W.H. Rose of Charleston has won The Post and Courier's Golden Pen award for December for her letter to the editor "Ask black seniors about history."
Ms. Rose's letter began: "Old city records should show how Charleston's boundaries have changed over its history. But where there are holes in the recorded information, the city has living resources to tap. The black seniors of the area know their history, and their knowledge should be sought out."
Ms. Rose pointed out: "For example, at one time blacks lived below Broad Street. Yes, African Americans lived on Tradd Street near what is now the Coast Guard Station and on Broad Street around the Colonial Lake area. Calhoun Street, like Broad and Tradd streets, was once the main thoroughfare for people coming from the islands. It would have been normal then to have churches and cemeteries nearby.
"The Medical University was once the site of the Tabernacle Fourth Baptist Church, which moved to the corner of Charlotte and Elizabeth streets. The new College of Charleston Library, before it was the site of Bishop England High School, was a 'colored' cemetery."
And: "Gentrification and relocation of neighborhoods for 'new' developments are the primary reasons cemeteries and graveyards have disappeared. But even in cases when the cemetery was closed because there were no caretakers, people in the neighborhoods remained, and they have that knowledge."
The letter concluded:
"Local black seniors are never asked to contribute their knowledge of such things. Nobody wants to know. Remember, slaves did evolve to being business-minded entrepreneurs and freedmen with families in this diverse place called Charleston."
Golden Pen winners are invited to an annual luncheon with the editorial staff.