Michelle Mapp was born on September 4, 1969 in Bad Kreuznach, Germany where her father, a U.S. Army drill sergeant was stationed. The family moved back to the United States when she was four years old and to the Charleston area when she was thirteen. Mapp attended Brentwood Middle School and Garret High School in North Charleston. She earned a bachelor's degree in Engineering from Clemson University and a Master of Engineering Management at George Washington University. She lived with her husband in Atlanta for several years and then relocated to Charleston in 2000. While teaching math at Stall High in North Charleston she observed the complexity of community factors that affected her students and became more interested in working on public policies. Following this interest, she enrolled in the master's degree program in public administration at the College of Charleston and started working right away with a newly formed organization, the Charleston Housing Trust. In the interview, Mapp discusses in length the need for affordable housing in Charleston and North Charleston and states that regional conversations and plans are needed and still lacking. She explains that affordable housing requires both finding resources but also modifying government building and development regulations. At the end of the interview, Mapp reflects about the Mother Emanuel AME Chuch massacre, the killing of Walter Scott, and systemic racism in Charleston and South Carolina.
Librarian and educator Kim Williams Odom was born in Charleston, South Carolina in 1970. Her family moved to the Jacksonville Military Base in North Carolina when she was in elementary school. Years later, she returned to Charleston as a single mother looking for a better life for herself and her child. She started taking her young daughter to the J.L. Dart Public Library and there she met Cynthia Graham Hurd who became her boss, her mentor, and her best friend. In the interview, Williams Odom tells about her family's deep roots in Charleston and takes pride in her relatives' achievements and contributions to the community. She remembers her struggles to overcome discrimination and succeed in a hostile school environment in North Carolina and tells about her dreams to become a cultural worker. She also talks about her extended career as a public librarian, including her role in the celebration of the J.L. Dart Public Library 85th anniversary and her experience as a manager at the St. Paul's library in Hollywood. She asserts her family's and Graham Hurd's values and ideas shaped her approach to community work. Finally, Williams Odom remembers the day her friend, along with the other eight church members, was killed at Mother Emanuel AME Church. She explains her refusal to let her friend's story to be reduced and defined by the hate and racism that took her life. Instead, she chose to honor Graham Hurd's life and legacy by keeping her work alive and committing her time and energy to several local projects that accomplished that goal. Finally, she states she is taking time to privately mourn her beloved friend.
Clarissa Lugo was born October 28, 1979 in Del Rio, Texas. Acting on a dare by one of her high school soccer teammates she decided to apply to The Citadel, which had only recently begun to admit women. After graduating in 2002 with a B.S. in education she taught sixth grade social studies for one year. In 2005 she became the first female graduate of the South Carolina Corps of Cadets to hold a position in the Citadel’s Office of Admissions. As assistant director of admissions her work focuses on recruiting female and Hispanic cadets. On April 20, 2009 she was honored for superior performance by Citadel President Lt. Gen. John W. Rosa. In this interview with graduate student Kate Gallo, Lugo explains her decision to attend The Citadel, and the support she received from family and friends. She discusses the difficulties she faced as a new cadet, both as a woman and as a Mexican-American. As part of the first wave of women, she reflects on the legacies of her cohort and the impact of the inclusion of women at The Citadel. Lugo believes it has enriched the traditional qualities of what it means to be a Citadel cadet. As a member of The Citadel’s first women’s soccer team she also discusses the differences between being a Citadel cadet versus a student-athlete. The mother of two daughters, she enjoys her work in the Admissions Office and continues to reflect fondly on her years as a cadet.
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.”
Robert Stehling is chef and owner of Hominy Grill, located in downtown Charleston, SC. Prior to opening Hominy, Stehling worked under the tutelage of Bill Neal at Crook’s Corner in Chapel Hill, NC. After working his way from dish washer to head chef there, he moved to New York City where he worked for several years at a number of restaurants before moving to Charleston in 1996 with his wife Nunnally Kersh to open Hominy Grill. Since then Stehling and his restaurant have received national attention for his ability to innovate while remaining true to the southern culinary traditions. In 2008 he received the James Beard Award as Best Chef in the Southeast. In this interview with Citadel graduate student Shannon Hungerford, Stehling reflects on his career path and the various influences on his cooking. Stehling also describes the challenges of owning and running a popular restaurant while raising a family.
Janie Campbell was born in Moffett near Edisto Island, South Carolina, and raised in New Jersey. There, she worked in a group home for youth with disabilities and served as Chief Shop Steward for the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, (AFSCME). In 1991,she reluctantly left her job and returned to South Carolina for family reasons. After holding various jobs in the region, she began working as a sanitation worker with the City of Charleston in 1997. She was one of six women employed by the department at the time and recalls some initial embarrassment at riding on the back of a truck. With the encouragement of male coworkers, however, she became a driver. Campbell took part in two failed efforts to unionize the sanitation workers in order to bolster their pay and improve their working conditions. She discusses the poor working conditions in the department as well as the difficulties of sustaining a union in South Carolina.
William Lindsay Koob III (b. 1946) is a Citadel graduate (1968) who served fourteen years in US Army intelligence, rising to the rank of Major. While stationed at the Pentagon in 1987, he admitted under interrogation to being gay and was forced to resign his commission. A short time later, he came out to his parents and brother: “I told the whole story, and by that time I was in tears. My brother said a few things, and basically,everyone sat and waited for my father to respond--the retired army colonel. Here I was, the third generation of my family to serve in the military. But, my dad just kind of sat there, looking down at the table. After a while, he just got up from the table, and he walked around, and he pulled me to my feet and said, ‘Son, I don't like it, I don't understand it. I’m going to have to think about this for a long time, but you're my son and I love you.’ Could I have asked for anything more? No.” Koob further reported that his Citadel classmates, following the leadership of their company commander, have been accepting of his homosexuality: “I am still one of the brotherhood. And, for that, I will be eternally grateful.” Koob, who resides in Ladson, South Carolina, is an accomplished classical music critic and journalist.
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.
Born in Charleston, SC on September 11, 1976 and raised in nearby Pinopolis, Lindsay Holler is a singer, composer, and guitar player who has additionally been a strong advocate for local musicians and a fixture of the music scene. In this interview she recalls her musical influences, including her parents’ mainstream pop records and her brother’s enthusiasm for the Black Crows. In addition to playing flute in the middle school band and taking piano lessons, Holler also studied voice with opera singer June Bonner. That association led to a visit to Broadway at age 13, where she saw Gregory Hines and Phylicia Rashad in Jelly’s Last Jam. “I kind of fell in love with New York a little bit, and I was like, oh, man, that’s where I want to go,” Holler recalls. Following her high school graduation, Holler studied jazz at the Berklee College of Music before returning to Charleston to complete her musical education at the College of Charleston. She has recorded and performed with several locally-based groups, including the Dirty Kids, the Western Polaroids, and Matadero. Though often in the spotlight as the lead singer, Holler is ambivalent about the attention that it brings her and worries that that ambivalence may undermine her success: “Everybody is me, me, me, show me, let me show you, you know, it’s such a prevalent posture nowadays, where it’s in your face, and who’s going to be the loudest, and who is going to be the most out there, and that’s never been my thing. But I worry do you have to be like that in order to be successful?”