- Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley was born in the city on June 9, 1943. After graduating from The Citadel (1964), he attended the University of South Carolina’s School of Law (1967). He served in the South Carolina House of Representatives from 1968 to 1974 before being elected Mayor of Charleston in December 1975. He has served 10 terms. Inthe following interview with Citadel Cadet Steven Foster, Riley reflects on the City’s disaster preparations for Hurricane Hugo in September 1989. The Mayor recalls that his main concerns were to encourage citizens to evacuate and to provide for those who needed shelter after the storm. Hunkered down in City Hall with other City employees, they listened anxiously as the metal roof was torn from the building and flung across the street. After the storm, which was among the most destructive to hit the United States, Riley worked closely with political, business, and civic leaders to revive the region’s economy and repair its badly damaged infrastructure.
- Father Leonard Cunningham (1923-2010) was born in Charleston, SC to Harley and Marion Cunningham. In this interview, conducted several months before his death, Cunningham discusses his rich family history. His ancestors included a former Confederate officer and federal judge, a midwife, a Baptist minister, a supporter of Marcus Garvey, and many skilled craftsmen. His father was a skilled plasterer and ornamental worker who worked on the Francis Marion Hotel, as well as many historic Charleston homes. He also built the family home at 15 Larnes St. and sent his children to the Immaculate Conception School. In 1950, Cunningham was ordained a Catholic priest, joining the Holy Ghost Fathers. That year he became the first African American priest to celebrate mass at the Cathedral of St. Johns in Charleston. In 1960, he joined the community at Mepkin Abbey, but was given leave a few years later to work in North Charleston during the civil rights movement. This interview was conducted in conjunction with College of Charleston graduate student Joi Mayo’s 2011 thesis, “A Beacon Light: Immaculate Conception School's Encouragement of Charleston's Black Middle and Upper Classes.”