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.
Charles (Chuck) A. Maxwell, Citadel Class of 1985, was born in Denver, Colorado in 1962 and was raised in the South Carolina Lowcountry. His family has deep roots in Charleston and his parents decided to return to the city when his father left the Air Force. After graduating from Berkeley High School in Moncks Corner, he attended The Citadel and was an accomplished cadet elected to be the Fourth Battalion Regimental Commander. Right after graduation, he joined the Air Force and was initially stationed in North Dakota and later in England. He was named Captain, but his career was cut short when he was subjected to martial court for being gay. In the interview, Maxwell takes pride in his family roots and values that have guided him during his life. He talks about the special relationship he had with an uncle who was a gay artist living in New York City and helped him to accept himself and enjoy life in the big city. He discusses his experiences as a Black gay man in the South and in military organizations before the time of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policies. He is proud about his experience at The Citadel and his accomplishments as a cadet. He explains it was easier for him to be gay at The Citadel than Black at The Citadel because he could hide his sexual orientation but not his complexion. He remembers Hell Week, the knob year, and other abuses he overcame during his time in the institution, including being forced to lead the school fight song, Dixieland. He also talks about his experience and accomplishments in the Air Force, the struggles to be who he was in a homophobic institution, as well as the frustration and despair he went through for being taken to court martial. At the time of the interview Maxwell was living in Atlanta with his partner of thirteen years and was still deeply involved with The Citadel as an alum.
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.
Duane Flemming, Citadel Class of 1982 was born in France in 1960 and grew up in Baltimore where he resided until attending The Citadel. He remembers his experiences as a Band Company cadet, his first week as a cadet, his knob year, and the institutional changes that occurred under the leadership of three different presidents. He explains The Citadel culture was challenging not just for gays but for anybody that showed any kind of weakness. He never disclosed his sexual orientation to anybody and continued protecting his privacy while working with the Army Medical Service Corps where he served until 1992. He first met Citadel gay alumni while living in Washington, D.C through GALA (Gay and Lesbian Alliance). Flemming asserts the association provides a different kind of bond for people that have mixed feelings about their Citadel experience. After leaving the Army, Flemming went to work for the Veterans Health Administration. At the time of the interview, he was the Director of Enrollment and Forecasting.
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?”
John Asbury Zeigler, Jr., Citadel Class of 1932, was born in 1912 in Manning, South Carolina. He was a poet, philanthropist, and co-owner of the Book Basement, a bookstore which once operated on the present campus of the College of Charleston. His family had deep roots in Charleston. His parents were Virginia Elfe and John Zeigler. His family lived many years in Florence, where his father founded a newspaper, the Florence Morning News. He recalls his earliest childhood memory with a poem he wrote when he was eight years old. He states the best thing about attending The Citadel was meting his roommate, the man that later would marry his sister and whose family gave him great joy. Zeigler Jr. explains that he survived by avoiding bringing attention to himself. He was active in the campus culture scene: founded The Citadel literary magazine and was introduced to the Poetry Society of South Carolina by General Days. After graduation, Zeigler Jr. worked as a teacher in Charleston and then moved to Washington, D.C., where he resided for several years until his return to Charleston to focus on his writing. Zeigler Jr. states he was always loved and accepted by his family for who he was, and that his family equally embraced his long-life partner, Edwin Peacock. He tells about their love story with two poems he asks the interviewer to read and remembers how they kept their relationship during WW II. Finally, Zeigler Jr. talks about the Book Basement bookstore they co-owned for twenty-five years at 9 College Street, the prominent visitors they hosted, and the reasons why it became an iconic cultural space in Charleston. The transcript includes several annotations by Mary Jo Potter, Zeigler’s niece.
Deborah Blalock was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts in 1959. When she was two years old, her family moved to James Island. She was a student at Nativity School and Bishop England High School and graduated from the College of Charleston majoring in English. Also, she trained as a hand engraver, working at Litaker's and in her father's business, Shogry's Gold Showcase. Years later, she decided to pursue a new career and attended The Citadel earning a master's degree in counseling. She completed her practicum at New Directions, a program of the Charleston Dorchester Mental Health Center (CDMHC) and was offered employment immediately after. In 2004, she became the center director. In the interview, Blalock describes CDMHC's daily operations, the partnership with other community organizations, and how services have evolved over the years. She provides a detailed account of the response to the Sofa Super Store fire and the creation of the First Responders Support Team. Finally, she remembers the aftermath of the Mother Emanuel's tragic shooting and tells about the efforts to provide support to the families of the victims since then. At the time of the interview, the families were preparing for the trial of the killer, Dylann Roof.
Feidin del Rosario Santana was born in Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic in 1991. He moved with his family to New Jersey, NY when he was twelve years old. After high school graduation at the age of nineteen, he returned to his country to train at a baseball academy in rural San Pedro. He explains that for him this was a "life-changing experience" but after a physical injury, he had to quit and return to the USA where he struggled to adjust. Later, he went back to Punta Cana to work in the tourist industry. There he met the mother of his child and trained as a barber. A job opportunity in a barbershop brought him to North Charleston in 2013. On his way to work on the morning of Saturday, April 4th, 2015 Santana recorded the killing Walter Scott by North Charleston Police Officer Michael Slager. Realizing the magnitude of the event he had witnessed, he feared for his safety but decided to hand over the video to the Scott family prompting the arrest of Slager. Santana reflects about the following months, including dealing with the press and media outlets, being a witness in the trial, and becoming the target of hateful messages.
Rock Hill, South Carolina residents Edward Aberman, Mary Ann Pearlstine Aberman, Jack Leader, Harriet Marshall Goode, and Martin Goode discuss local Jewish history, marrying outside one’s faith, and racial discrimination and interracial relations in Rock Hill. Edward, a native born in 1932, describes growing up in Rock Hill, and recalls Jewish family names such as Breen, Friedheim, and Kurtz. His father, Sol Aberman, was a musician who, in his youth, played in nightclubs and circuses around the country. After settling in Rock Hill and opening a scrap metal business, Sol supported the musical ambitions of local children and played with the Hejaz Shrine Temple band. Besides being the leader of the small Jewish community of anywhere from six to fourteen families, Sol worked hard for various civic and charitable organizations. Born in 1946, Jack Leader also grew up in Rock Hill. His parents followed brother-in-law Harry Cohen to Shelby, North Carolina. Harry helped all his siblings get off the ground with their own businesses in the Carolinas. Jack’s parents moved to Rock Hill and opened Melville’s, later named Leader’s, which sold ladies’ and children’s clothing. Jack discusses his Jewish education and his family’s religious practices, and recalls that when he was growing up, there was an active Hadassah organization in Rock Hill. Harriet Goode, born in 1937 and raised as a Presbyterian in Rock Hill, was about eight years old when she found out her paternal grandmother, Fanny Friedheim Marshall, was Jewish. Harriet’s great-grandfather and his brothers emigrated from Germany to Baltimore and, ultimately, wound up in Rock Hill, where they opened Friedheim’s Department Store. As a child, Harriet had both Christian and Jewish friends and was not aware of any discrimination towards Jews in her hometown. Mary Ann Aberman came to Rock Hill in 1955 as a newlywed and describes the “culture shock” of moving from the larger city of Charleston, South Carolina, to Rock Hill. Martin Goode, who was raised as a Methodist in Covington, Georgia, and came to Rock Hill after college, talks about his view of Jewish people in general. Note: See also Edward and Mary Ann Aberman’s interviews (Mss. 1035-221 and 222), and an interview with Rock Hill native Sophia Marie Friedheim Beers (Mss. 1035-220).
Fannie Appel Rones shares her memories of growing up on St. Philip Street in Charleston, South Carolina, between the world wars. The neighborhood was diverse—home to blacks, whites, Catholics, Jews, Greeks, and Italians. Fannie talks about her parents, Abraham and Ida Goldberg Appel (Ubfal), emigrants from Kaluszyn, Poland, and recalls stories her mother told her about the Old Country. She discusses the differences between Charleston’s “uptown” and “downtown” Jews and the Orthodox synagogues, Brith Sholom and Beth Israel. Fannie also relates her experiences as a member of Charleston’s Conservative synagogue, Emanu-El, and Reform temple, Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim.
Interview with Julia Craft DeCosta by Edmund Lee Drago and Eugene Hunt, September 11, 1980, AMN 500.001.004 in Avery Reseach Center Oral History Collection, of the Avery Research Center at the College of Charleston.