Midlands

Boyce, James Petigru

Boyce gave a speech before the state convention of South Carolina Baptists in 1856, arguing for the necessity of a separate Baptist seminary. In response, the convention proposed to put forth $100,000 toward the endowment of a seminary located in Greenville if the same sum was raised by others. At the Southern Baptists’ Educational Convention held in Louisville in May 1857, the proposal from the South Carolina Baptists was accepted, and Boyce went about the task of securing the money. The institution opened in 1859 as the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Boyce served as its first president.

Boykin spaniel

This amiable, small, dark brown retriever is a superb hunter and loving family pet. It was bred to provide an ideal dog for hunting fowl in the swamps along the Wateree River, which demanded a sturdy, compact dog built for boat travel and capable of retrieving on land or water. Lemuel Whitaker “Whit” Boykin, a planter and sportsman from the Boykin community near Camden, tested many dogs to answer these needs. With luck and selective breeding, the multipurpose retriever was being bred to type by the 1920s.

Bratton, John

In May 1864, Bratton was promoted to brigadier general, commanding Bratton’s Brigade, Field’s Division, First Corps, Army of Northern Virginia. Bratton served in this position until the army’s surrender at Appomattox on April 9, 1865. Bratton returned to Fairfield County and entered politics. A conservative Democrat, he served as a delegate to the 1865 South Carolina constitutional convention and represented Fairfield County in the S.C. Senate from 1865 to 1866. In the fall of 1884 Bratton was elected to Congress. Taking his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives on December 8, 1884, Bratton served until March 3, 1885, and did not seek reelection.

Brawley, Benjamin Griffith

Brawley developed into a prolific writer, contributing works to such periodicals as Bookman, Dial, North American Review, Sewanee Review, and Reviewer. But it was in his writing and editing of books about the African American experience that he pioneered. While he was teaching at Morehouse in 1909, a student pleaded with him to write a textbook that would enable black students to learn something of the experiences and accomplishments of their own people. Four years later, in 1913, Macmillan published his book A Short History of the American Negro.

Brawley, Edward McKnight

The American Baptist Publication Society hired Brawley to perform missionary service among black South Carolinians. Although there were numerous black Baptist congregations statewide, Brawley found no existing state convention. Accordingly, in 1876 he organized the Colored Baptist Educational, Missionary, and Sunday School Convention. He went on to organize numerous local Sunday school programs throughout the state. A key ally in these endeavors was the Reverend Jacob Legare, pastor of the Morris Street Baptist Church in Charleston. Meanwhile, Brawley raised funds for Benedict College in Columbia, where he also served on the faculty.

Bristow, Gwen

Bristow’s natural storytelling ability, neatly devised and detailed plots, sharply drawn characters, telling eye for landscape and its detail, use of common sense, gift for dramatic effect, and emotional sincerity were the characteristics of her work that critics and reviewers singled out for praise. Margaret Wallace spoke of her “solid and versatile talent as a novelist.” The critic Susan Quinn Berneis claimed that Bristow’s greatest skill was reserved for “the unfolding of American history as displayed around the lives of the people who created it.” And Eugene Armfield remarked that she belonged “among those Southern novelists who [were] trying to interpret the South and its past in critical terms.”

Brodie, Laura

While Brodie was at Winthrop College during the late 1920s, her biology professor noticed her interest and called her to the attention of Howard K. Gloyd, a well-known herpetologist. Gloyd helped Brodie get a position at the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, where there was an excellent program in herpetology under the direction of Alexander G. Ruthven. During her first year there she stayed with Frank N. Blanchard and his wife, and Blanchard taught her many of the procedures used by professional herpetologists. On trips back to her Leesville home she collected many specimens for the University of Michigan collection.

Brooks, Preston Smith

Brooks is best known for his assault on U.S. Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts in May 1856. Following the eruption of violence on the Kansas frontier, Sumner delivered a speech unusually harsh by the Senate’s standards. He assailed South Carolina’s role in American history (especially during the Revolutionary War) and even attacked by name Senator Andrew P. Butler (who was a distant cousin of Brooks). With the aged Butler unable to defend himself or his state, the task fell to his nearest relative, Congressman Brooks, whose familiarity with South Carolina’s traditions of family honor was surpassed only by his fluency with the code duello. After considering his alternatives and waiting for Senator Sumner to apologize publicly, Brooks decided to punish Sumner. On May 22 he entered the Senate chamber after the Senate had adjourned and found Sumner at his desk. Brooks delivered several blows to Sumner’s head with a gutta-percha cane, and the senator fell senseless to the floor.

Brown, Edgar Allan

In September 1954 U.S. Senator Burnet Rhett Maybank died. His death occurred after the Democratic Party’s primary but before the general election. The South Carolina Democratic Party’s executive committee held a special meeting and decided to select Edgar Brown as the party’s candidate rather than hold a special election. In response, Strom Thurmond announced a write-in candidacy for the U.S. Senate, claiming that his campaign was a fight for principle— government by the people instead of government by a small group of committee members. Thurmond’s write-in campaign was successful, and he became the first candidate ever elected to Congress by a write-in vote.

Busbee, Cyril B.

Under federal desegregation guidelines, the state had to create a unitary school system instead of the racially separate systems that had been in place prior to the Brown v. Board of Education decision. Federal guidelines quashed tactics such as freedom-of-choice plans that many districts utilized to circumvent or slow desegregation. Busing to achieve a racial balance was emphasized in the new regulations. Busbee’s calm, moderate leadership as superintendent proved a great asset during these times.

Butler, Andrew Pickens

Butler is perhaps best remembered for his role in the attack on Charles Sumner—even though he was not present for one minute of it. On May 19 and 20, Sumner launched into a speech entitled “The Crime against Kansas.” His villain was Butler, who was absent. Butler was “the Don Quixote of slavery,” and his mistress in this morality play, “though ugly to others, is always lovely to him; though polluted in the sight of the world, is chaste in his sight . . . the harlot, Slavery.” Sumner then compounded the insult by mocking Butler’s habit of spitting when he spoke. On May 22, in an incident that some historians view as a critical turning point toward civil war, Butler’s cousin Preston S. Brooks avenged his kinsman by caning Sumner on the floor of the Senate.

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