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Lander Awarded S.C. Humanities Grant for World War I Symposium as One of Its Historians Publishes a New Book

World War I shaped the South with political, economic, and social changes long after its battles ended on November 11, 1918. South Carolina Humanities, the state-level organization that disperses funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities, has awarded Lander University's College of Behavioral and Social Sciences a grant to host a two-day symposium on World War I's effects on the South on March 14-15, 2019.

This topic is also the subject of a new book, The American South and the Great War, 1914-1924, co-edited by Lander historian M. Ryan Floyd and University of Mobile historian Matthew L. Downs.

In this centennial year of the war's conclusion, Lander's symposium aims to enlighten students and citizens to better understand how WWI impacted the South and to promote local history-specifically Greenwood and Upstate South Carolina. The symposium will include two evening plenary sessions entitled "Local stories: WWI, Greenwood, and the S.C. Upstate" and "Stories from across the South: How WWI affects our region" as well as panel discussions on race relations, agriculture, military planning and foreign policy, the economy, and women's roles in the war effort. Participating historians are specialists in military and Southern history, some of whom contributed to the book by Dr. Floyd and Dr. Downs. These include:

  • Dr. Angela Jill Cooley, Minnesota State University Mankato
  • Dr. Keith Gorman and Ms. Kathelene Smith, University of North Carolina Greensboro
  • Dr. Fritz Hamer, S.C. Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum
  • Dr. Janet Hudson, former president of the S.C. Historical Association
  • Dr. Kathryn Silva, Claflin University
  • Dr. Courtney Tollison, Furman University
  • Dr. Stefan Wiecki, Presbyterian College

Students from Lander and Presbyterian College will also present papers.

Other speakers are Greenwood citizens who have participated in public conversations about a local war memorial, commemoration, and historic preservation: Mayor Welborn Adams, Dale Kittles (American Legion member and a plaintiff in the court case against the S.C. Heritage Act), Trey Ward, and Christopher Thomas, director of the Benjamin E. Mays Historical Preservation Site.

"We are thrilled that these scholars, citizens, and students will come together to help us all better understand World War I. We are also very thankful for the support of S.C. Humanities and its mission to help offer programs that inspire, engage, and enrich the lives of South Carolinians," said Dr. Lucas McMillan, author of the grant proposal and Dean of Lander's College of Behavioral and Social Sciences.

For more information on Lander's grant entitled "Time of Tradition and Transition: A Symposium on the South and World War I," call 864-388-8176.

S.C. Humanities:

The mission of South Carolina Humanities is to enrich the cultural and intellectual lives of all South Carolinians. This not-for-profit organization presents and/or supports literary initiatives, lectures, exhibits, festivals, publications, oral history projects, videos and other humanities-based experiences that reach more than 250,000 citizens annually. South Carolina Humanities receives funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities as well as corporate, foundation and individual donors. It is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors comprised of community leaders from throughout the state.


Information about the book by Ryan Floyd and Matthew Downs: