Bob Hester's presentation in May about his book A Yankee Scholar in Coastal South Carolina (University of South Carolina Press, 2015) was so well received, we decided to host him again. Please join us on Tuesday, July 19th at 3 pm in the Bluffton Branch Library, 120 Palmetto Way, for an inspiring and enlightening program about Beaufort District's musical heritage, local history, and Gullah culture.
the Civil War journals of William Francis Allen required a unique skill
set. Allen was a New Englander with impeccable academic and
abolitionist credentials who was "a perceptive observer of culture and
events" in Civil War and Reconstruction era South Carolina. Taking an
anthropological view of the former enslaved, Allen analyzed and
collected their music to compile the first published anthology of Negro
spirituals, Slave Songs of the United States (1867). He studied
the syntax of their communication and dispassionately watched their
interactions with others sharing his observations with his journal and a
series of essays published in the Nation and the Christian Examiner.
had the particular set of skills and educational background to pay
attention to the details and understand the complexities in the Allen's journal? Robert Hester, that's who.
Hester, an engineer by trade, is well accustomed to paying attention to
all the details so vital in a scholarly transcription of manuscript
material. Hester also has a deep interest in musical performance, theory
and arrangement that equipped him to transcribe those portions of the
journal relating to Gullah musical forms.
did his job as historian and musicologist well. Professor George Rable,
Charles Summersell Chair in Southern History at the University of
Alabama calls A Yankee Scholar
"fascinating reading" and says that Hester's work "immediately becomes
an important new primary source for studying the Civil War era."
are welcome to attend. Books will be available for purchase and
autographing from the author at a discounted price.
(Image courtesy of Stephanie Turner, Aiken Standard newspaper).