That Boy Can Sell Some Hogs

A Little More on South Carolina

I was first inspired to do this by my old Howard University buddy over there at The Atlantic.  You should go check him out.  I support his work because it is way more serious than mine, which is to say that I’m not even really serious at all in this thing…  I really try to focus on the side notes.  Sure the heart of the issue is important sometimes, but really, if you’re surfing the internet you probably want to see and read something interesting.  Anything will do in most cases.  I still dream of surfing everyday so I’ll take Swami’s, Dog Town, Out Front, Cardiff, Santa Monica, El Porto, or even Out Front right now.

That was a shameless shout out to my Cali people holding it down out there.  I miss ya’ll.  That’s my word.  But back to the not being so serious all the time because I feel like some of you aren’t really understanding that life really is what you make it. Your life could be dictated to you in a number of different ways, but it is up to you to make the final decisions. I hope that you all choose wisely. I’m by no means saying that the choices are easy, I’m just saying that it shouldn’t be out of your scope to have some fun along the way. I really believe that this life here might be the highlight of some sort of universal state of being, reel, if you will.

Even my side notes lead to more side notes. Respect my gangster because even you forgot what we were supposed to be doing here. Well I’ll tell you what we’re supposed to be doing. We’re supposed to be talking about South Carolina some more as a follow up to all that business of red in the last few days. I thought that this would be a good idea to point out some more weird facts about the frighteningly extreme state.  Then I saw my mans from The Atlantic holding it down and basically putting it out there that The New York Times was already all up on it.  (“I was like damn it feel good to see people up on it,” like The Biz Markie.) No for real, I just didn’t want to do all the research.  

I always feel like my research is slanted because I’m only really offering a very thinly sliced perspective.  The edge on that katana must be totally outrageous. I mean I’m a biased dude. Some would call me opinionated, but then Ta-Nehisi Coates took care of all that. I actually forgot that South Carolina was one of the only states of the original colonies that was recaptured by the British during the Revolutionary War.  Part of that was the landscape and the fact that large parts of it were all but uninhabitable and part of the conceding of South Carolina to the British was based on the fact that George Washington’s Continental Army could not, in fact, cover that much ground.  Something must also be said for the type of ground that was supposed to be covered, but more on that in later on in this very same post…

South Carolina has always known where they have stood with you Union folks. I already knew, from my aunt, that white people didn’t even celebrate Independence Day here in the rebellious state until the 1920’s because they weren’t really on it like that. I learned that South Carolinians even had a special disdain for the Confederate States of America, treasonous rebels, for not being racist enough. That just sounds crazy, and I’m just going to let that sink in for a minute. As my mans from the Atlantic said on some serious journalism type of thing there on the screen was the fact that South Carolina actually tried to secede from the already seceded Confederate States of America because nobody else wanted to re-open the slave trade; essential other states had enough of assigning lives of servitude to foreign black folks with the understanding that they had enough black as it were, already.  Of course they would have to be stopped from the practice altogether soon after, when Sherman came through and burned the south to hell.

Do you know where Sherman had really wanted to go on his march through Georgia and South Carolina? I am pretty certain that Sherman would have wanted to smash Charleston, too, if it were not for Joseph Johnston’s feigned attempt at defending the south in North Carolina. Sherman wanted to crush the breadbasket of the south and he robbed them of the ability to feed themselves. Yeah, Joseph Johnston was totally cowed, militarily, by Sherman’s bold move and for that we remember Sherman and understand that even generals have their limitations.  But back to South Carolina again for a second. (There is no way in the world that you could defend Atlanta or South Carolina while the bulk of your army is roving around in Virginia with Lee, and you, yourself, are in North Carolina and desperately trying to make your way back out to Tennessee.) The Confederacy, along with South Carolina, was a sham. I learned that much at Howard University. The false aristocracy was doomed to fail because slaves outnumber white men 3:1 in South Carolina, alone, in the census of 1850. A ratio like that was never going to stand.

Sure we live in the information age now, but back then the news didn’t travel so good, but the message was spreading. That might be the reason that South Carolina tried to go it alone from the very beginning and didn’t even really want to be in the United States, anyway. First of all, white people had a very hard time living there at first. The mosquitoes carried malaria and those early white folks would drop like flies when they had to be out there in the fields all day. They had to have agriculture to sustain themselves and they tried almost everybody underneath the sun, pardon the pun, to get out there in those fields and raise vittles. (Many Native Americans died as a result of the experiments right along with white people.) Rice and indigo were the first modern cash crops in the new world and they grew well in the wetter, coastal climates. South Carolina was the only place in the South that eventually grew all of the most lucrative cash crops, too: tobacco and cotton also grew within the borders and what is more, Charleston offered a port with access to send it all to the world.

The south is ruthless.  The same trading port of Charleston turned to importing indentured servants, and eventually live Africans with some natural immunities to malaria.  Some of those initial niggers got away and actually lived on various islands of the coast, John’s Island and James’ Island, where there were no white people. It was so swampy on those islands that it would mean almost instant death to just about any Europeans of the day without access to modern medical care for the deadly disease. I personally think that this early resentment of the black man for his ability to apparently stay alive in early South Carolina could be the root cause of racism in the south. Think about how they must have been flossing that shit. (I know that I would have been flossing, talking about look at me: I’m all healthy boss and you don’t look too good.)  Babies would be getting sick and dying while black people were making indigo, farming rice and retaining enough portions of various African dialects to create a hodgepodge called “Geetchie.”

There are a lot of sides to South Carolina. There are the swamps, and wild boars, and bears, and turkeys, and beaches, and slave markets, and palmettos and hop ‘n john, and grits, and the blues, and people in South Carolina.


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