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September 2021

R E AL ESTA LI ST TE IN INSID GS E

5 WAYS TO

BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM ELDERBERRY, THE ROADSIDE PLANT THAT HEALS

At Home with

MICHELLE MAPP a Charleston City Paper publication

Rūta Smith


Volume 2, Number 2

September 8, 2021

Digs, our monthly home-focused publication, connects the people who make the Lowcountry special with content they’ve been missing. Digs gets up close and personal with stories on local personalities, home design and remodeling, plants and gardening, home repair and real estate. To learn more about advertising opportunities offered through Digs, contact our advertising team at (843) 577-5304 or send an email to: sales@charlestoncitypaper.com. Dig it!

PUBLISHER

EDITOR

STAFF

CONTRIBUTORS

Andy Brack

Sam Spence

Rūta Smith

Eric Johnson, Toni Reale

Published by City Paper Publishing, LLC Members: J. Edward Bell | Andrew C. Brack Views expressed in Charleston City Paper cover the spectrum and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher. Charleston City Paper takes no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts. © 2021. All content is copyrighted and the property of City Paper Publishing, LLC. Material may not be reproduced without permission. Proud member of the Association of Alternative Newsmedia and the South Carolina Press Association. ADVERTISING INQUIRIES: sales@charlestoncitypaper.com For staff email addresses, visit us online.

DESIGN Art Director: Scott Suchy Art team: Déla O’Callaghan, Christina Bailey

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AT HOME IN THE LOWCOUNTRY

Michelle Mapp believes in public service By Eric Johnson

Longtime community development advocate Michelle Mapp has a sixth sense that sees inequality and injustice in the Charleston area. But these skills did not fully develop until the North Charleston resident was an adult with her own children.

Her philosophy is simple, but bold: “Do justice. Love mercy. Walk humbly.” As a child, Mapp developed a love for reading. After years of training and schooling to develop a keen eye for language, she is now doing what she can to make a bigger difference in the Charleston community. “As a direct descendant of South Carolina’s Gullah Geechee people, I believe I owe a debt to my ancestors and an obligation to my descendants to leave a more equitable and just South Carolina,” Mapp said.

Digs 09.08.2021

A full plate

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Mapp has a lot on her plate from day to day. The recent graduate of the Charleston School of Law spent the summer studying to take the state bar examination. Now, she’s working on a new project to help people not lose their homes. Mapp understands the benefit of having a place to call your own — it’s something she personifies in her work, helping people remain in their homes. Her favorite place to sit back and relax is on the front screened porch of her home in North Charleston. It provides the perfect protection from summer bugs and heat. Mapp grew up in a racially diverse area in North Charleston along with other military families. In her eyes, it was a traditional upbringing. After graduating from Gordon H. Garrett High School, she got a not-so-subtle nudge from her father. “You’re not going to make any money being a journalist,” she recalled him saying. “You’re really good at science and math, you should really look into engineering and something different.” So she did, earning a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Clemson University. Throughout Mapp’s life, she moved around the world. After being born in Bad Kreuznach, Germany, she moved as an adult to cities like San Antonio, Texas, Washington, D.C., and Fort Bragg in eastern North Carolina. But she always returned to the Lowcountry, an area she says she didn’t understand the importance of until later.

Mapp enjoys relaxing on the porch of her North Charleston home.


A cultural trustee

THE LOWDOWN ON MICHELLE MAPP

“I don’t know that I had a real appreciation for the history in Charleston when I was in school,” said Mapp, who considers herself a trustee for Charleston’s culture. The community holds a special place in her heart. But at some point, something changed. It just wasn’t the same place she remembered. “People who may have lived in San Francisco or New York are now moving to Charleston,” she said, referring to the area as “Silicon Harbor” because of the technological innovations and investments going on in the city.

Age: 52. Birthplace: Bad Kreuznach, Germany. Education: B.S. in Engineering Analysis, Clemson University, M.S. in Engineering Management, George Washington University; MPA, College of Charleston; J.D., Charleston School of Law. Current profession: Equal Justice Works Fellow, ACLU of South Carolina.

A continuing focus on public service

Past professions of interest: CEO, high school math teacher, consultant, trainer, operations research analyst. Family: Husband, Marquette Mapp; two children. Pes: Asher, a Yorkie. Something people would be surprised to learn about you: I am an introvert. Favorite thing besides your family and profession: Reading. Photos by Rūta Smith

sparked her interest in community development when Mapp realized a successful venture or organization needs capital, policy and a solid foundation to serve residents in the community. Mapp wanted to get into law because she felt like creating policy and applying it is one of the best ways to serve and protect residents. “I wanted the world to be a better place for everyone’s children,” she said, adding that she feels her talents would be best working directly with the community.

Leaving no one behind

Now living and working in her hometown, Mapp said she is afraid African Americans in the area are being left behind. “It is such a rich history for African Americans in Charleston. And it not only just shaped this place but shaped the country in that so many enslaved Africans were brought through Charleston. And so it’s like how do you ensure that the people who made this place what it is can afford to live here.” “Charleston is very much a contradiction in that it is known worldwide for its preservation of place, but in that same vein, we have not done, I feel, a good job at preservation of people,” Mapp said. Mapp will start a fellowship with Equal Justice Works in September, a Washington, D.C.-based. program that primes young lawyers for public service careers. Mapp will spend the next two years working with the American Civil Liberties Union of South Carolina to help prevent eviction and displacement of low-income and African-American households. According to a study by Princeton University’s Eviction Lab in 2016, North Charleston had one of the highest eviction rates in the nation. Attempting to stem the crisis, the state has set up a housing court pilot program in Charleston, a model popular in larger cities like New York. Mapp’s long-term career plans remain to-be-determined, but if her work matches her passion, don’t be surprised if Mapp continues in public service with a run for political office. She hasn’t ruled it out, she said.

What you learned in law school that surprised you: Many laws were enacted for public policy reasons — particularly laws related to property, planning and zoning — and those public policies were intended to maintain a racial and class hierarchy. Favorite family tradition: Ice cream from Park Circle Creamery after church on Sundays. Books on the bedside table: Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall; Voices of Black South Carolina by Damon Fordham; and States’ Laws on Race and Color by Pauli Murray. Something that you have too much of at home: Storage containers. Favorite musicians: Anita Baker and Will Downing. Favorite food: Thai. Favorite dessert: Tiramisu. Favorite cocktail or beverage: Peach John Daly. Three people (alive or dead) you’d like to dine with: Ruth Johnson (maternal grandmother), James Baldwin and Toni Morrison. What meal would you want served to you for your last supper: Massaman curry. Five things you MUST always have in your refrigerator: Water, blueberries, eggs, half and half and cheese. Describe your best day in 50 words or less: The beach, an umbrella and a book. Your hero now: Nelson Mandela. Pet peeve: Poverty-shaming, particularly shaming of renters. Your advice for someone new to Charleston: Summerville is beachfront property.

charlestoncitypaper.com

As a new law graduate, Mapp plans to engage in public service, as suggested by the law school’s motto, “pro bono populi,” or “for the good of people.” But her new role isn’t her first with public service — the North Charleston native was an educator in the Charleston County School District in the early 2000s. After moving from Atlanta, Mapp joined South Carolina’s Program of Alternative Certification for Educators (PACE) and started to teach mathematics to high school students. PACE was established to enable well-qualified people without traditional teacher training to work in public schools based on their academic concentrations and coursework. During her three years in the classroom, Mapp saw firsthand the shortcomings of the public education system. “I very quickly realized that a lot of the challenges in the school. I was teaching in had less to do with what was happening in the school and a lot more to do with the neighborhood and community,” she said. While enrolled in a joint-degree program in 2004 between the University of South Carolina and College of Charleston to earn a master’s in public administration, she started interning with the statewide South Carolina Community Loan Fund, ultimately becoming its chief executive officer 13 years later. That experience

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A cup of reishi, lingzhi, or mushroom herbal tea. Photos courtesy Gettyimages.com

DIGGING YOUR HEALTH

5 ways to boost your immune system From Staff Reports With the cold and flu season ahead, you might want to consider ways to boost your body’s immune system to protect it against illness and infection. Even though your immune system usually does its job automatically before you even know there’s a problem, you can give it a boost with habits that promote wellness and support immunity. Here are five suggestions that can help:

Eat healthy fruits and vegetables

Digs 09.08.2021

Flavonoids found in some fruits and veggies are a vital part of maintaining health. Flavonoids are found in colorful fruits and vegetables like cranberries and elderberries. When it comes to power foods, elderberries’ exceptional flavanol levels make them an immune system powerhouse. Especially important during cold and flu season, elderberries can also be enjoyed in a cup of warm tea for instant comfort. Check out local markets and vendors for elderberry syrup and other products.

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sage can also be used to help stimulate the immune system and promote well-being.

Keep a regular sleep schedule

Sleep gives you an opportunity to recharge. This is when cellular regeneration and other healing is most efficient. Keeping a regular routine helps signal to your system that it’s time to rest so you can fall asleep easier and reap the whole-body benefits of a healthy sleep cycle. Some people take melatonin to promote better sleep. (Always consult with your doctor before adding a sleep aid.)

Reduce stress with outdoor activity

Keeping physically fit provides numerous health benefits. For example, reducing stress can result from something as easy as taking a walk outside. The sun’s ultraviolet rays also help your body produce vitamin D, which is important for your bones, blood cells and immune system, as well as helping to absorb and use certain nutrients. Yoga and mas-

Regular physical activity, like practicing yoga or walking, can help reduce stress levels.

Wash hands frequently

Because germs are rampant and easily carried from school to home, you can give your immune system a hand, literally, by frequently scrubbing away germs before they have the chance to attack. Last year as people washed hands more frequently than ever due to COVID-19 concerns, the rate of flu also fell — proof that something as easy as washing your hands several times a day can provide big benefits.

Rely on natural remedies

Modern, stressful lifestyles and exposure to environmental pollutants can put immune systems under pressure. However, some of your existing soothing rituals can actually support better health, too. One example is relaxing with a hot cup of tea made with blends of natural ingredients, such as mushrooms. While mushrooms may not be an obvious ingredient, they have been incorporated into healing practices for thousands of years for their immuneboosting, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-rich properties. There are several powerful medicinal mushrooms but one stand-out is the reishi mushroom, known as the “mushroom of immortality” and “divine plant of longevity.” This anti-inflammatory powerhouse is known to promote healthy cell growth and healthy blood pressure, along with improving immune function. For more ideas about boosting your immunity naturally, visit buddhateas.com. Family Features contributed to this story.


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DIGGING LOCAL

Elderberry, the roadside plant that heals By Toni Reale, special to Digs Taking root along the roadside and growing out of ditches all around the Lowcountry, the American elderberry (sambucus nigra or sambucus canadensis), stands tall with its showy white lace doily-looking flowers in late spring and early summer, followed by its deep purple berry-looking fruit in late summer and early fall. This native plant may look like a nuisance weed to the passersby, but is actually an important healing plant.

Reale

Early human use

Throughout recorded human history, elderberry has served many purposes. The oldest evidence of the importance of this plant to humans is published in a National Academy of Sciences study that found elderberry remnants preserved in dental plaque dating from the Neolithic period (10,000 B.C.) through the Middle Ages. While it’s not clear what they used elderberry for from this study, it is evident that elderberry was an important part of their diet. Written evidence of elderberry comes from the “father of medicine,” Hippocrates, in 400 B.C. He wrote the plant was his “medicine chest,” useful for many ailments. More recent evidence shows Native Americans used the plant for nutrition, as well as pipes, fire starters, basket and animal-hide dyes and even blow guns.

American elderberries bloom in the late spring and produce berries at this time of year.

Digs 09.08.2021

Medical uses

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Although elderberry is considered an herbal supplement by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and no official FDA approval has been given to any application of the plant, many have found benefits to using elderberry. The plant’s drupes, or berry-like fruit, are most commonly dried and used to make a syrup. Honey, ginger and cinnamon are often added in the syrupmaking process to enhance the taste of the berries and also to naturally preserve the extract. Elderberry fruits are high in vitamins and minerals, such as potassium, vitamin C, vitamin A, calcium and antioxidants including anthocyanins and flavonoids. It’s an almost-magical plant that is touted to have anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory and other immunity-boosting benefits. Most people use an extract made from elderberry for things like building immunity in cold and flu season, and alleviating symptoms such as coughs and other respiratory ailments. Amanda McNulty with S.C. Public Radio’s “Making it Grow” reported that rubbing a cut elderberry stem on a wart removes it.

Identification of the plant

When foraging for this plant, it is important to properly identify before harvesting. The plants like to grow in open, sunny

Photos by Agnieszka Kwiecień; provided

locations. When the plant is in its flowering stage, its blooms (which are composed of many tiny flowers) are large, flat and white. The flower resembles a Queen Anne’s lace, but the elderberry flower is denser. Botanists call the flower of this plant a “perfect” flower because both male and female parts are present. If you look closely you’ll see that each tiny flower that is part of the larger bloom has five sepals, five petals, five stamen and one pistil. Each tiny flower that makes up the larger bloom will turn into a cluster of juicy drupes that when ripe can be used for the healing syrup, pies, jellies or even wine.

Naturals Elderberry, The Power of Elderberries, and Black Elder. If you’d like to learn how to craft your own syrup, check out the local Yahola Herbal School.

Local brands

Toni Reale is the owner of Roadside Blooms, a unique flower and plant shop in Park Circle in North Charleston. It specializes in weddings, events and everyday deliveries using nearly 100 percent American and locally grown blooms. Online at www.roadsideblooms.com. 4610 Spruill Ave., Suite 102, North Charleston.

If you are not comfortable foraging for your own elderberries and making a syrup, there are many alternatives. The Lowcountry is home to quite a few local, delicious brands of elderberry syrup including RD

A Harry Potter nod to the elderberry The elder wand (made of elderberry wood) in the Harry Potter series, was the most powerful wand that had ever existed. Only the most powerful wizards who had conquered death were worthy of using the wand. Interestingly, this most magical wand was very plain looking, like the plant itself — unassuming yet magical.


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Charleston City Paper: Digs - September 2021  

Founded in 1997, the locally owned and operated Charleston City Paper is Charleston’s only weekly alternative newspaper and the second-large...

Charleston City Paper: Digs - September 2021  

Founded in 1997, the locally owned and operated Charleston City Paper is Charleston’s only weekly alternative newspaper and the second-large...

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