Dubose Heyward once described himself as a “synthetic Charlestonian.” Having been part French Huguenot and part English Cavalier, he was a direct descendant of South Carolina’s Thomas Heyward Jr., a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Born in Charleston in 1885, he was a major part of the Southern Literary Renaissance and wrote extensive poetry and fiction.
Southern identity came naturally to Heyward, who described his early years by saying: “Only we who have lived in the South since the Civil War can realize the utter economic and artistic bankruptcy of the country during that period. Life was, with many of us, a heartbreaking struggle for bread, on the one hand, and the retention of the beautiful fragments of a shattered civilization on the other.” By the 1920s, the south was experiencing a revival in the arts that sprang from a passion for its traditions appreciation of the very soil.
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