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August 29, 2008
Standing on the Shoulders of Many
African Americans who showed the way
COLUMBIA, South Carolina (STPNS) -- At the 30th anniversary of Jubilee,
Festival of Heritage August 21, the Historic Columbia Foundation (HCF) honored the 30 most significant African Americans in Columbia and Richland County. Gloria James, HCF board member, chaired the event at the Columbia Convention Center. Mayor Bob Coble presented a City of Columbia proclamation recognizing the Festival of Heritage Week. Charles Ashe gave the invocation, and Tiaa Rutherford introduced members of the nominating committee.
Kwame Dawes, USC Poet in Residence, stole the show by reading poems he had written about each honoree, samples of which are included in italics.
? Beryle Dakers (director of cultural programming for SCETV) - Her calling is to shatter the silence with words.
? Celia Dial Saxon (1857- 1935, Booker T. Washington High School history teacher for 57 years) - A black woman redeeming the lost time with books?.
? Celia Mann (1799- 1867, freed slave who became nurse and business leader) - See those hands; those hands don't know idling?
? Charles F. Bolden Jr. (1946- ,Astronaut Hall of Fame) - You have always looked to the sky to find the genius that will teach us how to fly.
? C.A. Johnson (1882- 1970, first principal of B.T. Washington High School, first supervisor of Negro Schools in Columbia) - a man who
spun Latin declensions and hard lessons for the youth?
? E.W. Cromartie II (1945- , Columbia City Councilman) - lawyer-man, you learned to talk away the cages, learned to fight with language for doors to open.
? Edmund Perry Palmer Jr. (1935- , Columbia's first licensed African- American mortician) - Yes, you have buried our cherished ones, but in your art is the grace of a heart filled with the hope of our race.
? Edwin Robert Russell (1913- 1996, chemist with Manhattan Project which produced first atomic bomb) - A mind with the imagination to split atoms?
? Fannie Phelps Adams (1917- , Richland One teacher for 40 years) -
She won't let the children stay hidden in the cave?
? Frederick Benjamin Schumpert (1893- 1974, owner of successful Columbia lumber company) - the sap never stopped flowing, prosperity always on tap.
? George A. Elmore (1905- 1959, successfully sued the SC Democratic
Party for the right to vote) - he told the old racist Democrats, "No more!"
? Grace Jordan McFadden (1943- 2004, former director of USC African- American Studies Program) - Professor?who taught educators to fortify their hearts with the art of freedom.
? Harold R. Boulware Sr. (1913- 1983, chief counsel for SC NAACP) - ? you taught this people that its redemption lay in doing the right by its own words, and they heard, good barrister, we heard.
? Rev. Isaiah DeQuincey Newman (1911- 1985, first SC African- American senator since Reconstruction) - But with gentle dignity, you, Darlington County man, whispered a prayer, then declared it all spiritual this injustice against the Negro?
? Isaac Samuel Leevy (1876- 1968, tailor, merchant, funeral home operator, banker, politician) - you grew businesses, broadcasting good seeds all over Columbia.
? I. S. Leevy Johnson (1942- , lawyer, legislator, businessman, recipient of Order of the Palmetto) - You are the kind of big- man attorney with a taste for mercy, a man who turns words into power.
? Isaac W. Williams (1945- 2008, NAACP field director) - Seventeen times locked- in, seventeen times, you stepped out again, and you gathered around you the army of freedom warriors.
? Jacob Stroyer (1849- 1908, emancipated slave, author, minister) - a man bought and sold who will always remind those after me with eloquent words, that God was no friend of slavery.
? James E. Clyburn (1940- , congressman)- a man well-groomed to carry the cries of ordinary people with him to the highest levels of this nation.
? Rev. James Miles Hinton (1891- 1970, president of SC NAACP) - ah prophet, how you burned your trail of defiance across this state?
? Kay Patterson (1931- , educator, SCEA official, legislator) - Yes, firebrand, giving fire for hot fire where fire is needed?
? Larry F. Lebby (1950- , artist) - You have a heart that lives to restore what was damaged in the tearing apart of people by hate.
? Luther J. Battiste III (1949- , lawyer, Columbia City Councilman) you became a servant of others, the carrier of wisdom, a man of firsts, pathfinder, always game to a new challenge.
? Matilda Arabelle Evans (1872- 1935, first African- American woman in SC to practice medicine) - you trained your hands to be gentle,
to heal, to heal the sins of ignorance and neglect.
? Matthew J. Perry Jr. (1921- , lawyer, judge) - you studied hard and nursed that good dream deep in your heart.
? Modjeska Monteith Simkins (1899- 1992, civil rights activist, banker, teacher) - you took all the abuse and spit from cross- burners, the canker of this city of Klansmen, this terrible place
where black folks had to fight for their right, and how you stood your ground and fought the good fight.
? Nathaniel Jerome Frederick (1875- 1938, principal of Howard School, lawyer, newspaper publisher) - Stern jaw, straight back, proud black man?
? Richard Samuel Roberts (1880- 1936, photographer) - everyday black people captured on those glass plates in their moment of elegant dignity
? Sarah Mae Flemming (1933- 1993, successfully sued SCE&G to end segregated seating on buses) - She ignored the illogic of the color line on that bus, and took an empty seat up front
? William Manigault (1883- 1940, undertaker, casket maker, funeral home operator) - he promises of glory up above could sustain us in this life, before the ground swallowed us?you, Manigault, understood this truth
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