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Julia Peterkin

ulia Mood was born in Laurens County on Halloween, 1880. Her mother died when she was two years old. Julia, as a teenager, attended Converse College, graduated at 14,  and received a Masters degree at an early age.

Julia moved to Fort Motte in Calhoun County to become a teacher. In 1903, she married William George “Willy” Peterkin, who was a rich cotton planter.

She wrote about everyday life and people, often the Gullah culture. She won the Pulitzer Prize for Literature for Scarlet Sister Mary.

One of the quotes from this book is “Everything has its way of speaking and telling things worth knowing. Even the little grass-blades have their way of saying things as plain as words when human lips let them fall…the choice bits of wisdom…were never written down in any books.”

This afternoon, at 4:00 on SCETV, there will be a special on the life of this South Carolina author, and I am going to watch it once again. It won’t be long before her alma mater and mine will be handing out the Julia Peterkin Award for Poetry in her honor.

Listen to her descriptive words again, “…the spring that bubbled…Weak. Small. Yet too strong for anybody to hold it back.  It was like life itself.”   (“Green Thursday” (Gullah stories), 1924)

If we continue to stretch and grow and bubble with life, though a tad small like a spring, we might change our course and eventually create a new way of moving.

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