Archive for Life

Going to FRANCE!

From June 18 to July 5, I will be taking a hiatus from this project and work to travel to France with my parents.  The trip is half vacation and half work, we are going to make a documentary.  Yeah, I know, the idea of it still seems bizarre to me.  But if you know my father, then it is not so far-fetched.  His ancestors came from France and Lebanon, hence my Arab eyebrows and French surname.   It is the French side of our family that is the topic of the documentary. 

My father wants to interview our French relatives on immigration with a “what if” clause.  What if my great x 5 grandfather had not come to the United States?  Are there any Roueches living with similar traits, mannerisms, or likes/dislikes to me or my father?  

All the details can be found at RouecheDocumentary.com 

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Checking things off

I finally stared my fear of math in the face and took the GRE.  I won’t reveal my score, but let’s just say that I did as well as I thought I would, no better and no worse. 

Next step on my to do list for graduate school is to write the writing sample.  I wrote about four pages last week and have a pretty thorough outline.  I do not expect to have much difficulty finishing the first draft by the end of this week. 

The one problem that I keep encountering is putting too much extra history in the paper that is supposed to be a historiographical paper.  I need to restrain myself from adding too much detail about the Haitian Revolution itself, which is not the focus of the paper. 

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Field Trip

 I took a field trip to the Magnolia Plantation and Gardens on Wednesday with my friend Hunter.   He is in town for spring break and we wanted to do something outside and a little educational.  Since I have never really visited any of the tourist attractions around the city, a plantation seemed like a lot of fun.  Hunter and I both grew up in Rock Hill, near where Historic Brattonsville  is located.  As children, we visited this historic site many times, and I think Hunter was even a “costume interpreter” once upon a time.  I remember women churning butter in historic dress, touring the blacksmith’s cabin, watching the sheep sheerer, and walking out onto the battle field of Huck’s Defeat.  Needless to say we were not prepared for the Amusement Park that is the Magnolia Plantation and Gardens. 

I enjoyed our visit though because it was so crazy.  There were all sorts of animals running around in a petting zoo, a crowded tour of the big house, a brief, but amusing boat tour, and then acres and acres of camellias.  The camellias, I’m guessing, are the reason tourist flock to this plantation.   The swamp walk is really cool, and we were some of the last tourists of the day and had the entire swamp to ourselves.  I think that the swamp walk is free to the public because the entrance is before the ticket booth, so I recommend taking an afternoon to walk it.  I should have done a little more research  though before we spent our $36 each.

It was a great experience for me.  I live in a city full of history, but
I really don’t take advantage of the attractions.  I am just now learning to appreciate the local history and how the city of Charleston promotes itself.  I guess I’m pretty lucky to have lived once in house that was over 150 years old, even though it lacked all modern amenities. 

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Hello world!

This is my official first time blogging or keeping a personal web space. Primarily I will be documenting my experiences as a Special Collections research intern at the Charleston County Public Library. Under the auspices of Dr. Nic Butler, I am researching the migrations of Saint Domingue refugees to Charleston, SC.

More precisely the migrations of the French colonial planters, Creoles, freed blacks, etc. living in Saint Domingue around the start of the slave rebellion in the 1780s to the 1800s when they were forced out of the newly independent black republic. They fled all over the Atlantic world, to U.S. port cities like Philadelphia, Baltimore, New Orleans, and Charleston, where they were welcomed at some places and feared at others. So what happened to those who fled to Charleston, SC? They either were absorbed into the pre-established French Huguenot society or moved to other places. We really do not know, so insert me and this project.

The first step is to design a bibliography of what is already known on the subject. There are innumerable sources on the Revolution itself and a few on its effects on the Atlantic world. The Charleston County Public Library has the potential sources to uncover the whereabouts of these missing refugees, but they are stored away in the Special Collections department until someone finds the time to catalog and database them. Again, insert me and my empty schedule. So this is the beginning of the project and hopefully we will uncover something new and change the face of Franco-Haitian-Charleston history as we know it.

You may wonder what has possessed me to undertake such a task, well here is your answer. I, Lee Frances Roueche, a recent graduate of the College of Charleston with a B.A. in History and minors in African studies and French, am bored. I took a year off to decide what I really want to do with the rest of my life. So I, as my friend Will called it, “played school” for another semester, and took two additional courses as an adult student in the fall. Alas, I still yearned for more direction in life; as opposed to falling headfirst into a graduate program for history, (I just could not bring myself to devote two more years to plain old History). So I harassed Dr. Butler for several months about an independent internship to keep me focused on a career path, and JACKPOT, he introduced me to Public History, amazingly practical and career-oriented Public History. Nine months later an idea is finally slowly forming, and I am filling out Graduate school applications and thinking to the future while staying busy at the library and at work.

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