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What Is the State Song of South Carolina?

By Jodee Redmond
Updated May 17, 2024
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The state song of South Carolina is called “Carolina.” The tune was officially adopted by the state in February of 1911. This state has the distinction of having two state songs. A second tune entitled “South Carolina in my Mind,” was adopted by the state in 1984.

The first song’s lyrics were composed by Henry Timrod. A South Carolina native, Timrod was born on 8 December 1829. He was a well-educated man who worked as an attorney and a teacher. The latter career choice gave Timrod time to write poetry. Timrod wrote about the Civil War often, and the ideas he expressed were influenced in part by the poet’s experiences as a member of a volunteer fighting unit.

Timrod died in October of 1867. He was predeceased by his only son, who died around the time the American Civil War ended. The poet, who would not see his poem set to music and adopted as the state song of South Carolina, published a single book of his poems in his lifetime. Along with "Carolina," he is known as the author of "Ethnogenesis" and the "Cotton Ball."

Anne Custis Burgess, who was born in 1974, set Timrod’s words to music. Burgess was educated at Converse College and went on to teach music. She died in 1910.

The second state song of South Carolina was written by Hank Martin and Buzz Arledge. This song has a much different feel than the state song of South Carolina adopted earlier in the 20th century. Rather than focusing on the state during wartime, "South Carolina on my Mind” is an ode to the state’s beauty and the attractions that it has to offer residents and tourists alike.

The pair of musicians had promoted the song to a number of radio stations and played it during numerous personal appearances before it as adopted as the second state song of South Carolina. Public events where the song was played include the state Governor’s Conference and the Pendleton Spring Jubilee. The interest they created in the song helped to bring it to the attention of government employees.

The state’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism helped to bring the song to the attention of the legislature. A bill to formally adopt it as a state song of South Carolina was introduced on 12 May 1983. The motion carried and the governor signed it into law immediately.

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Discussion Comments
By anon320714 — On Feb 19, 2013

Can anyone tell me when they wrote the song "Carolina" because nothing is helping me. I need to know what year, and if possible, what day.

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