You are here
“I don’t know what to say — unbelievable!” exclaimed Oprah Winfrey as she toured Charleston just two weeks after Hurricane Hugo devastated the South Carolina coast. On October 5, 1989, the popular daytime television star filmed her namesake show at the King Street Palace theater, bringing national attention to the suffering city. Clips of Winfrey visiting local residents at their destroyed homes played between live interviews with survivors and Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. (pictured here hugging the host). During the program, Winfrey publicized a toll-free number and encouraged viewers to call with donations to the American Red Cross, which would aid in relief work around the state. After only 24 hours, the organization announced that Winfrey’s fundraising efforts brought in more than $1 million in credit-card donations. Such national support was an enormous help in rebuilding Charleston and getting the Lowcountry and its residents back up on their feet.