Monday, June 13, 2016

Happy Birthday Clyde Wilson


"By Yankee I do not mean everybody from north of the Potomac and Ohio...... I am using the term historically to designate that peculiar ethnic group descended from New Englanders, who can be easily recognized by their arrogance, hypocrisy, greed, lack of congeniality, and penchant for ordering other people around."

--Dr.Clyde Wilson 


"Clyde did not ask us about Robert E. Lee or Jefferson Davis. Certainly, they are important, but he focused on the founding period, and I began to understand then that Southern history encompassed more than the four year fight for independence. My eyes had been opened. The Southern founding, the Jeffersonians, the postbellum South all became more interesting. I could see the South as a culturally distinct region with a four-hundred year history. It was America. That was Clyde’s most important lesson."

Most people don’t know, but today (June 11) is Clyde Wilson’s birthday.

I had the honor of being Clyde’s last doctoral student. I first met Clyde in the Spring of 1997 as a senior in college trying to decide where to attend graduate school. My top choices were South Carolina and Alabama, Clyde Wilson or Forrest McDonald. My advisor as an undergraduate, Bart Talbert, attended Alabama and had given me a sound education on all things McDonald. He was one of McDonald’s last students.

I left Salisbury, Maryland on my Spring Break determined to find a home for the next several years. I had spoken to Clyde before I left–actually his answering machine–and let him know when I would be arriving in Columbia. South Carolina was my second choice, but I knew of Clyde and his fantastic work on the South and on the Papers of John C. Calhoun. I would be happy there, too, if fate saw fit to send me there.

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