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South Carolina - Mount Pleasant: Henrietta Snype Interviewee
Dent, Thomas C.
Tom Dent interviews Henrietta Snype in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina. Snype talks about the basketry tradition and its connection to Mount Pleasant and Boone Hall Plantation. Her great-grandmother lived on the plantation. The tradition likely originated in West Africa, where a similar tradition exists. The tradition is passed down through families. Different types of baskets were used on the plantation for various purposes, including cleaning rice and carrying a Bible. Mount Pleasant is the only area in South Carolina where baskets are made. Snype remembers her family selling baskets her whole life, as far back as her great-grandfather who used to take them to the market in Charleston. She completes an average ten-inch bread basket in about seven or eight hours, which cost about $45 or $50 presently. She talks about the community of Mount Pleasant. There is a large black community, but not much of a job market. There are not as many basket makers as there used to be and property is sold and basket makers are moved out. Some sell in Charleston. Very few travel and talk about the history of the basket as she does. She says there is not much black political activity in Mount Pleasant, although there is a great need for it. There are some black owned businesses. She describes the work she is doing to repair a basket that was sent to her in the mail. She uses palmetto. Bulrush has been used in basketry for the last ten or fifteen years. Sweet grass and long leaf pine needles are also used. She talks about where the materials grow. Main would usually collect raw material and women would make the baskets. Her husband's mother sold flowers, but were not basket makers until later. Basket making was traditionally done in the 6 Mile area of Mount Pleasant, and in a place called Hamlin. She does workshops in schools from January to April, in hopes of carrying on the tradition. She does not think the tradition will die out. They sell a lot of baskets during festivals like Spoleto and the Mojo Arts Festival. She talks about her desire to visit Africa. She plans to stay in Mount Pleasant. She recently participated at a basket festival in Branson, but was not impressed.
Mount Pleasant (S.C.)
Tulane University Digital Library
Box 149, Item 4, Side 1, Tom Dent collection, Amistad Research Center at Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana
Physical rights are retained by the Amistad Research Center. Copyright is retained in accordance with U.S. copyright laws.