Patriots screen Francis Marion film


Coastal Carolina Historian Rod Gragg spoke during a screening of the “Swamp Fox: Francis Marion and the American Revolution.”

Lindsay Smith, Staff Writer

Francis Marion University (FMU) celebrated the legacy of its namesake, Revolutionary War General Francis Marion, during a screening of the documentary Swamp Fox: Francis Marion and the American Revolution on Monday, Feb. 25.

Coastal Carolina University historian Rod Gragg, who produced the film, spoke about Marion before the screening and commended FMU for its continued celebration of General Marion’s legacy.

“Francis Marion is a hero,” Gragg said. “He is deserving of having a great university named after him.”

The Rogers Library staff has hosted memorial events to increase understanding and knowledge of Marion for several years. This year’s event was sponsored by the Department of History and Phi Alpha Theta, a national history honors society.

Mihai Birladeanu, junior and president of Phi Alpha Theta, said he believes all FMU students should want to learn more about the university’s patron.

“Students should at least have an understanding of the war hero that is Francis Marion and his role in the American Revolution,” Birladeanu said. “Knowledge of our past plays an important role in our patriot pride.”

The ceremony began with a reception at 2:30 p.m. It was followed by a showing of the documentary at 3 p.m. Immediately after the screening, attendees met Gragg for a question-and-answer session and were served sweet potato muffins. Muffins were served because sweet potatoes were regularly eaten by Marion and his troops.

The film focused on many lesser known facts about both Marion’s life and experiences. Marion was portrayed as a common, quiet man and an unlikely hero. The documentary also included several examples of Marion’s ability to survive despite unfavorable circumstances.

Audience members discussed what they learned and found most interesting about the film.  Jadia Smith, a junior majoring in mass communication-broadcast, said she was interested in facts about  Marion’s personal life.

“Most people assume that Francis Marion was from the Pee Dee region,” Smith said. “I didn’t realize that he had actually lived in several parts of the state.”

The documentary followed the life of Marion from his birth in 1732 near Monck’s Corner through his experiences as a sailor. It also highlighted his service during the French and Indian War, where he learned the ambush techniques that later made him famous.

The film also revealed some unknown details of the Revolutionary War. Following the screening, Smith said she was surprised by how much she learned from the documentary.

“I just didn’t realize how many battles were fought in our own backyards,” Smith said. “It’s crazy to me that these specifics aren’t taught, especially to South Carolina students.”

For Morgan Mason, sophomore psychology major, the documentary emphasized the historical significance of Marion and helped encourage school spirit.  Mason said she was proud to attend a school named after Marion, who she feels is a great hero.

“The legacy of General Marion is one the university should strive to uphold,” Mason said. “Learning more about him has definitely boosted my pride for my university.”