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The relatively small state of SOUTH CAROLINA remains, with
Mississippi, one of the poorest and most rural pockets of the
US, although the prime real estate along its coast has lately
been developed into exclusive golf courses and tennis clubs.
Politics in the first state to secede from the Union in 1860
have traditionally been conservative. Reconstruction was mired
in terrible Klan violence, while demagogues openly espoused
lynching and enforced "Jim Crow" laws with frightening
zeal. The state contains two of the country's most right-wing
minor universities - football-fixated Clemson, and Christian
Bob Jones University in Greenville, a training ground for the
South Carolina's fascinating subtropical coastline of sea islands
, great beaches, marshes and lush palmetto groves preserves
traces of a virtually independent black culture (featuring the
unique patois gullah ), from the days when slaves escaped the
mainland plantations. Beyond the grand old peninsular port of
Charleston , arguably the most elegant city in the US with its
rainbow-colored old buildings and magnificent, tree-lined avenues,
restored plantations stretch as far north as Georgetown , en
route toward the poseur's paradise of Myrtle Beach . Inland,
the rolling Piedmont and flat coastal plain hold little to see.
Charleston has South Carolina's biggest airport , with flights
to and from major towns on the east coast. Three Amtrak routes
cut through the state, stopping at Greenville and Clemson in
the west, Columbia and other towns in the center and Charleston
on the coast. Buses run along I-85 between Charlotte, North
Carolina, and Atlanta, and a less regular service operates along
the coast, stopping at Myrtle Beach and Charleston.
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