With the PBS NewsHour, in Greenville S.C.

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.
Nighttime photo of the Liberty Bridge, over the Reedy River, in downtown Greenville, South Carolina. This was the focus of a long struggle to revive the city’s downtown. (Rosales and Partners / Wikimedia commons.)

Last night the PBS NewsHour ran a 10-minute segment hosted by Judy Woodruff and shot in Greenville, South Carolina, where Deb and I have visited frequently and reported extensively over the past few years. A magazine article I did comparing the politically very conservative Greenville with the politically very liberal Burlington, Vermont, is here. Deb’s original and later stories on Greenville’s very innovative public schools are here, here, and here. A full collection of our Greenville and related South Carolina reportage is here.

I thought this NewsHour report did a very effective job of conveying a range of things we’ve seen in Greenville and elsewhere, and that Deb and I have written about in the March issue. Including:

how this part of the former textile zone prepared for the disappearance of that industry, and survived it; how a state with a very troubled racial history develops cross-racial institutions and organizations; how a region considered to be backward in public schooling has developed some of the most creative public schools in the country; how and why governance can function well locally, when it is paralyzed at the national level; how the inequalities and strains of the Second Gilded Age persist; and so on, including some aviation footage.

See for yourself! (A PBS embed is after the jump.) If you haven’t been to Greenville, I think you’ll be particularly surprised by the scenes from the very large (and racially diverse) Redemption Church, and from the Elementary School for Engineering and the Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities, among others. We appreciate the effort the NewsHour team put into this production, including filming during atypically frigid conditions in Greenville last month.