing for more solar energy. It's good too that power companies are retiring some dirty old coal power plants, which is where we get this year's supply of coal lumps. [We're still not happy, though, with how SCE&G allows the wholesale butchery of trees throughout Charleston.]

Atop the naughty list is Gov. Nikki Haley, who must have left the whole notion of Christian charity in the closet when refusing to accept billions of federal Medicaid expansion dollars that would have helped more than 200,000 of the state's poorest get health insurance for the first time. It also didn't help this year that Haley talked solidly about more ethical accountability and transparency, but continued to face campaign challenges of acting ethically.

Also on the naughty list:

Attorney General Alan Wilson, for wasting tax dollars on frivolous lawsuits and the convenient lie about hundreds of zombies voting in state elections that led to passage of a chilling voter ID law. But the allegation was found to have no substance when a SLED report saw the light of day in July. Noted the Washington Post: "There were not 'hundreds' of zombie voters - just egg on the face of the politicians who promoted these 'facts' across national television."

S.C. Sen. Lee Bright, R-Spartanburg, for general wackiness that is fueling a bid for U.S. Senate. What we can't figure out is how a guy who has $1.4 million in business debt can pitch that he's fiscally responsible.

Tony Keck, head of the state Department of Health and Human Services and chief water-carrier of the strange notion that expanding rural health care by $20 million is better than accepting billions from Obamacare to bring preventive health insurance to thousands of poor residents.

State Supreme Court Justice Don Beatty, who shouldn't get any rewards for saying how he would rule in a case that is not even before him about a bill that has not become law.

State Ethics Commission, which stretches the limits of credibility for seemingly preferential treatment for Gov. Nikki Haley's ethical foibles.

Legislative nullifiers for continuing to push a failed political prescription for any policy they find irritating. It didn't work 180 years ago or when the nation split 150 years ago.

State Treasurer Curtis Loftis for a "my way or the highway" attitude in dealing with the state pension board. The bickering needs to stop.

Members of the state congressional delegation who voted to continue the federal government shutdown and put the United States' financial system at risk. Included are U.S. Sen. Tim Scott and U.S. Reps. Mark Sanford, Joe Wilson, Jeff Duncan, Trey Gowdy, Mick Mulvaney and Tom Rice.

Let's hope for a better 2014, even though it is an election year.

Andy Brack is editor and publisher of Charleston Currents and Statehouse Report. He can be reached at: publisher@charlestoncurrents.com.


Yes, public education and workforce development are related

To the editor:

Thanks for your excellent and timely article today. Thanks for continuing to keep everyone posted how we can help advance this important topic in our region and in our state.

-- Chad Vail, work-based learning partnerships coordinator, Charleston County School District.

Rant, rave, send us your opinions

If you have an opinion on something we've offered or on a subject related to the Lowcountry, please send your letters of 150 words or less to: editor@charlestoncurrents.com. Please include your name, address and phone number for verification purposes. We look forward to hearing from you!

Kaynard Photography

The public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring Charleston Currents to you at no cost. Today we shine our spotlight on Kaynard Photography, a business run by contributing photographer Michael Kaynard of West Ashley.

Kaynard Photography grew from Michael's love of walking the streets of the Charleston's historic district. It developed into a passion for capturing everything Charleston through a camera lens. Kaynard can be seen walking the streets of Charleston many days from dawn to darkness. He calls his work "At Street Level." His photos are available for viewing and sale at kaynardphotography.webs.com.

  • Now headquartered at 114 East Bay Street in the W. Hampton Brand Gallery across from Rainbow Row in the Charleston Historic District.

And now there is hope
By KYRA MORRIS, contributing editor
Special to Charleston Currents

DEC. 23, 2013 -- It is the end of the year - 2013. This is a natural time to reflect on the past and envision the future. How has the past treated us? Where are we now, and what will 2014 and the future offer?

The economic events that unfolded from late 2007 through early 2009 created an unprecedented period of time in most of our lives. The visceral reaction we had from the moment in September 2008 when we realized that Lehman Brothers, a household name, was going to go under until March 2009 still creates a knot in our bellies that belies the anxiety we all felt. It was a very scary, unnerving period. Many people lost their jobs. People nearing retirement had to rethink their decisions and many of those in early retirement went back to the job market. Unprecedented government bail-outs created soaring national debt. A sense of darkness prevailed.

In the summer of 2010, Greece became headline news. It had serious debt problems and the government infrastructure was so weak that citizens of Greece merely scoffed at any ideas of taking responsibility to handle the situation. Other news loudly reported the desperate economic predicaments of Iceland, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Italy. This did not bode well for the U.S. either. The night was not over. It just got darker.

In August 2011, the U.S. credit rating dropped and our own debt management stared us in the face. The stimulus strategy used by our government to handle the economic crisis created ongoing and rising debt levels, and improvements in the markets were not yet apparent. Unemployment was still at greater than 10 percent nationally. Business inventories were low. Banks were not lending. In fact, the banks were primarily in the business of foreclosures and short sales. It was the depth of the night and dawn was not easily anticipated.

Then in 2012, the U.S. mortgage interest rates were below 3 percent. Construction loan packages became available. New construction dotted the sides of roads. Along with the new construction came other related jobs for carpenters, tile and masonry artisans, service businesses for support, and the banking business began to shift. Refinancing mortgages became the hot cocktail party topic. "I just got fixed rate mortgage for 3 percent." "Yeah, I just refinanced too. I was able to lock in 2.75 percent, and reduced the payment period to 15 years." Housing starts and real estate prices reflected an upward trend in the monthly economic reports. Consumers were purchasing products again. The rays of the dawning sun began to appear.

A rebound

In 2013. real estate prices across the country rebounded from their lows. The U.S. manufacturing sector from automobiles and the textile industry to innovative high tech projects -- like 3D printing -- made international news. Interest rates rose slightly. Several other noteworthy events made the news: the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, the U.S. government went into partial and fortunately brief shutdown; The Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, rolled out awkwardly, and taxes went up for those single folks making over $200,000 or married couples making over $250,000. There were some perhaps gravelly twists and turns in the road. We still had our uncertainties and risks, but we moved off of the bottom.

Last week, the Federal Reserve announced that it would begin in January 2014 to taper its QE3 stimulus program, and yet keep interest rates low. Another interesting phenomenon happened when members from both parties in the Congress and the Senate had rational interactions with each other, addressing the national debt crisis well before the actual deadline. The U.S. domestic stock market soared to record highs with the DOW above 16,200. Are we seeing a glimpse of the sun and the morning light?

What have we learned from these reflections?

The rocky waters of the financial crisis during the last five years presented unique emotional and intellectual challenges for us to navigate. Perhaps we have emerged as wiser investors, consumers and more effective savers. The crisis and our reflections may confirm what is truly important and valuable to us - our families, our friendships, our communities. We went to them for solace and support when the hours were dark. We still found moments of peace and joy walking with a loved one on the beach, playing a favorite sport with our friends, or sharing a special meal with others.
Our ability to circumvent the bad times and to try to help each other through it all brings another thought to mind. We are resilient. Resiliency is learning how to manage our own behavior to make sure our priorities, those things we value, are protected. Our country, our world and the larger economic policy questions are still evolving. There will be more downs and ups. We can handle it - with resiliency - together.

Let's envision

There is still a lot of uncertainty, but some foundations for good have emerged. Let's build on those. Let's hope the government continues to have rational dialogues that benefit all of us not just for 2014 but for years to come. Let's hope the stimulus package created some sustainable earning potential so that as the stimulus dissipates our economic floor remains solid. Let's hope that we'll have many more opportunities to share joy and laughter with those we care about.

May your past reflections be filled with gladness and may your future visions be filled with hope! Happy New Year!

Kyra Morris, a Certified Financial Planner, is CEO of Morris Financial Concepts, Inc., in Mount Pleasant. A national leader in the financial planning profession, she has been named several times by leading magazines as one of the country's top financial planners. More.


Hanna to be back for SEWE's 32nd show

Animal expert, television personality, author and conservationist Jack Hanna will return to Charleston this February to entertain and delight attendees of the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition with live animal presentations at the Charleston Music Hall.

Hanna, at left, whose last appearance at SEWE was in 2012, explores the globe as one of the most visible and respected animal ambassadors in the world. Along with staff members from the Columbus (OH) Zoo, where he serves as the director emeritus, Jack will show off interesting creatures of all kinds, educating the audience while he entertains.

Due to limited seating at Charleston Music Hall, a separate ticket is required for all of Hanna's performances. Guarantee your seat at one of Jack Hanna's four performances for just $10 by visiting sewe.com or by calling Etix at 1-800-514-3849. Lap sitters (ages two and under) are free. Hanna's live presentations will be Feb. 14 and 15 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

"It will be great to have Jack again in February. He is a big fan of SEWE and of Charleston, so we could not ask for a better ambassador for us as he travels the country. Charleston Music Hall will be a very up close and intimate venue to see Jack, and we are urging attendees to purchase their tickets in advance while they are still available," said John Powell, SEWE Executive Director.

  • More: The 32nd annual SEWE will be held in multiple venues throughout downtown Charleston from February 14 to 16, 2014. Visit online.

Red Cross urges winter blood donations; blood drive on Tuesday

The holidays bring families and friends together to share in celebrations and special times of giving. But for families dealing with a cancer diagnosis or other major illness, the holidays can be difficult.

The American Red Cross' Give Something that Means Something winter campaign runs through Jan. 6, 2014, and encourages eligible donors to give something meaningful this holiday season by donating blood or platelets for hospital patients in need.

Trident Medical Center will host a blood drive for the community from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on December 24. Every donor will receive a free T-shirt from the American Red Cross.

To schedule an appointment, please call 1-800-733-2767 or schedule your appointment online: www.redcrossblood.org and enter tridentmed as the sponsor. Walk-ins are welcome but donors with appointments will be taken first.

Lawrence to be new VP at Trident United Way

Amanda Lawrence, who has served as director of financial stability at Trident United Way, will be the organization's new vice president of community impact following a national search, according to president and CEO Chris Kerrigan.

"It was very important to me that we conducted a national search for high-level candidates with broad skills and experience," Kerrigan said. "By unanimous consent, the best candidate was right here at Trident United Way. It is always wonderful when the internal candidate is so prepared, confident and knowledgeable that they rise to the top of a very competitive national process."

Lawrence, pictured at right, will start Jan. 6, 2014, in the new post as Bonnie Bella, who has held the position, returns to be TUW's director of education, a position she once held and sought again.

Gibbes, Center for Women to hold philanthropy luncheon

The Gibbes Museum of Art and the Center for Women will hold The Art and Heart of Philanthropy discussion and luncheon on January 14 at The Sanctuary on Kiawah Island.

Panelists Laura Gates of the Gibbes, businesswoman Carolyn Hunter, artist Susan Romaine and businesswoman Anita Zucker will talk with moderator leadership futurist Jane Perdue about the art of giving back.

"We are so thankful to the distinguished panelists and the moderator, Jane Perdue, for their participation in this important event. Nonprofits exist because of the generosity of philanthropic people and through collaboration that strengthens a community," said Center for Women Executive Director Amy Brennan. "We are excited to work with the Gibbes Museum of Art and know that these women will be an inspiration for us all."

  • Registration is $75 and is online through the Center for Women's website. The discussion will start at 11 a.m. in Jasmine's Porch at the venue, followed by lunch and a champagne social.

South of Broad
By Pat Conroy

There is probably no other book that I get asked more questions about than South of Broad, Pat Conroy's love letter to his native city. As usual, Conroy more than capably portrays a charming and noble protagonist who gets caught up in a situation seemingly beyond his control. As usual, Conroy's female characters seem like bizarre stereotypes that few people could believe, much less relate to. The novel takes place in downtown Charleston, South Carolina and is divided into two parts -- good guy Leo and his friends as high school students and then as they approach middle age.

The first section will cause one to fondly recollect two of Conroy's finest works, The Great Santini and The Lords of Discipline -- realistic but suspenseful scenarios that feel authentic and relatable. The second section seems as if the author was channeling Clive Cussler on a really bad day. The action feels forced and the characters become more two-dimensional. The outcome of the antagonist falls flat, almost an afterthought amidst all the recollections of Hurricane Hugo and its effect on this city.

If you like reading stories about Charleston and the real people whose names have become so prevalent to the Lowcountry in the last 50 years, you will probably find this to be an enjoyable read despite the flaws of the last half of the book.

-- Darryl Woods, Main Branch, Charleston County Public Library

Find this and similar titles from Charleston County Public Library. This item is available as a book, audio book and downloadable eBook. To learn more or to place a hold, visit www.ccpl.org or call 843-805-6930.

  • An invitation: What Web sites, books or restaurants have you enjoyed? Send us a short paragraph review of why you liked a recent visit to a restaurant or a book that you recently read. Send to: editor@charlestoncurrents.com

Henry Timrod

Poet and essayist Henry Timrod, pictured at left, was born on Dec. 8, 1828, in Charleston, the only son of a bookbinder, William Henry Timrod, and his wife, Thyrza Prince. Hedged by poverty, frail health, and the cataclysm of the Civil War, Timrod led a brief tubercular life that bore the stamp of the romantic tradition that he revered and defended among his neoclassical contemporaries in Charleston's antebellum literary circles.

"Christmas" (1862)
By Henry Timrod

How grace this hallowed day?
Shall happy bells, from yonder ancient spire,
Send their glad greetings to each Christmas fire
Round which the children play?

Alas! for many a moon,
That tongueless tower hath cleaved the Sabbath air,
Mute as an obelisk of ice, aglare
Beneath an Arctic noon.

Shame to the foes that drown
Our psalms of worship with their impious drum,
The sweetest chimes in all the land lie dumb
In some far rustic town.

There, let us think, they keep,
Of the dead Yules which here beside the sea
They've ushered in with old-world, English glee,
Some echoes in their sleep.

How shall we grace the day?
With feast, and song, and dance, and antique sports,
And shout of happy children in the courts,
And tales of ghost and fay?

Is there indeed a door,
Where the old pastimes, with their lawful noise,
And all the merry round of Christmas joys,
Could enter as of yore?

Would not some pallid face
Look in upon the banquet, calling up
Dread shapes of battles in the wassail cup,
And trouble all the place?

How could we bear the mirth,
While some loved reveler of a year ago
Keeps his mute Christmas now beneath the snow,
In cold Virginian earth?

How shall we grace the day?
Ah! let the thought that on this holy morn
The Prince of Peace -- the Prince of Peace was born,
Employ us, while we pray!

Pray for the peace which long
Hath left this tortured land, and haply now
Holds its white court on some far mountain's brow,
There hardly safe from wrong!

Let every sacred fane
Call its sad votaries to the shrine of God,
And, with the cloister and the tented sod,
Join in one solemn strain!

With pomp of Roman form,
With the grave ritual brought from England's shore,
And with the simple faith which asks no more
Than that the heart be warm!

He, who, till time shall cease,
Will watch that earth, where once, not all in vain,
He died to give us peace, may not disdain
A prayer whose theme is -- peace.

Perhaps ere yet the Spring
Hath died into the Summer, over all
The land, the peace of His vast love shall fall,
Like some protecting wing.

Oh, ponder what it means!
Oh, turn the rapturous thought in every way!
Oh, give the vision and the fancy play,
And shape the coming scenes!

Peace in the quiet dales,
Made rankly fertile by the blood of men,
Peace in the woodland, and the lonely glen,
Peace in the peopled vales!

Peace in the crowded town,
Peace in a thousand fields of waving grain,
Peace in the highway and the flowery lane,
Peace on the wind-swept down!

Peace on the farthest seas,
Peace in our sheltered bays and ample streams,
Peace wheresoe'er our starry garland gleams,
And peace in every breeze!

Peace on the whirring marts,
Peace where the scholar thinks, the hunter roams,
Peace, God of Peace! peace, peace, in all our homes,
And peace in all our hearts!

Timrod attended the prestigious Classical School, where he befriended his lifelong ally and fellow poet Paul Hamilton Hayne. As a young man, Timrod enjoyed solitude, nature, and the contemplation of romantic love and death. William Gilmore Simms found Timrod "morbid," but the ever-loyal Hayne memorialized him as "passionate, impulsive, [and] eagerly ambitious." When scant resources precluded his graduation from the University of Georgia, Timrod returned to Charleston in 1846 to study law with James L. Petigru. However, as one contemporary put it, Timrod "was too wholly a poet" to find the regimen compatible. Until the outbreak of the Civil War, he tutored the children of Lowcountry planters while publishing his poetry and essays in Russell's Magazine (which he helped to found in 1857 with Hayne), the Southern Literary Messenger, and the Charleston newspapers. Harper's magazine hailed "the true poetical genius" of Timrod's Poems (1860), the only collection published in his lifetime.

Scholars generally concur that slavery and its ideological defense retarded the intellectual evolution of the antebellum South, particularly in the realm of letters. Timrod's 1859 essay "Literature in the South" buttresses this point of view. Southern readers at best, he wrote, were indifferent to southern writers, but more often criticized them "as not sufficiently Southern in spirit." According to Timrod, literature served merely as "epicurean amusement" for the South's "provincial" people. Even among the most learned, said Timrod, the "fossil theory of [classical] criticism" remained de rigueur. A devotee of romanticism, Timrod argued that the embracement of new modes of expression was not inherently subversive. In his other notable essay, an exchange with William J. Grayson titled "What Is Poetry?" (1859), Timrod vehemently rebutted Grayson's defense of verse as simply "form and order." Precisely for its disavowal and articulation of the modern sensibility in southern voices, the literary scholar Richard J. Calhoun has called this exchange "one of the more interesting critical debates in antebellum literary history."

Although Timrod opposed secession, the opening of the Confederate Congress in February 1861 elicited from him the exultant "Ethnogenesis," which prophesied the world made over in the image of a utopian South free "from want and crime." But as the war dragged on, Timrod's poems-"The Cotton Boll" (1861), "Carolina" (1862), "Charleston" (1862), "Christmas" (1862), "The Unknown Dead" (1863), and the postwar "Ode" (1866) - turned from ardor to apprehension and gloom, earning for him the sobriquet "Poet Laureate of the Confederacy." Lauding the "controlled eloquence" of his wartime compositions, the literary scholar Louis D. Rubin has written, "Nothing in Timrod's pre-secession verse really prepares us for this sudden maturation as a poet. It is as if the advent of secession and the war had jarred him loose from his preoccupation with his own personality, the obsessive self-consciousness of his role as sensitive spokesman for aesthetic Ideality, into an abrupt confrontation with his identity as a member of the civil community." Even so harsh a critic as Ralph Waldo Emerson chose to read Timrod's war poetry to New England audiences after the Civil War, a tribute to his artistry and evocation of the sectional crisis.

Timrod enlisted in the Confederate service several times, but his chronic tuberculosis led to repeated discharges. In the spring of 1862, as a war correspondent for the Charleston Mercury, Timrod witnessed the retreat of the Confederate army from Shiloh. Overwhelmed by the horror, he returned home and in January 1864 assumed the editorship of the South Carolinian, a daily newspaper published in Columbia.

He married his long-betrothed Kate Goodwin, the English sister of his brother-in-law, and on Christmas Eve their son Willie was born. Timrod remained at his desk while Sherman's troops destroyed the capital city, issuing "thumb-sheets" until the occupation forced him into hiding. Facing ruin and starvation, Timrod futilely sought employment, depending on the charity of friends and the sale of his meager possessions for survival. The poet's bloodstained manuscripts still attest to his precipitous physical decline after the death of Willie, "our little boy beneath the sod," in October 1865. Henry Timrod died from tubercular hemorrhages on Oct. 7, 1867, and was buried in the cemetery at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Columbia. In 1911, the South Carolina General Assembly adopted Timrod's "Carolina" as the state song.

-- Excerpted from the entry by Elizabeth Robeson. 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.)


Holiday wreath

Here's an interesting holiday perspective of St. Philip's Church in downtown Charleston.
Photo by Michael Kaynard, Kaynard Photography.

Stump us. If you have a picture that you took that you think will stump people, send it along and we'll publish it as a mystery picture. Send to: editor@charlestoncurrents.com. Make sure to include your name and a description of the photo (in case we're not good enough to guess.)

More photos: If you want to see a neat photo of the rural South, sign up to receive photo emails at: www.SouthernCrescent.org. And tell your friends too!


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© 2008-2013, Statehouse Report LLC. All rights reserved. Charleston Currents is published every Monday and Thursday by Statehouse Report LLC, PO Box 22261, Charleston, SC 29413.


Our next issue will be Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013.


Remember to recycle

With Christmas just around the corner, Charleston County offers these easy recycling tips:

  • Recycle your Christmas tree and greenery. Remember to remove all décor such as lights, tinsel and ornaments. Some municipalities will pick them up curbside, or they can be taken to a convenience center. The trees picked up curbside are transported to the Bees Ferry Landing Compost Facility to be ground and composted.

  • Holiday treat: Residents who drop off a tree at the Bees Ferry Landing Compost Facility from January 2-11 will receive a free bag of compost.

  • Recycle holiday paper, including gift wrap, cardboard, and commingled products (plastics #1-7, glass containers and aluminum and steel cans) through the curbside program and at the numerous drop-site locations and convenience centers located throughout the county.

  • Other things to recycle at convenience centers: Used motor oil and cooking oil, electronics, household hazardous materials, batteries, paint, compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) and holiday light strands.

  • More: recycle.charlestoncounty.org.

Great gift ideas for the season

Some of Charleston Currents' elves have been busy at work developing some great gift ideas for the holiday season.

Photographs by contributing photographer Michael Kaynard and his wife, Cynthia Bledsoe, now are being shown at the W. Hampton Brand Gallery at 114 East Bay Street. They offer several outstanding Lowcountry scenes that you might have seen over the past year in this publication.

Their feature image is of 95 Broad Street, which is also printed on slate. They also offer great views of Angel Oak, wildlife, the ruins at Old Sheldon Church and the oaks of Tomotley Plantation.

If you visit the gallery, mention Charleston Currents and get a 25 percent discount on any of the pair's paper prints. Some other fantastic photos you can purchase:

Other holiday treats

Historian and columnist Doug Bostick, who serves as executive director of the S.C. Battleground Preservation Trust, tells us the Trust is offering the last of a limited edition run of Ben Silver ties and pewter mint julep cups commemorating the 1st South Carolina Artillery, which defended Battery Wagner 150 years ago.

The ties (regular, extra-long or bow) are $75 each. The pewter cups as $15 each. For more information, contact the Trust by email or phone 843.743.8281.


Importance of holidays to one man

"I once wanted to become an atheist, but I gave up -- they have no holidays."

-- Henny Youngman



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Art of Pinar Del Rio: Through December 29, City Gallery at Waterfront Park, Charleston. The gallery will host an exhibition of works by more than a dozen contemporary Cuban artists curated by local artist Reynier Llanes. More info.

Holiday Festival of Lights: Through December 31, James Island County Park. You can see more than 750 holiday light exhibits and get $5 off Monday through Thursday with donation of a canned food item. More info.

NEW Charleston Rose Ball: 9 p.m. Dec. 31 to 2 a.m. Jan. 1, Johnson Hagood Football Stadium, 68 Hagood Ave., Charleston. IceBox Bar and Charleston After Dark are ringing in the new year with this event that includes DJs, vocalists and more. Tickets are $99 to $150 with proceeds benefiting the Tanzanian Education Foundation. More.

Polar plunge: 1 p.m., January 2, 2014, Dunleavy's Pub, Sullivans Island. The pub will offer its annual New Year's Day Polar Plunge this year to raise money for Special Olympics South Carolina. The fun starts at 11 a.m. when people gather for food and drinks, with a mass walk to the beach at 12:30 a.m. Registration is now open. More.

NEW The Psalms: Music of the Bible. Hour-long classes are noon Wednesdays from January 15 to February 19 at the Charleston Library Society, 164 King Street, Charleston. Scholar Elizabeth Kirkland Cahill will teach noon Wednesday about the Psalms as part of the Society's Lifelong Learning Series. Cahill's multi-faceted approach will provide more context and understanding for the psalms as a whole, along with exploration of selected psalms. Cost: $200 for members; $250 for non-members. More.

NEW MLK Tribute: 7 p.m., Jan. 18, 2014, Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church, 7396 Rivers Ave., North Charleston. The CSO Gospel Choir, CSO Spiritual Ensemble and other artists will bring legendary civil rights leader Martin Luther King's legacy to life in "Wouldn't Take Nothing for My Journey Now." The performance is free, but an entry ticket is required from the City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department. More: Contact 740.5848 or go online.

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.


12/23: Simpkins: Meeting Mandela
12/16: Creech: Safety first
12/09: Heddinger: Arbor Day
12/02: Troy: Photo contest for birds

11/25: USC-Clemson book rivalry
11/18: Boyd: Remembering JFK
11/11: Weirs: Photographing cats
11/4: Frazier: Azalea talk at Magnolia

10/28: Kaynard: Slow it down
10/21: Gambrell: Changing education
10/14: Smetana: Green teams
10/7: Gress: More to do on equality

9/30: McCarter: Safe water
9/23: Diebolt: One Book program
9/16: Mercer: Civil War photos
9/9: 30th MOJA Festival soon
9/3: Scharstein: Free autism forum

8/26: Ringler: Chasing after a cure
8/19: Sabine: Kids giving back
8/12: Frazier: Bat lab
8/5: Hathorne: Kudzu bugs

7/29: Sheahen: Poverty grows
7/22: Ferguson: Plate at the table
7/15: Kaynard: Mepkin Abbey
7/8: McCandless: At-risk youths
7/1: McGee: Monroe's new book

6/24: Williams: Avoiding foreclosure
6/17: Dewey: Preventing suicide
6/10: Hoover: Clean kitchens
6/3: Kulp: On breathalyzers


12/9: A Christmas to remember
11/18: Jefferson Davis visits
10/14: Shelling Fort Sumter
9/9: Assault on Fort Sumter
8/5: The Angel of Death
7/8: Assault on Battery Wagner
6/10: "A furious barbarian"
5/13: Recovery of Keokuk guns
4/8: "Turrets are coming!"
3/11: Preparing to attack
2/11: Blockade is broken
1/14: Stono Rebellion


12/23: Who's been naughty, nice
12/16: Education, workforce related
12/9: MacDonald's mysteries
12/2: S.C. has coolest flag

11/25: Enforce robocall law
11/18: Library referendum needed
11/11: Oh, the Things You'll Miss
11/4: Wild gov's race ahead

10/28: Lake City's surprises
10/21: Challenging exceptionalism
10/14: Holidays approaching
10/7: Tired of Congress

9/30: On Henry Martyn Robert
9/23: New American inspire
9/16: 10 years later: Letter
9/9: Welfare today
9/3: End legislative delegations

8/26: What would Dr. King say?
8/19: Wool over our eyes
8/12: Essays on ordinary summer
8/5: Ford needs to get out of the way

7/29: New poverty study
7/22: Engage in trade war
7/15: Give brand to government
7/8: S.C. keeps treading water
7/1: Brad Taylor's new thriller

6/24: Brookgreen Gardens
6/17: New fee bring us closer?
6/10: Great new library service
6/3: On Robert Ford


12/2: On the Personal Property Memo
11/4: Your time: great gift for seniors
10/7: Let's celebrate aging
9/3: Medicaid and your future
8/5: More on estates, wills
7/1: Estate planning myths
6/3: Pensions for wartime vets
5/6: Revocable Living Trusts
3/4: Resources to help seniors cope
2/4: On life estates
1/7: Next step in health care


12/23: And now there is hope
12/2: The "thanks" of Thanksgiving
10/28: Impact of rising bond market
9/30: What happens when rates rise


12/16: More holiday fun
11/18: Winter activities to do
10/14: Four ways to preserve history
9/16: It's harvest time
8/19: Kids giving back

7/15: Childrens' museums
6/17: Interactive adventures
5/20: Birds, bees, butterflies
4/15: Signs of spring abound
3/18: Great local parks
2/18: What's new in Charleston is old
1/21: Blaze a trail in 2013
12/10: Great holiday adventure



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