Catfish Row, Charleston

Catfish Row, Charleston

Originally called Cabbage Row and home to former enslaved people.

Edwin DuBose Heyward wrote his first book ‘Porgy’ based on his neighbors here.

Catfish Row, Charleston
Catfish Row, Charleston

George Gershwin teamed with Edwin DuBose Heyward to write the musical Porgy and Bess, again based on the real Porgy.  There was a real Porgy. His name was Samuel Smalls, a cripple whose main mode of transportation was a cart pulled by a goat.

Catfish Row, Charleston
Catfish Row, Charleston

Porgy, or Smalls, was not the model citizen portrayed in the book and musical. Heyward apparently learned of him through a News & Courier article recounting Smalls’ arrest after he’d tried to shoot a woman. The police only apprehended him after he and his goat led them on a chase down several of the many Charleston alleys. He’d been arrested a year earlier on a similar charge.

Another ‘Found on a walk’ article.

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