Many times, Charleston has been rated the most polite city in America. Having been raised a Charlestonian, I grew up in an atmosphere of manners based on respect for others. This tradition of gentility, often associated with the Southern “blue-bloods”, was actually taught at all levels of Charleston Society.
In “Picnic on the Sandbar”, we see an African-American couple of humble means who have rowed from Charleston’s peninsula to a sandbar just south-west of Fort Sumter. The gentleman in the painting, raised, as myself, to show chivalrous respect to women, bows and assists his lady from her “carriage” onto the sand. A blanket and picnic basket await the couple, preludes to a romantic lunch, with Charleston’s harbor at their feet.