20 September 2018

Tracing Your Gullah Geechee Roots Workshop Filling Up - Seating is Limited

Join the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission,  the Center for Family History at the International African-American Museum and the Beaufort County Library for a FREE genealogy workshop on St. Helena Island. As of this writing, there are about 20 seats left for this session, so do not delay, register today if you plan to attend.

To register, send an e-mail to info@gullahgeecheecorridor.org or call 843.818.4587.
The workshop is designed to teach you how to find more of your Gullah Geechee family members and to learn why understanding aspects of Gullah Geechee culture (such as kinship-based living patterns and other customs, traditions and beliefs - some retained from their West African origins) can help to inform your research and deepen your understanding of your family's history in the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor.

You will also be introduced to the many resources that the Beaufort County Library has on Gullah Geechee history and culture. Special guests, Kimberly Morgan and Akosua Moore will share their experience researching the Binyard and associated families of Edgerley Plantation on the Marine Corps Air Station.
This program will take place on the beautiful Sea Island of St. Helena - a community rich with important Gullah Geechee heritage sites like its storied praise houses, the historic Brick Church and the Penn Center - one of the U.S.'s most important education and cultural institutions.

If you want additional information about the workshop, please contact the GGCHCC at info@gullahgeecheecorridor.orginfo@gullahgeecheecorridor.org or call 843.818.4587.

Please mark your calendars to reflect that all units of the Beaufort County Library will be closed on Wednesday, October 3rd for Staff Work Day. Regular hours resume on October 4, 2018. 

Re-Scheduled Programs

The evacuation of the area in light of the approach of Hurricane Florence led to the postponement of two local history programs. Both have been re-scheduled for October.

The first lecture of Season #3 of the Beaufort History Museum/Beaufort County Library's local history series is “Altamaha and the Yamasee Indians” with Dr. Eric Poplin. As before the lecture will be held at Beaufort Branch but the new date is Tuesday, October 9th. The time remains at 2 PM. Registration opens to the general public on September 25. Everyone must register through this link:  https://beauforthistorymuseum.wildapricot.org/event-3073818. Those with reservations for September 11th lecture should expect an e-mail from the Beaufort History Museum next week regarding the registration process. Registration closed when full.

You'll have to wait a tad longer for the re-scheduled "Correct Mispronunciations of Some South Carolina Names." The Bluffton Branch Library's large Meeting Room is heavily booked and between that schedule and what else is going on in the Beaufort District Collection, the earliest mutually agreeable date is Friday, October 26, 2018. Instead of an afternoon session, the talk with begin at 11 AM. Everyone is welcome to this free first-come, first seated local history program.

Heads up: The Beaufort County Library will be closed on Wednesday, October 3rd for Staff Work Day. Regular hours resume on Thursday, October 4, 2018.

17 September 2018

September 17 is Constitution Day

September 17 is designated as Constitution Day and Citizenship Day to commemorate the signing of the U.S. Constitution in Philadelphia 231 years ago. Recognizing that the Articles of Confederation were insufficient for governance, delegates from the 13 states debated issues of federalism and representation throughout May and into September. In the end,  the delegates had created a draft of a proposed Constitution to structure a new government for the fledgling nation. According to the History Channel's webpages about the US Constitution: "The document that emerged from the Philadelphia Convention of 1787 was the product of a sense of urgency and of mission, solid preparation, and secret debate that allowed open-mindedness and compromise, and a body of delegates who in the aggregate possessed both a command of political philosophy and much practical experience under state constitutions and the Articles of Confederation."

South Carolina's delegates in Philadelphia were strong advocates for protecting property rights particularly with regard to the enslaved and in determining the formula for representation under the proposed new form of government. Four men from South Carolina signed the document that has become the longest-lived national constitution in the world. These men were John Rutledge, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, Charles Pinckney and Pierce Butler. America's Founding Fathers website gives a brief biographical sketch of each man. Each one had a connection to Beaufort District.
Charles C. Pinckney

And then it was on to the states for ratification. Each state was required to hold a ratification convention. We have a copy of the 
"Journal of the Convention of South Carolina which ratified the Constitution of the United States May 23, 1788" in our Research Room. Ours is a facsimile copy printed for the Historical Commission of South Carolina by the Foote & Davies Company of Atlanta, GA in 1928.

The "Journal of the Convention of South Carolina which ratified the Constitution of the United States May 23, 1788" are notes taken of the proceedings of the 100 delegates who met at the Charles Town City Hall to discuss the document. Thomas Bee was selected to Chair the preparations for convention. The Convention began on May 12 and elected Thomas Pinckney its President and selected John Sandford Dart as the Secretary. Dart wrote in a clear script so it only takes a few minutes to "get the hang of" his handwriting. 

The Convention will meet Mondays through Saturdays until the matter is settled.

SC OVRSZ 342.73 JOU 1928
The very first day some delegates complain that the venue is too small and a committee was appointed to look into the matter. On May 13th, the convention agreed upon the rules of conduct: when and how often a delegate could speak on a topic under consideration; the definition of a quorum to conduct business; the fine for leaving the convention early; and this one: Rule #7: "Every Member when speaking shall adhere to the point before the Convention and shall not be interrupted unlefs [This is the later 18th century, you know] he departs from it when he may be called to order."

On May 15, 1788, the Fairfield delegate William Kirkland informs the Convention that he won't be attending on account of the smallpox outbreak in Charleston. 

On May 21, 1788 General Thomas Sumter makes a motion to delay the proceedings of the Convention until October 20th. A vote is taken and 89 delegates say "yes" to postponement and 135 delegates vote "no." All Beaufort District delegates, except for John Lewis Bourquin, Jr. want to get on with business.

On May 23, 1788, the Convention voted on a resolution that objected to the lack of term limits on the President under the proposed United States Constitution as it "is dangerous to the Liberties of the people, [and] calculated to perpetuate in One person during Life the high authority and influence of that Magistracy in a short time to terminate in what the good people of this State highly disapprove of An hereditary Monarchy." (It would take ratification of the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution in 1951 to change this.) All the Beaufort District delegates, except for John Lewis Bourquin, Jr. who represented St. Peter's Parish, voted "No" to the motion. The motion failed to pass 139 to 68. 

A number of other votes were taken and recorded on May 23 including the key issue: Would the proposed United States Constitution become the new law of the new country? In South Carolina, 149 delegates voted in favor of accepting the Constitution; 73 delegates voted against ratification. 

All of the St. Helena's Parish delegates (John Barnwell, John Joyner, John Kean, William H. Wigg, Robert Barnwell, William Elliott, and James Stewart) and all the Prince William's Parish delegates (Thomas Hutson, John McPherson, James Maine, John A Cuthbert, John Lightwood, John Simmons, and Stephen Deveaux) voted "Ay." Two thirds of the St. Peter's Parish delegates were in favor of ratification: John Fenwick, Joachim Hartestone, Seth Stafford, and Rev. Henry Holcom. John Lewis Bourquin, Jr. and John Chisholm voted against ratification. 

The Convention dissolved itself on May 24, 1788.  

Learn more about other resources available to help illuminate the founding of our republic in the BDC's WordPress blog: http://bit.ly/1uByfNY

BTW: The US National Archives is responsible for the caring for the US Constitution. Check out the DocsTeach website devoted to learning more about this document. 

PS: I have a presentation called "Beaufort District and The United States Constitution" in case your organization needs a speaker later this year or into 2019. Contact us to make the arrangements: bdc@bcgov.net or 843-255-6468.

10 September 2018

Florence made me do it ...


South Carolina's Governor Henry McMaster has called for a mandatory evacuation of Beaufort County beginning at noon on Tuesday, September 11th. By order of the County government, Beaufort County Library was closed at conclusion of business today until further notice.

Both of the local history programs scheduled for this week will be re-scheduled.

"Altamaha and the Yamasee Indians" originally set for Tuesday, September 11th is postponed.

"Correct Mispronunciations of Some South Carolina Names" originally set for Thursday, September 14th is postponed.

Please monitor the Library's  website at www.beaufortcountylibrary.org for the date of re-opening.

Please take care and be safe.

09 September 2018

September is National Library Card Sign-up Month

September is Library Card Sign-up Month, a time when the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries nationwide join together to remind parents, caregivers and students that signing up for a library card is the first step towards academic achievement and lifelong learning.

The campaign first started in 1987 as a response to then Secretary of Education, William Bennett, who stated: “Let’s have a campaign … Every child should obtain a library card and use it.” The ALA took Secretary Bennett’s words seriously and teamed up with the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science (NCLIS) to start the campaign.

Libraries have and do amazing things—they give everyone a chance to explore their passions and become their best selves through media, resources, lifelong learning, and more.

Doubt the value of getting a library card? Here are just a few of a vast array of materials, programs and services that Beaufort County Library offers:

Sign up today! If you were to become a super dooper incredible Library card holder, you could literally get hundreds even thousands of dollars worth per year of value with your free Library card.

Take the BDC as an example. Let's say that you get a seat at "Altamaha and the Yamasee Indians" before they are all gone and that you attend "Correct Mispronunciations of Some South Carolina Names" (no registration required; first-come, first-seated at Bluffton Branch.) Already you will have received $30 in value from your library card.

Let's say that you borrow one bestseller per month. By the end of the year, the value received would be $204.00. Your grandchildren come to visit. Each book that you borrow to read them a bedtime story provides you with $17.00 in value. Or you can read popular magazines online with Flipster, received a value of $5 per magazine, and drop your personal subscriptions at home saving you even more money. See how quickly the value of being a Beaufort County Library cardholder grows?

Please visit your favorite Beaufort County Library branch library during September to see what's new at the Library and take part in the celebration by using your library card to explore our collections, services and programs.