“Oppressive language does more than represent violence; it is violence; does more than represent the limits of knowledge; it limits knowledge,” she said. “It is the language that drinks blood, laps vulnerabilities, tucks its fascist boots under crinolines of respectability and patriotism as it moves relentlessly toward the bottom line and the bottomed-out mind.”
– Toni Morrison, from her 1993 Nobel Prize acceptance speech
Emily Yahr, Valerie June and Dina Bennett talk about how black people have been largely excluded from country music — an art form rooted in black history.
“What black history has to do with country music People called foul when Lil Nas X’s hit “Old Town Road” was kicked off Billboard’s country chart earlier this year. It started a national discussion about who gets to be a country artist and what race has to do with it. Valerie June is a country singer-songwriter, among many other genres. She’s also black. June and National Museum of African American Music curator Dina Bennett talk with host Martine Powers about how their experiences and the historical roots of country music are steeped in black history. Post entertainment reporter Emily Yahr connects the dots with a look at how artists like Lil Nas X are reinventing and bringing country music home.”
Find your ForeMothers
― Malebo Sephodi
Strong women ancestors. That is what I began with. The crux of my curiosity came to me while walking a labyrinth, outside, on a winter day in about 2007.
The history of my own family is deeply rooted in South Carolina history, and of course is full of paradox. Half of the stories lie in an historic cemetery, Stoney/Stony Creek, in what was called Indian Land. The image above must be the church. Charles Fraser painted this between 1796-1806 and titled it Meeting House, identifiable by the creek and road, which is still the same. Pocotaligo is now in Hampton County near Yemassee. Stoney/Stony Creek Independent Church was founded by dissenters in 1743, and included my ancestor Rev. William Hutson, who was its first pastor, called by Hugh Bryan an early settler in the region and zealous Christian. The story is that Hugh Bryan hired William Hutson to teach his many slaves to read, which was against the law. The church was burned in 1865. There are no black members buried here, although they are clearly in the records as members. Nearby was Prince William’s Parish Sheldon Church, today in ruins and evocative.
But because I was born, I have great reverence for the ancestors’ strength and faith. And many of my grandmothers and grandfathers are here. Being alive is no small thing. Stoney Creek Presbyterian Foundation cares for the cemetery today. I was asked to share how to donate to its upkeep. Hutson, Martin, Colcock, McLeod (THIS story is fascinating and involves Scots and Native Americans) and Frampton families are buried here among others. Support the preservation of the Stony Creek Presbyterian Foundation, P.O. Box 279, Beaufort, South Carolina, 29901.
Welcome to my blog about the Lowcountry of South Carolina, a place proud with beauty, history and art. Sometimes we feel a call, to be, to go, to do. I was called to be an artist, and as an old midwife from Alabama said, “If the good Lord wants you to do something, you won’t have no good luck until you do it.”
So here I am writing about what I know, about the 'under glimmer' as the poet Basho, says, the way I have learned to see, to notice. I am inspired by, and talking about the history and art and culture of this place that has called me to herself. By the ancestors.
My background includes a degree in fine arts from a small private college in Florida, and before that, four years of all girls' boarding school in Asheville. I worked as a professional photographer, helped my children grow up, and now and I love seasoned things, good food, better conversation, beauty, my beloved and beautiful Italian Greyhound, Beau. Moved by the sacred places and stories of this beautiful historic land called the Lowcountry, I am here in spirit and I hope to infect you with my love of this place.