Barry McNamara  |   Published March 03, 2015

Prestigious prize

History article by MC’s Witzig earns SCHS’s Clark-Weir Award
Fred Witzig, associate professor of history at Monmouth College, won the prestigious Clark-Weir Award, which is presented annually to the author of the best article published in the South Carolina Historical Society’s journal.
 
Titled “Beyond Expectation: How Charles Town’s ‘Pious and Well-Disposed Christians’ Changed Their Minds about Slave Education during the Great Awakening,” Witzig’s article appeared in the October 2013 issue of the journal.
 
Established in 1855, the South Carolina Historical Society is dedicated to expanding, preserving and making accessible its invaluable collection, as well as encouraging interest and pride in the rich history of South Carolina.
 
Witzig’s article tells the story of how colonial Charles Town (which would become known by its current name of Charleston more than four decades later) started a school for slaves in 1740, despite being so reliant on slave trade that South Carolina was the only colony in America “where the enslaved outnumbered their free neighbors.”
 
Wrote Witzig, “Why they changed their minds regarding slave education can be found in the stuff of religious and cultural history.” 
 
A member of Monmouth’s faculty since 2009, Witzig earned his Ph.D. and master’s degrees from Indiana University. He completed his undergraduate work at California State University in 1999.
 
“The way history allows me to think about the interaction between religious groups and their larger cultures is the most intriguing aspect of my job,” said Witzig, whose primary research interests are 18th-century American colonial history and American religious history. To that major focus, Witzig has recently added an interest in the history of the Midwest, which he says “has in the past several years become an important research and teaching interest.”
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