Charleston Renaissance | South Carolina Public Radio

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“C” is for Charleston Renaissance [ca. 1915-1940]. The Charleston Renaissance was a multifaceted cultural renewal. Artists, musicians, writers, historians, and preservationists—individually and in groups—fueled a revival that reshaped the city’s destiny. The Renaissance benefitted from a large number of books, many illustrated with paintings and prints by local artists. One story, more than any other, brought national attention to Charleston: the tale of Porgy by DuBose Heyward. It appeared first as a novel, then a play, and, in 1935, as the folk opera Porgy and Bess. Through words, melodies, pictures, and even a dance step, the idea of Charleston was broadcast to the nation. Although local residents realized that their city was undergoing a dramatic revitalization, the phrase “The Charleston Renaissance” did not get widespread usage until the 1980s.

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