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Upcoming Event:

The Lowcountry Rice Culture Forum
Charleston, SC
12-14 September 2013

From the 17th through the 19th Centuries, South Carolina led the nation’s rice production. The crop’s cultivation touched many aspects of life in the state’s tidal region. Its impact continues. Why did it happen? How did it affect the land and people? Often, research produced by professional historians, anthropologists, and others on the Lowcountry staple crop of rice and its impact on the population, built environment, and cultural customs of the region has not adequately been disseminated to the general public, including teachers, community leaders, and the descendents of stake holders in the rice trade and agricultural system.  

This September in Charleston, the Lowcountry Rice Culture Project will come together with our partners at Middleton Place, the Culinary Institute of Charleston, and the College of Charleston to conduct a small forum to disseminate information on Lowcountry Rice Production and Culture to a broad audience. Participants will include scholars, teachers, community leaders, public historians, docents and employees of local historic and cultural sites, as well as several representatives from our institutional partners in the Republic of Guinea (West Africa). Emphasis will be to get solid information and teaching materials to individuals who are in a position to pass it along to a broader audience of both locals and visitors.

During a three-day “Lowcountry Rice Culture Forum” in Charleston in fall 2013, participants will examine these issues with guidance from qualified humanists. “Day One” will open proceedings with evening demonstrations and tastings of rice products from the Chefs of the Culinary Institute of Charleston (Palmer Campus); “Day Two,” at the College of Charleston, will focus on presentations by and discussions with scholars followed by a public lecture and discussion; “Day Three,” at Middleton Place, will provide hands on experience and discussions of the annual rice harvest, African retentions and cultural elements related to rice production, and Lowcountry rice foodways.  

Please watch this space for updates and the full program of events.  We are currently working to keep the registration fee as low as possible and hope to begin taking registration around June 15.

Exhibition Opening!! 
 "Unenslaved: Rice Culture Paintings" by Jonathan Green 
August 29 - December 15, 2013
 Opening reception on Thursday, August 29, 2013 at 7:00 pm

As part of the Lowcountry Rice Culture Projects' focus on rice this September, the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture is hosting an exhibit of new work by Jonathan Green. Stop by to see it--it is free and available to the public!

Community Report on the success of the Lowcountry Rice Culture Forum

Friday, October 4 from 5pm to 6pm

City Gallery at Waterfront Park, 34 Prioleau Street

Admission: Free

The City Gallery at Waterfront Park is proud to host in conjunction with the MOJA Arts Festival a community report based on the incredible success of the Lowcountry Rice Culture Project Forum . The forum addressed the historical and ongoing impact that the crop of Lowcountry rice had on the population, environment, and cultural customs of South Carolina and neighboring states. 

The community report will be given by our very own locals in a panel format who attended the forum that was held in September at the Culinary Institute of Charleston, the College of Charleston, and Middleton Place and share what they learned. The panel will be moderated by Dr. Ade Ofunniyin.

​Book Talk
Tuesday, September 16
6:30 pm

Upcoming lecture by Richard Porcher and Billie Judd about their new book: The Market Preparation of Carolina Rice: An Illustrated History of Innovations in the Lowcountry Rice Kingdom (University of South Carolina Press, June 2014). This event is co-sponsored by the Carolina Lowcountry and Atlantic World Program. 

Please join us on Tuesday, September 16, 2014. The book talk begins at 6:30 pm in the auditorium of the College of Charleston’s new Science Building located on the NW corner of Calhoun and Coming Streets. Dr. Porcher has been busy creating his PowerPoint presentation for this event and Billie Judd created numerous new mechanical drawings and sketches to help illustrate this volume.  

After the talk, a reception and book signing will take place across the street in Room 227 of the Addlestone Library on the SW corner of Calhoun and Coming Streets. Copies of the book, which weighs in at 408 pages with 33 color and 128 black and white illustrations, will be available for sale and autograph by the authors.  Both the lecture and reception are free and open to the public.

Ben Moise, who has just completed the book to review for the Post & Courier: “Dr. Porcher and Mr. Judd have collaborated on producing a book which traces every detail of Lowcountry rice production. It was interesting to note that nowhere else in colonial America was an agricultural crop so closely bound to social and cultural identity.”

Jonathan Green, Chair of the Lowcountry Rice Culture Project Joins Strategic Partners for The Requiem for Rice.
October 22, 2017

Gaillard Center Martha and John Rivers Performance Hall.

The Requiem for Rice, is a lamentation for the repose of the souls of the dead who were enslaved, exploited, and brutalized on Lowcountry South Carolina and Georgia’s rice plantations and who remain unburied, unmourned, and unmarked. It is a modern take on a classic requiem performed by a full symphony orchestra and choir. An African and African-American inspired take on a classic requiem, it also features classic West African dance, drumming, and singing. The lamentation ends in celebration, laying to rest once and for all, the shackles of shame, blame, guilt, and denial that pervade this painful period in European, African, American, and African-American history. The Requiem ends in celebration of enslaved African ancestors’ lives, ingenuity, labor, and sacrifice for generations unborn and unseen, reclamation of our history and culture, and reconciliation among people of African descent, Africans, Americans, and Europeans. 

The Requiem for Rice is a collaboration between The Lowcountry Rice Culture Forum sponsored by the Lowcountry Rice Culture Project and its Strategic Partners · Executive Producer, Jonathan Green, world renowned artist and founder and President of the Lowcountry Rice Culture Project · 

Producer and Librettist (author of the libretto on which The Requiem is based), Dr. Edda L. Fields-Black, Associate Professor, Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, PA), Department of History and author of Deep Roots: Rice Farmers in West Africa and the African Diaspora (Indiana, 2008) and Wade in the Water: A Journey from Western Africa to Gullah Geechee (in progress) and co-author of Rice: Global Networks and New Histories with Francesca Bray, Peter Coclanis, and Dagmar Schaeffer (Cambridge, in press). Fields-Black is a direct descendant Africans enslaved on three rice plantations (Colleton County, SC), Cockfield, Smithfield, the location of Alice Huger Ravenel Smith’s gorgeous and nostalgic watercolors, and Myrtle Grove, which was owned by the largest slave holder in the US. · 

Composer, Dr. Trevor Weston, Associate Professor, Drew University (Madison, NJ), Department of Music whose recent works are: “Messages for Chamber Ensemble” (Chamber Music Charleston), “4: a musical drama in response to the 4 girls killed in Birmingham AL in 1963” (Trilogy, An Opera Company in Newark, NJ), “The People Could Fly” based on the African-American folktale of enslaved people who flew away to freedom (Starling Chamber Orchestra in Cincinnati, OH), “Verve Music” (Charleston Chamber Players), “Three Moods” (Charleston Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Players), “Ashes” (Carolina Chamber Chorale, Charleston), “In the Giving,” “O come, o come Emmanuel,” “The Greatest Gift,” and “Christmas is Jesus Christ” (Charleston Symphony Orchestra Gospel Choir), and “Here’s to Life” and “Why Should I Care” (Lee Pringle/Charleston Orchestra Pops)

Litany, Nikki Finney, was born by the sea in South Carolina and raised during the Civil Rights, Black Power, and Black Arts Movements. She began reading and writing poetry as a teenager growing up in the spectacle and human theatre of the deep South. At Talladega College she began to autodidactically explore the great intersections between art, history, politics, and culture. These same arenas of exploration are ongoing today in her writing, teaching and spirited belief in one-on-one activism. She is the author of four books of poetry, On Wings Made of Gauze, RICE, The World Is Round, and Head Off & Split, which won the National Book Award for Poetry in 2011. She has written extensively for journals, magazines, and other publications. For twenty-one years she taught creative writing at the University of Kentucky and now holds the John H. Bennett, Jr., Chair in Creative Writing and Southern Letters at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. She travels extensively, never lecturing, always inviting and hoping for conversations that just might improve the human condition.