Dear Friends and Members,
The jarring dislocations of the last six months have profoundly altered the rhythm of our everyday lives. A pandemic that seemed to spring out of nowhere, staggering economic losses, social unrest compounded by protests and riots, cultural upheaval with isolation and masks, and, just as frightening, the American story that seems to be up for grabs.
How do we make sense of a time that has been fractured by so much turbulence? How do we respond to those who declare that the country has never been so divided? Is it possible to anchor life with ancient artifacts? Can solace be found through timeworn letters and stories?
Historical literacy is far and away the most opportune way to face these questions. If you want a jolt of insight, just wander through the SCHS collections on exhibit in Charleston’s magnificent Fireproof Building. This small but mighty state-of-the-art museum is the epicenter for maps, letters, and artifacts which speak to the rich and diverse cultural history of our state. See Francis Marion’s powder horn. Read a letter written in 1690 by Judith Manigault. Don’t miss the 1802 map which describes land the Cherokees could enjoy if “they were well-behaved.” Pick up a copy of the Carologue or the South Carolina Historical Magazine. Pull applicable stories of South Carolinians of all races, ages, and genders who straddled and overcame 350 years of challenges.
Members of the SCHS know that our state has a tradition of facing seemingly insurmountable hurdles. Certainly, there are those who say the country and our state have never been troubled like they are today. But oh, yes they have. Many times.
Because of an amazing ability to link the past to the future, the SCHS has a startling relevance for today. The impact of the SCHS and its mission of historical literacy throughout our state cannot be overstated. For you see, the SCHS has an enormous power to educate, to reassure, and to heal.
Please give serious thought to an end-of-the-year gift to your South Carolina Historical Society. Your gift will enable the society to remain the state’s leader in securing a deep appreciation for the importance of studying history. The SCHS is needed today, and it is imperative for tomorrow. Please join me and fellow SCHS members by digging deep into your pockets and sending a contribution that will enable the society to fulfill its mission of education for you and for future generations.
Emilyn Childs Sanders
Chair, South Carolina Historical Society Board of Managers