James Clyburn: Then and Now

By Laura Stillwagon

As part of the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) grant we recently received, and  alongside digitizing the South Carolina Council on Human Relations archive held at UofSC’s South Caroliniana Library, a new website for civil rights collections will be created to allow for easier searching and browsing of these collections. Much of the civil rights collections available online in Digital Collections, South Carolina Political Collections, Moving Image and Research Collections and elsewhere, encapsulate the state of South Carolina’s experience and memory of the Civil Rights Era.

To prepare for the website, a large assessment and evaluation of the current civil rights collections is being done. While searching through some of the content, some of the recorded early work of James Clyburn, current Majority Whip and Democratic Representative of South Carolina, was found. He has had a long political career in South Carolina, and a lot of his activity during the Civil Rights Era and after was recorded. Representative Clyburn has even been in the news lately for his appointment as Chairman of the bipartisan House committee created to manage spending on measures made to control the COVID-19 pandemic.

Before the aberrant events of today, Majority Whip Clyburn was involved in both social justice and bureaucracy during and after the Civil Rights Era. An active participant in the Civil Rights Movement, outtakes from the two speeches given by Martin Luther King, Jr. in Columbia show Clyburn at the front row. Following the Civil Rights Movement, he was the acting Head of the South Carolina Human Affairs Commission. Rep. Clyburn was also an assistant to the South Carolina Governor West for Human Resources, where he dispelled misinformation on the economic disparities of poor and African American people-in-need. In 1971, Clyburn was elected president of Young Democrats of South Carolina. In 2015, Clyburn announced the donation of his papers to the Center for Civil Rights History and Research as part of the opening ceremony for the establishment of the center at the University of South Carolina’s Hollings Library.

Video above: WIS-TV newsman Tom Howard introduces James Clyburn, assistant to Governor John West for human resources. Clyburn tries to dispel the “welfare Cadillac” myth, which purports that ineligible people misuse the food stamp program.

Documents and more on James Clyburn can be found here. More local TV newsreel outtakes from MIRC can be found here, as well as more collections that document South Carolina during the Civil Rights Era. Stay tuned for our CLIR digital collection updates!

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References

Forgey, Q. (2020, 5 April). Clyburn: House coronavirus panel ‘will be forward-looking,’ not review Trump’s early response. Politico. Retrieved from https://www.politico.com/news/2020/04/05/trump-clyburn-house-coronavirus-panel-166064

 

Historic Southern Naturalists: Lewis R. Gibbes

Lewis Reeves Gibbes, by J. A. Nowell, 1886 (McKissick Museum)
Lewis Reeves Gibbes, by J. A. Nowell, 1886 (McKissick Museum)

By Joshua Schutzenhofer

The Historic Southern Naturalists digital collection contains a variety of documents from naturalists that worked mainly with the South Carolina College, in Charleston. The items in this collection are some of the earliest objects and work in natural history. The Charleston Museum’s papers are part of the Historic Southern Naturalists digital collection and contain myriad historical ephemera including advertisements, books, check lists for collections, pamphlets, plant catalogs, postcards, and letters.

Recently, we received several letters from the Charleston Museum for digitization. Many of these letters are addressed to Lewis R. Gibbes from different prominent individuals. Lewis R. Gibbes (1810-1894) was a scientist that focused on botany, astronomy, and physics, and he communicated frequently with others in those fields. Gibbes was also a professor at the College of Charleston and wrote several articles on topics including mineralogy, chemistry, and botany.

Edmund Ravenel (1797-1871), a professor of chemistry and pharmacy at

Letter to Lewis R. Gibbes, professor at College of Charleston, from Henry William Ravenel, November 9, 1886.
Letter to Lewis R. Gibbes, professor at College of Charleston, from Henry William Ravenel, November 9, 1886.

Medical College of South Carolina, was one of the many that corresponded with Gibbes. John Bachman (1790 – 1874), an American naturalist, minister, and fellow professor of natural history at the College of Charleston, described several mammals not included in any scientific works, and was in frequent contact with Gibbes as well. Others with whom Gibbes shared letters with include John P. Barrett, Joseph H. Mellichamp, and Henry W. Ravenel. The letters discuss several different topics including the research that they were working on, resources that they shared with each other, or discoveries that they had made.

To learn about the history of the field of natural history through the collections of significant naturalists of the South, especially those associated with the University of South Carolina, visit the Historic Southern Naturalists website.

References

Letter to Lewis R. Gibbes from a friend, August 8, 1863, page 1
Letter to Lewis R. Gibbes from a friend, August 8, 1863, page 1

Stephens, Lester D. (2016, May). Bachman, John, February 4, 1790 – February 24, 1874. South Carolina Encyclopedia. http://www.scencyclopedia.org/sce/entries/bachman-john/.

Stephens, Lester D. (2016, June). Ravenel, Edmund, December 8, 1797 – July 27, 1871. South Carolina Encyclopedia. http://www.scencyclopedia.org/sce/entries/ravenel-edmund/.