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FMU to host symposium on civil rights legacy of Gov. McNair


FLORENCE – Noted South Carolina historian and ETV radio personality Walter Edgar will headline Francis Marion University’s first McNair Center Symposium on Oct. 29 and 30. 

The two-day symposium, the purpose of which is to analyze the role of the former governor in the civil rights movement, is sponsored by the Robert E. McNair Center for History and Government located on the FMU campus. 

“With its focus on teaching, research and outreach, the Center provides an ideal platform for the symposium. We are honored to recognize the contributions of this highly respected and truly extraordinary leader,” said FMU President Luther F. Carter. 

Organizers of the symposium and co-directors of the Robert E. McNair Center for Government and History Scott Kaufman and Alissa Warters said the focus of the civil rights symposium will be two-fold: leadership and education.


About the keynote:

Walter Edgar was born and reared in Mobile, Ala. He received his A.B. degree from Davidson College and the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of South Carolina. After serving two years in the U.S. Army—including a tour with an advisory team in Quang Tri Province, Vietnam—he returned to USC as a Post-Doctoral Fellow of the National Historical Publications Commission. In 1972, at the conclusion of the fellowship, he joined the History Department at USC and by 1982 was a full professor. He was the founder and first director of the History Department’s acclaimed Public History Program. In 1980, Edgar was named the director of the Institute for Southern Studies. 

Since 2000, he has been the host of two popular weekly programs heard statewide on South Carolina ETV-Radio: “Walter Edgar’s Journal,” a look at contemporary events in context, and “Southern Read,” his reading of some of the best contemporary Southern fiction. In addition, he responds to numerous requests from local, regional, national, and international media for commentary on the state and region. 

Edgar is the holder of three named professorships: the Claude Henry Neuffer Professor of Southern Studies, the George Washington Distinguished Professor of History and the Louise Fry Scudder Professor of Liberal Arts.


About Francis Marion University:

The university enrolls nearly 4,200 students and offers a broad range of undergraduate degrees and a select number of graduate programs serving the needs of communities, businesses and industries of the Pee Dee region. Francis Marion is the only state university serving the Pee Dee region, and many of its students are the first in their families to attend college. 


Symposium Schedule of Events 

Oct. 29: Chapman Auditorium, McNair Science Building

6 – 6:30 p.m.

Opening Comments and Introduction of Keynote Speaker by Luther F. Carter, President of Francis Marion University


6:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Keynote Address, “Robert McNair and the Art of Governance” Professor Walter Edgar


Oct. 29: Reception, Wallace House

7:45 – 9 p.m.

Hosted by Luther F. and Folly Carter, President and First Lady of Francis Marion University


Oct. 30: Thomason Auditorium, Lee Nursing Building

10 – 11:30 a.m.

“Robert McNair, Leadership and Civil Rights”

Panelists: Merle Black, Earl Black and Edgar Dyer

Moderator: Gov. Jim Hodges


Oct. 30: The Cottage

11:45 a.m. – 1:15 p.m.


Guest speaker


Oct. 30: Thomason Auditorium, Lee Nursing Building

1:30 – 3 p.m.

“Robert McNair, Education and Civil Rights”

Panelists: U.S. Senior District Judge Matthew J. Perry Jr., Phil Gross

Moderator: Gov. Jim Hodges


3:15 – 3:30 p.m.

Closing Comments


# 41/ 10-19-09

Last Published: April 22, 2010 4:12 PM
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