Charleston, South Carolina, is a magical city. Many know Charleston for its well-preserved architecture, its cultural offerings, its amazing restaurants and breath-taking vistas. Others will know it as the place where slaves from Africa were auctioned off. Indeed, slavery, the greatest shame of American history, allowed astonishing prosperity in the production of cash crops in that State.
Significantly, Charleston is the place where the Civil War began. On December 20, 1860, in reaction to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President, the South Carolina General Assembly voted to secede from the Union. On April 12, 1861 General Pierre G. T. Beauregard led a successful attack on the Union- held Fort Sumter, in the Charleston harbor: this was the official beginning of the war. Charleston’s defeat, with so many sites destroyed, was all the more devastating. Ironically, the city was also a place of refuge for a number of minorities, including the Jews.
For our purposes it is of great interest that Charleston was a place of refuge for thousands of Huguenots. The first Huguenot refugees arrived in 1680, just before the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. In 1685, Monsieur le Pasteur Elie Prioleau, from the town of Pons in France, came to Charleston (then known as Charlestown, named for King Charles II of England), to lead the French Protestants in their new land. Alain Peyrefitte, the French scholar-politician, once remarked that France’s most costly error was to have persecuted the Huguenots. Their banishment, he reckoned, damaged French culture irreparably, whereas, it permanently enriched the places to which they fled. And Charleston is one of them.
The Huguenot Fellowship is planning two important events in March. Their purpose is to introduce the new Boice Chair occupant at the Seminary in Aix, Jean-Philippe Bru and his wife, Dana. The first will be held at the Philadelphia Country Club, Wednesday, March 20th, 2013. The second will be in Charleston, SC, on Saturday, March 23rd , which will be an entire week-end affair, full of marvelous discoveries! We very much hope you can attend one or both of these events. An invitation will soon be sent out. If you would like to get a head start on them, please contact our administrator, Beverly McFarland, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Very Truly yours,
William Edgar, President