At least not the ones I met over spring break.

I had the pleasure of speaking at several events last week in South and North Carolina. My first stop was in Charleston, at the South Carolina Historical Society (SCHS). Prior to my address, Harold Closter of the Smithsonian announced a new partnership with the SCHS. No one booed me off stage for talking about Jackson, so I considered that a victory. Afterwards, SCHS held a reception and book signing at the Fireproof Building.DSCN7146

My family and I had a little bit of time to tour Charleston as well. We visited a number of local sites, including Fort Moultrie and John C. Calhoun’s grave at the St. Philip’s Church cemetery.DSCN7137

Virginia Ellison and John Turner of SCHS were gracious hosts for the Charleston event, and I appreciate their work to get me to Charleston.

Following Charleston, my next stop was at Historic Columbia in Columbia, S.C. Mitch Journey was my host there. The event was scheduled in the carriage house next to the beautiful Robert Mills House. Columbians were not as eager to learn about Jackson as Charlestonians, but I still had a good time, although it was far too short for me to fully experience the city’s historic sites.


The last leg of the book tour took place in the Waxhaws, where Jackson was born and raised. Kirk Johnston, Laura Ledford, and the Friends of Andrew Jackson State Park treated me to some good barbecue on the evening of my lecture at the park in Lancaster, S.C. I had my first protesters at this particular lecture. Two high school juniors wore shirts that said, “Remember the Trail of Tears.” They were very respectful, and we talked and even took photos afterwards.


On Saturday, I was honored to give a short address for the commemoration of Jackson’s birthday. I also had the opportunity to speak with a number of community members, who shared their perspective on, and even connections to, Jackson and his family. During the afternoon, Kip Carter, who helped spur my visit to the Waxhaws, took me on a far-flung tour of the area. Kip is a fountain of knowledge about the area, and his own life story was well worth the afternoon.

Cheathem1 (Lightbody--Museum Waxhaws)_16Mr14

On Sunday, I was privileged to speak at the Museum of the Waxhaws in Waxhaw, N.C. Arthur Lightbody was my host there, and he somehow convinced nearly forty people to come out in a cold rain to hear me talk.


I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to swing through the Carolinas and talk about their (!) native son. I came away with a better understanding of Jackson’s early years and even gained new friends along the way. A word to the wise, though–Carolinians have very strong opinions on barbecue sauce, so tread carefully!

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