Columbia and Richland County: A South Carolina Community, 1740-1990

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Univ of South Carolina Press, 1993 - History - 521 pages
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The story of South Carolina's heartland told from the prospective of a founding father, a plantation mistress, an African-American politician, an editor, a mayor, and other local residents.
 

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This is clearly the best history of Richland County published since Edwin Green's celebrated work early in the 20th century. This work is scholarly, but reads smoothly and easily for anyone with a good high school education. It is not heavily weighted down by many academic questions or overly footnoted. As in any history, there are places where one wishes there were more details, but no general history can cover every aspect of every period in such detail that it becomes cumbersome and prohibitively costly to produce. This book is well balanced. Schools and libraries might have received more attention as basic contributors to a community advancement. Economic development is treated much better than in most county histories. Local political controversies receive less attention than might be deserved, but many readers might consider that a blessing, especially in the modern era. Admittedly, recent history is the most difficult to report objectively. However, one might have expected more attention to the work of religious and civic leaders, as well as ordinary citizens, to improve race relations and prepare for peaceful desegregation of public accommodations and schools. Most historians agree that race has been THE defining element of South Carolina history for over three centuries, and Richland County's people led the way in moving in a more moral, realistic, and progressive direction in race relations than many other areas of the state and the South. Even high students were working quietly behind the scenes on a bi-racial committee to prepare for peaceful school desegregation, with support unofficially from school officials and religious leaders. It is good that Moore gave credit to law enforcement, especially SLED, for contributing significantly to improvements in this area. I found no mention of the active peace movement, witness for right to life and against abortion, and work to overcome poverty, all of which combined religious concern for social justice with political action. The Great Depression was not the only time that citizens of the county worked actively for healthy social change. Of course, these are fairly minor defects in a generally excellent history that should be on the shelf of every family in the county. 

Contents

Parti Foundations 17401800
1
Image and Reality 18001860
77
War and Peace 18601890
181
A Dynamic Half Century 18901940
273
The Decline of Sectionalism 19401990
389

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About the author (1993)

John Hammond Moore, noted historian, is the author of eighteen books and editor of five more, most of them about South Carolina history.

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