Rice has been an important part of the culture of Charleston and the surrounding Lowcountry for more than three hundred years. The cultivation of rice in early South Carolina was the principal factor that fueled the importation of thousands of slaves from the shores of West Africa. The marketing of South Carolina rice was the principal industry that created the wealth and culture that distinguished our nascent state from our neighbors. Rice and its economy (slavery and wealth) formed the life cycle of most of our early inhabitants, and thus it represents a sort of glue that, in a historical and cultural sense, binds us all together. With that in mind, ’tis the season to celebrate rice and its legacy. I’d like to draw your attention to two upcoming events:
First, Dr. Michael Trinkley of the Chicora Foundation will present a lecture entitled “Lowcountry Rice Cultivation: Rice in 18th and 19th Century South Carolina.” Please join us here at the Charleston County Public Library’s auditorium on Wednesday, September 11th, at 6:30 p.m.
Second, the new Lowcountry Rice Culture Project will present its first event later this week: a three-day symposium discussing rice history and culture, from cuisine to economics, and from agronomy to ornithology. To learn more about this important gathering, which begins Thursday, September 12th and concludes Saturday, September 14th, visit the Project’s website at http://www.lowcountryriceculture.org.