A Message from SC Black Media Group
The SC Black Media Group family would like to extend to your family a sincere wish that you stay safe and mindful during this unprecedented time in history. Black communities are the hardest hit by this virus and it is important that we follow the CDC guidelines in our practices and proceed with hope, patience and understanding in our hearts. While we may not be able to do all of the things we would like at this moment in time, we can find new ways to express ourselves and lend a hand to those in need.
Mayor Steve Benjamin:
May 1, 2020
“We would encourage people to continue to follow solid, data driven public health advice. When we see a true deceleration in the number of new cases over 14 days, it will then be clear that we’ve got our arms around this phase of the virus and should only then ease restrictions. Until then a serious and aggressive effort around testing and contact tracing should consume our efforts.”
At the city of Columbia, we will continue working on our efforts that have put millions of dollars back into our small businesses supported our first responders and addressed community needs like senior isolation and food insecurity.”
COVID-19 is Disproportionately Impacting the Black Community; What Are Our S.C. Officials Going to Do About it?
There is a clear racial disparity in how the coronavirus is impacting South Carolina communities.
Throughout the United States and right here in Palmetto State, African-Americans are being disproportionately harmed by COVID-19. While African-Americans make up 27 percent of the state’s population, 57 percent of reported deaths and 36 percent of confirmed cases have been African-American, according to our state's health department.
Black Americans are more likely to have pre-existing conditions, many of which place them at higher risks to suffer more serious impacts from the coronavirus. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma and other respiratory issues occur at higher rates in Black communities than Caucasian ones. The prevalence of asthma and lung diseases is especially a cause for concern, as COVID-19 inflicts serious harm on respiratory systems.
Making this even worse, African-Americans in South Carolina do not have nearly enough access to affordable healthcare, when and where they need it. Four full-service rural hospitals have closed in the past eight years and almost 13 percent of non-elderly African-Americans are uninsured.
It is a privilege to be able to socially distance during this pandemic, one that many in the Black community cannot afford. African-Americans are overrepresented in the population of hardworking folks who can’t just fire up a laptop to work from home. I’m talking about the essential bus drivers, mail carriers, and grocery store clerks that are keeping South Carolina functional at a time like this. In fact, less than one in five Black workers in this country are able to telework from home.
This makes it difficult to participate in social distancing and increases the chances Black Americans come into contact with people infected by the virus. Black folks also tend to hold jobs that don’t offer benefits like paid sick leave or health insurance. That means even if our brothers and sisters get sick or become exposed to the coronavirus, they cannot take time off to recover or receive proper treatment.
Instead of fighting the pandemic and disparities that exist in our healthcare system, our leaders have continued to play political games with the lives of South Carolinians. Elected officials like Lindsey Graham have missed important pandemic-related hearings to appear on cable news and fundraise for his re-election. He has consistently voted against outbreak preparedness funds, and he opposes initiatives that protect all Americans from health threats.
The federal government years ago established what’s called the “Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP),” the only federal funding source that directly finances healthcare system preparedness on a regional basis. It supports regional collaboration between hospitals, so healthcare professionals have adequate resources and supplies like masks and other personal protective equipment that are needed during “medical surge events,” like this pandemic. Time and time again, when given the opportunity to protect it, Lindsey has turned his back on the HPP. He has voted at least four times to cut funding from the program, including a vote in 2014 to slash $122 million from the HPP. With votes like that, the program’s funding has dried up in
recent years, leaving hospitals more exposed to supply shortages like the ones we are seeing every day on the news today.
In 2017, Senator Graham introduced his dangerous Graham-Cassidy legislation to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The bill would have eliminated entirely the funding for CDC’s Prevention and Public Health Fund, which supports early detection and response to health threats. Just last year, Graham promised that he would work to repeal the ACA entirely if he had enough votes.
As November approaches, we need to elect leaders who will fight for us, especially in these trying times. Our current leadership is failing to take meaningful action against the coronavirus, let alone address the disparities that were already plaguing our healthcare system.
Jaime Harrison, a native of Orangeburg, is a Democratic candidate for the United States Senate.
Richland One expands Buses Wi-Fi Hotspots
Buses are stationed at 12 sites across the district where students and parents can access free Wi-Fi from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Monday through Friday. The three new locations are Forest Heights Elementary School, Colony Apartments and Latimer Manor Apartments.
The buses are parked in front of the buildings or in other prominent areas at the designated sites. Students and parents need to sit within 200-250 feet of the buses to access the free Wi-Fi. They cannot board the buses.
Bus Wi-Fi Access Sites
§ Annie Burnside Elementary School
7300 Patterson Road
Columbia, SC 29209
§ Burton-Pack Elementary School
111 Garden Drive
Columbia, SC 29204
§ Forest Heights Elementary School
2500 Blue Ridge Terrace
Columbia, SC 29203
§ Gadsden Elementary School
1660 S. Goodwin Circle
Gadsden, SC 29052
§ W.S. Sandel Elementary School
2700 Seminole Road
Columbia, SC 29210
§ Edward E. Taylor Elementary School
200 McRae Street
Columbia, SC 29203
§ Watkins-Nance Elementary School
2525 Barhamville Road
Columbia, SC 29204
§ Webber Elementary School
140 Webber School Road
Eastover, SC 29044
§ Columbia High School
1701 Westchester Drive
Columbia, SC 29210
§ Colony Apartments (at the bus stop)
3545 West Beltline Boulevard
Columbia, SC 29203
§ Latimer Manor Apartments (in front of the office)
100 Lorick Circle
Columbia, SC 29203
§ Lewis Scott Court Apartments
238 Lewis Scott Court
Eastover, SC 29044
Prisma Health launches community testing for COVID
Prisma Health will launch community screening for COVID-19 at seven locations across South Carolina beginning Saturday, with more sites expected to be announced in the coming weeks. The community testing, done in partnership with the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), will reach populations who may not otherwise have access to traditional testing or online virtual visits.
The initial screenings will be located in neighborhoods in Greenville, Richland and Sumter counties. Additional communities will be identified in Prisma Health’s other service counties over the next few weeks.
“For those individuals who cannot come to us, we are taking the test sites to them,” said Dr. Scott Sasser, incident commander over Prisma Health’s COVID-19 response and a national leader in emergency medicine and community response. “We know that virtual visits and the drive-through testing sites aren’t the right access for everyone,” said Sasser.
Testing is a priority for Prisma Health, especially providing access to communities that need it the most.
Prisma Health providers, nurses, community paramedics and staff will provide this screening, testing, and education outreach as part of Prisma Health’s Accountable Communities initiative.
At the testing sites:
· Individuals at these locations will be screened and those with COVID-19 symptoms will be tested without having a doctor’s order.
· Testing will be provided regardless of an individual’s ability to pay.
· No appointment is needed. Community members taking part will be given masks upon arrival and will be asked to maintain social distancing.
· Test results are expected within four days.
· Individuals will receive follow-up communication about the test results – whether positive or negative – from providers with Prisma Health.
· Those attending the testing events also will receive information about isolating at home if sick, tips on caring for themselves and when to seek additional care should their symptoms worsen.
· All events will run from 10 a.m.–3 p.m. regardless of locations or dates.
“Our team is focused on doing what we do best – finding ways to help those who depend on us,” said Sasser. “We understand that access to testing is limited. In this pandemic, testing availability for everyone has been a challenge. It’s important to test for this virus so that individuals and families know as quickly as possible when to isolate at home.”
Upstate sites include the following:
· Saturday, May 2 – Augusta Heights Baptist (3018 Augusta St., Greenville, SC 29605)
· Wednesday, May 6 – Augusta Heights Baptist (3018 Augusta St., Greenville, SC 29605)
· Saturday, May 9 – La Unica SuperCenter (6119 White Horse Rd #3, Greenville, SC 29611)
Midlands sites include the following:
· Saturday, May 2 – Union Baptist Church of Rembert (5840 Spring Hill Rd, Rembert, SC 29128)
· Wednesday, May 6 – Hopkins Park Adult Activity Center (144 Hopkins Park Road, Hopkins, SC 29061)
· Friday, May 8 – Richland County Rec Community Center (2750 McCords Ferry Rd, Eastover, SC 29044)
· Saturday, May 9 – Garners Ferry Adult Activity Center (8620 Garners Ferry Road, Hopkins, SC 29061)
The initial test kits were provided to Prisma Health by DHEC at no charge.
Prisma Health has already opened five drive-through testing facilities across the state and testing sites for first responders, as well as launched a free Virtual Visit option for patients with suspected COVID-19, opened a community COVID-19 hotline and this week debuted the state’s first free interactive symptom tracker for the virus. Details of Prisma Health’s COVID-19 community outreach is available at https://www.prismahealth.org/coronavirus/ The hotline number is 1-833-2PRISMA.
Lower Richland Students Win Big in Virtual State Health Sciences Competition
Lower Richland High School students won big at the Virtual South Carolina Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) Competition, which tested students online on their knowledge of medical terminology, home health sciences, pharmacy science, epidemiology and other areas.
Students in Lower Richland’s HOSA chapter won a total of 21 awards and honors, including a first-place award, two second-place awards and two bronze awards. Eight students placed in the “Top 5” category and six students placed in the state’s Healthcare Issues Exam’s “Top 15%.” In addition to having the most students registered for the virtual competition, Lower Richland took home second-place honors in the HOSA Bowl. Lower Richland student Chloe-Ann Cook also received a bronze medal (Barbara H. James Service Award) for community service hours. The chapter raised money for the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation (bronze medal). The online competition was held April 19-24. Students were notified of their awards on May 1.
HOSA is an international career and technical student organization that promotes career opportunities in the healthcare industry. Learn more about the South Carolina Virtual HOSA competition at http://www.schosa.org/
One Columbia announces Artist Emergency Fund
One Columbia for Arts and Culture is privileged to announce an Artist Emergency Fund of $100,000 to provide emergency relief for Columbia-area artists. The fund was developed out of a partnership among the Knight Foundation, Central Carolina Community Foundation and One Columbia to temper the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting emergency shutdowns. This fund will provide 40 emergency grants of $2,500 each to support professional artists in the Columbia area.
By offering these funds, the partners are providing much-needed assistance for artists facing hardships caused by the loss of events, performances, and sales. The funds provided by this program can be used to assist artists with any relevant professional needs including artist supplies and materials, rent or mortgage, health insurance, or another professional purpose.
One Columbia will begin accepting applications for a two-week period starting on May 8. The deadline for applications is midnight on Friday, May 22. Eligibility information and applications requirements are available at https://www.onecolumbiasc.com/artist-emergency-fund/.
Cayce Riverwalk and Timmerman Trail: The Cayce Riverwalk and Timmerman Trail are now open. Enjoy more than 20 miles of riverwalk and trails! Shelters remain closed.
Irmo Chapin Recreation Parks: Beginning Friday, May 1 at 8:00 a.m., the Irmo Chapin Recreation Commission (ICRC) plans to reopen outdoor trails and greenspace at Crooked Creek Park, Melvin Park, Mungo Park, Saluda Shoals Park, and Seven Oaks Park, as well as the boat ramps at Saluda Shoals Park.
South Carolina State Parks: Will reopen on Friday May 1, including Sesquicentennial and Dreher Island. Certain restrictions will apply, including group facilities like picnic shelters and community buildings will remain closed for now, and other places in the park like visitors centers, park offices will remain closed or operate on a limited scale. Each state park plans to lower its carrying capacity, allowing a limited number of visitors at once. Levels vary by park. When a park reaches its threshold, the gates will be closed until the number of visitors decreases. More here.
West Columbia Riverwalk Park and Amphitheater: Will open to the public on Friday, May 1, 2020, at 8:00am. The bathroom facilities will remain closed. West Columbia will continuously monitor visitor usage and adjust as needed to ensure compliance with the guidance provided by SCDHEC and the CDC. Thank you for your understanding and patience during these unprecedented times. Please stay tuned to our Facebook Page for updates and information.
Dig into your Family Tree with Richland Library
While many of us continue to stay at home and practice social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic, we can connect to each other through our shared history with help from Richland Library. Get extended access to Ancestry Library Edition from home through June 30, 2020 with a library card. It's the first time that users don't have to physically be in our buildings to utilize this resource for free. Ancestry Library Edition is the largest genealogical database in the world. Historical documents, such as census records, military records, immigration records, court records, death notices and directories, are available for review with the click of a button.
Before getting started, bring family members into the conversation. Turn it into a fun activity by having kids interview their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Some important items to collect: full names; maiden names; birth dates and birth places. Then use those details and Ancestry Library Edition to plant and grow a family tree.
Marriage License, Payment now available online
Couples in Richland County can apply and pay for marriage licenses online, after a measure responding to health and safety concerns with COVID-19 was put in place Wednesday.
Following is a statement from County Probate Judge Amy McCulloch:
Couples “can apply online, enter and upload the required information, pay online, and receive your license in the mail. This is a game changer and the result of the talented people in Richland County’s IT department.
“Hopefully, in this time of ‘stay safe, stay home,’ this can help couples take that next step.”
Residents can apply at richlandcountysc.gov/probate.
For more information, call 803-576-1961.
City of Columbia Begins Peace of Mind Safe Haven Initiative
Recognizing that our Midlands area health professionals and first responders serve at the forefront in the battle to contain and halt the COVID-19 virus, and in their challenging duties may be exposed to the virus, I have worked with Columbia City Council and the Columbia Police Foundation to give these brave men and women safe havens to go to at the end of their shifts by launching the new Peace of Mind program.
Beginning on Friday, May 8, local hotels have designated safe and comfortable rooms that allow our city safety officers and local health workers, who may be at risk of exposure to the Coronavirus, temporary resting places away from their homes and at no cost to them, thereby keeping their families safe and giving them peace of mind.
“Our first responders, medical professionals, and frontline employees are heroes every day,” said Sam Johnson, who serves as Peace of Mind program chair, and is an advisor with Nexsen Pruet and NP Strategy. “This pandemic has required them to answer an even higher call. And, the best way we can say thank you is by supporting them.”
Columbia Police Chief W.H. "Skip" Hollbrook emphasizes the challenges these responders and caregivers face in their duties: "The work of a law enforcement officer can be emotionally and physically challenging on an average day. The recent pandemic adds stress components to our first responders. We are grateful for the opportunity for Columbia Police officers to have a respite especially when they want to quarantine to keep their families safe."
The City of Columbia’s City Council has been active in supporting the Peace of Mind program. Current City Council members are:
Edward H. McDowell, Jr – Mayor Pro Tem
Tameika Isaac Devine
Howard E. Duvall. Jr
Daniel J. Rickenmann
Funds for the Peace of Mind program have been raised through private donations to pay for the reduced room costs, and will be facilitated through the Columbia Police Foundation, the fiscal agent for the program. Donations are still being accepted for this program. To contribute, please visit www.ColumbiaPDFoundation.org and DONATE HERE or mail a check to:
Columbia Police Foundation
Ronda Wilson-Tyler C/O Tim Goldman
1 Justice Square - Columbia, SC 29201
Congressman Clyburn announces almost 1M in Historic Preservation Grants
Last week, U.S. House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn announced that South Carolina has received $996,569 in Historic Preservation Funds from the National Park Service (NPS) to restore and preserve historic sites and structures on the campuses of three Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). These funds will support the preservation of Pratt Hall at Benedict College, the preservation and restoration of Trustee Hall at Claflin University, and the pre-preservation study of Wilkinson Hall at South Carolina State University.
“These federal investments in our HBCU campuses play an important role in the preservation and restoration of critical pieces of American history. Many of these buildings were built more than a century ago by student labor and designed by unsung Black architects,” said Congressman Clyburn. “When the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Historic Preservation reauthorization was adopted as part of the John D. Dingell Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act last year, it ensured that the history of many of our nation’s most treasured historical sites and institutions will not be forgotten. This support will have transformational impacts on these campuses and the surrounding communities.”
In 1998, at the request of the Congressional Black Caucus, the Government Accountability Office conducted a survey of preservation needs at HBCUs that found 712 structures on 103 HBCU campuses in need of historic preservation. The projected cost to preserve and restore those buildings was $755 million. To date, the National Park Service has awarded more than $60 million in grants to over 80 of the remaining active HBCUs. Projects funded by these grants support the physical preservation of National Register listed sites on HBCU campuses to include historic districts, buildings, sites, structures, and objects. Eligible costs include pre-preservation studies, architectural plans and specifications, historic structure reports, and the repair and rehabilitation of historic properties according to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Archeology and Historic Preservation.
The program, which last year was reauthorized at $10 million annually for seven years, has had a visible impact in South Carolina. Buildings at HBCUs in South Carolina have been restored, including Chappelle Auditorium and Arnett Hall at Allen University, Ministers and Tingley Halls at Claflin University, and Massachusetts Hall at Voorhees College.
Congress appropriates funding for the program through the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF).
Pratt Hall Preservation Project
The SCSU Forensic Analysis/Assessment of Wilkinson Hall Project
South Carolina State University
Trustee Hall Preservation and Restoration Initiative
Meet One of the Oldest Black Farmers in the American South
by DeAnna Taylor, @brokeandabroadlife
Tucked away on a single-lane stretch of Filbert Highway in Filbert, South Carolina, lies one of the oldest Black-owned farms in the South. Almost every Friday and Saturday from Memorial Day to Labor Day, you’ll find Ms. Dori Sanders sitting out under the aging roadside peach stand at Sanders Farm.
When you see Sanders, who is 85, you’ll be instantly amazed to know that she is still physically able to farm land and actively engage in the selling of her produce. While she’s very lively, she’s a petite woman, mostly due to aging. She spends most of the day sitting in a chair under the shaded part of her stand.
The South Carolina farmer still cranks up her tractors each season to ride over the more than 250 acres of land she owns, along with her brother Orestus.
The farm has been in the family for more than a century. Dori’s father, Marion Sanders, set out to own his own land in 1915.
For years, Marion’s family sharecropped for a South Carolina landowner. According to an adaption of an address given by Dori Sanders at the 2004 Southern Foodways Alliance annual symposium, sharecropping was a harsh way of life for her father. Her father’s father, a freed slave, didn’t own anything. Instead they were left to the mercy of landowners.
This affected Dori’s father deeply. The fact that Blacks could not own land in the south, post slavery, was something that he longed would change. In 1870, the South Carolina Land Commission offered land to freed Blacks in a small community about 100 miles Southeast from York County, the county in which Marion and his parents lived. These freed Blacks were able to purchase land for as little as $10 per acre, with the promise to work and pay off the rest.
This opportunity didn’t make its way to York County until over 40 years later. Marion was determined to purchase land and a home for his parents so that they could plant and grow their own crops.
With the help of a loan from White landowners in the area, according to a 1921 deed recorded by York County, Marion Sanders was able to purchase his first 81 acres of land for only $2,835. Today, 1 acre of farmland in York County values at roughly $2,500.
Marion worked over the next year by planting and growing peaches to pay off the loan. On December 24, 1916, the Sanders family officially moved onto the land that is still theirs today.
By the year 1920, there were more than 949,000 Black-owned farms across America. Today, only 1.3% of farms that are still in existence are Black-owned.
Dori, the eighth of 10 children, was one of the few who made the decision to remain on the farm to maintain the land. As a young girl, she attended the local schools as well as the community college, but always remained in Filbert.
“The others just had enough sense to leave,” Dori Sanders explains. “My two brothers and I remained because I guess we just weren’t as smart as the others in the beginning.”
It hasn’t been easy being a Black farm family in South Carolina. Sanders recounts years of fear at the hands of Klu Klux Klan groups in the area. White landowners would pick arguments with local Black farm families over something as small as seeing them look at the landowners’ wives. Black farmers were run out of town and into nearby North Carolina leaving behind all that they had worked so hard for. While this wasn’t the case for all White landowners in the area, there were too many stories to scare Black locals.
For those White landowners who were not racist, they forged an interconnected bond with Black landowners.“If they need help on their farm, they ask us and we help them. If we need help on our farm, they come over to help us,” Sanders says.
While Sanders is grateful for the help of those in her community, there were still outside battles that this Black farm family, and others like them, had to face.
In that same 2004 address to the Southern Foodways Alliance, Dori recalls that, as the 21st century turned, Black farmers began to face even more hardships — this time from the government.
In 1999, tens of thousands of Black farmers applied for restitution as a part of a landmark class action suit between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Black farmers across the nation. The agency had acknowledged years of discriminatory lending practices. A judge initially estimated a $1.15 billion payout for the farmers, however that amount dropped significantly and was only awarded to a fraction of those that applied.
Only a few years earlier, Sanders came across a study from the U.S. Commission of Civil Rights that estimated by the year 2000, there would virtually be no Black farmers left in America.
This study was a wake-up call, a realization that maintaining her family’s farm would take major effort on her part.
“It’s something about the farming life that has held me here each year and keeps me coming back. Every year I say that I’m done, but each spring when I get out there and begin to feel the dirt under my nails, I stay.”
Sanders explains that if she were to give up the farm now, she wouldn’t know what to do or where to go. After all, why would she give it up after working so hard to get it and keep it for over 100 years?
To Sanders, land equals power and too many of our people are giving up that power. She gets daily requests to sell even a small strip of her land, but she will not be swayed.
Sanders Farm specializes in produce. They are best known for their peach varieties, but they also turn over Silver Queen corn, peas, okra, tomatoes, beans, sweet potatoes, and cantaloupes.
“We carefully rotate our crops. This is why our land is in such good shape. If you carefully rotate your crop, it will keep the soil fertile. We don’t plant the same things every year and we don’t plant in the same areas each year either,” she explains.
Unfortunately, the profits once realized in produce farming are simply not there anymore, partially due to climate change.
“The weather is just not the same as it was back when I was a young girl. For instance, when we get a lot of rain in a season, which we often do, it can be damaging to our crop yield. Also, if a hail storm decides to come through you can guarantee that our peach crop will be totally damaged and unable to sell. But, we can no longer predict how the weather will turn out.”
Additionally, Sanders credits the decline in produce farming to the fact that today’s generations no longer look to farmers or farm stands for their produce. There was a time that customers would buy peaches in bulk and freeze them or can them. Both practices are now becoming things of the past.
While the few Black farm families that were known in the York County area have begun to sell their properties to developers, Sanders is adamant about keeping Sanders Farm within the Sanders estate.
As the family has continued to acquire more land over the decades, they pass it down by selling it for “$1 and lots of love and affection” for official documentation purposes. Currently, Dori holds the majority of the family’s land in her name, with other family members holding smaller tracts.
She personally chose not to have children but does say that she has lots of nieces and nephews, almost too many to count. No formal discussions have been made with them on deeding over the land once she transitions, but she does have a will in place and her land will pass on to her estate.
She is hopeful that this land and the farm will be in the Sanders’ name for years and years to come.
“Why would we sell it? We want to hold on to this land for as long as we can. It is my hope that the generations after I’m gone will be land conscious and hold on to it too. Because, the truth is, no more land will be made.”
Mary McCleod Bethune: Portrait of an Educator
Born in Mayesville, South Carolina, in 1875, Mary McCleod was the 15th of 17 children born to former slaves Sam and Patsy McLeod. She was the first of her siblings to be born into freedom.
When Mary was a young girl, she would accompany her mother to the homes of white people where they would deliver laundry. On one occasion, a young Mary picked up a book but as she opened it, a white child took it away from her, taunting Mary and saying she didn’t know how to read.
Mary decided the only difference between white and black people was the ability to read and write. This made her determined to get an education.
Mary had to walk five miles to and from school. Being the only one of her siblings to attend school, she taught her brothers and sisters each day what she had learned.
It was clear then that being an educator would be part of her future.
Tasha Lucas-Youmans, Dean of the Carl S. Swisher Library on the Bethune-Cookman campus said, “Her parents instilled in her a strong work ethic and they also encouraged her to get an education. Census records show she was reading by the time she was 4 years old.”
Thanks to the help of her teacher, Mary got a scholarship and was able to attend Scotia Seminary, now Barber-Scotia College, in North Carolina, where she graduated in 1893.
In 1898, she married Albertus Bethune and moved to Savannah, Georgia. A year later they moved to Florida where they settled in Palatka and ran a mission school.
It was there she heard about Henry Flagler building the Florida East Coast Railroad. She knew the railroad workers would need for their children to be educated so she moved to Daytona Beach in 1904 and founded her first school with only $1.50, five little girls and her faith in God.”
The original school was nothing more than a small rented house where Bethune made benches and desks from discarded crates and acquired other items through charity. It bordered the city dump.
Bethune was quoted as saying: “I considered cash money as the smallest part of my resources. I had faith in a loving God, faith in myself, and a desire to serve.”
The school grew immediately. By the end of the first year Bethune was teaching 30 girls.
In 1907, Albertus left Mary and moved to South Carolina. Undeterred, Mary continued to pour her soul into the school and its students.
As the school grew, so did Bethune’s gumption in asking for help.
“She had the audacity to go to beachside and be brazen enough to confront these people, a lot of the wealthy white people that would come here for summer vacation, and talk to them and encourage them to help,” Lucas-Youmans said. “And the fact that they would even listen to this poor little black girl from Mayesville, South Carolina, that said she had a dream that she was going to build a school on a city dump. They did. They believed her.”
In 1914, Thomas White of White Sewing Machine and James Gamble of Proctor and Gamble donated money to buy a Victorian-style two-story house for Bethune, which still stands at the northeast corner of the campus.
Beside it lies Bethune’s grave, which is surrounded by flowers with white benches on either side. Near the headstone is a large iron bell that she used to round up students in the early days of the school.
Expansion of the school continued throughout the next decade and in 1923 her school merged with Cookman Institute of Jacksonville and became co-ed while also gaining the United Methodist Church affiliation.
In 1925 the combined school’s name was changed to Daytona-Cookman Collegiate Institute.
It wasn’t until 1931 that the school’s name was officially changed to Bethune-Cookman College to reflect the leadership of Bethune.
It was at this time that she became the school’s president, a post she held until 1942, when she retired.
Bethune lived the rest of her life on the campus in the old Victorian house until she died of a heart attack in 1955 at age 79.
The Courage of George Elmore and the Black Vote in SC
Today, historians mainly know Elmore as a name on a famous legal case, Elmore v. Rice.
But George Elmore’s story is much richer and darker than just a lawsuit. Elmore was born on March 31, 1905 in Holly Hill, South Carolina, and grew up and completed his public school education in Harleyville. He moved to Columbia in 1922, met and married the former Laura Belle Delaney. Elmore became a business man and a successful one at that. He ran the Waverly Five-and-Dime store on Gervais Street and two liquor stores, and moonlighted as a taxi driver and photographer.
An attempt to dismantle the stronghold whites held over the elections occurred a few years earlier. In May 1944, Lighthouse and Informer editor John H. McCray organized the Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) to contest the validity of South Carolina’s white delegation at the national Democratic Party convention. In the summer of 1946, George Elmore was the secretary of the Richland County PDP.
That year, Elmore attempted to vote in the August Democratic primary and was denied the ballot. The primary, held to determine candidates for the general election, was the only contest that counted in South Carolina under one-party Democratic rule. Blacks, through a variety of ruses, were almost totally excluded.
After South Carolina Democratic Party officials denied George Elmore and others the right to vote in its primary, NAACP leaders sought legal redress. This is when Elmore added the moniker civil rights pioneer to his many titles. On Feb. 21, 1947, Elmore challenged the white primary in a lawsuit filed by the NAACP on his behalf.
He filed a lawsuit in the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of South Carolina in a landmark case known as Elmore v. Rice. His legal team, led by Thurgood Marshall, who subsequently became a United States Supreme Court Justice, also included Robert L. Carter and Harold R. Boulware.
Elmore’s successful lawsuit established a legal precedent in 1947. United States District Judge Waites Waring ruled that the Democratic Party of South Carolina could no longer exclude qualified Negroes from participating in primary elections and that the re-establishment of the state party as a private club was illegal. The case is cited in the United States District for the Eastern District of South Carolina, Columbia Division (72 F. Supp. 516; 1947 U.S. Dist.—July 12, 1947).
SC’s long history of Black voter obstruction
In the years following the 1876 election of Wade Hampton and the end of Reconstruction, more restrictions were placed upon voting, including the “Eight Box Rule”, which required voters to cast separate ballots for various offices and place their ballot in the correct box. No one was allowed to help the illiterate voter.
Gerrymandering was used to limit black influence in congressional elections.
With the ascension of Gov. Ben Tillman, who spoke against civil rights for blacks, the constitutional convention of 1895 dismantled any progress blacks had previously gained.
For the next half-century, statutes regarding literacy tests, property ownership and party membership would be used to disenfranchise blacks.
In the 1920s, the U.S. Supreme Court began striking down the labyrinthine provisions for white primaries.
South Carolina was among the last holdouts. In 1944, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a Texas case, Smith v. Allwight, that primaries were part and parcel of the electoral process. After Smith, most Southern states just caved in and said we are going to have to throw in the towel and let blacks register. But South Carolina and Georgia refused.
Incensed by the Smith ruling, South Carolina lawmakers rallied to Gov. Olin Johnston’s call for an emergency session of the legislature in April 1944. In six days, they wiped out all statutes related to primaries from the law books, turning the primary into a private apparatus.
Enter George Elmore. After he was turned back in the 1946 primary, he agreed to become the test case for the NAACP.
For his trouble, Elmore endured economic reprisals by white vendors that eventually led to his financial ruin. Crosses were burned on his lawn; his life was threatened. His wife, Laura, suffered a mental breakdown and was institutionalized. In 1959, 13 years after the case, he died at age 53, a broken man.
South Carolina now has over one million people of color that are registered to vote, marking this the highest number of voters of color the state has ever seen. Much is owed to Mr Elmore and the sacrifices made by him and his family.
In 1981, a citizens group, the Committee of 100 Black Men, unveiled South Carolina’s only monument to Elmore. It lies just inside Randolph Cemetery. It reads:
“Sacred to the memory of George Elmore , who through unmatched courage, perseverance and personal sacrifice, brought the legal action by which black people may participate in South Carolina Democratic Party primary elections -’Elmore vs. Rice,’ 1947.”
Isaac Washington, Sr. Named one of City’s Most Influential
Columbia Business Monthly recently celebrated another year by honoring the region’s 50 most influential people, recognizing their tireless dedication and lasting impact on the Midlands.
Among the esteemed names on this list was President and Publisher of SC Black News, Isaac Washington, Sr. The selection of these individuals was based on results of staff research and community nominations.
Isaac Washington, Sr., the son of Oliver and Elizabeth S. Washington, was born in Columbia, South Carolina, in 1942. He is a graduate of C. A. Johnson High School and Benedict College. After graduation, he served in the United States Marine Corps and the USMC Reserves.
As a high school and college student, he participated in numerous Civil Rights marches, sit-ins and other activities in the Columbia and Orangeburg areas, and was arrested in March 1962, while protesting at the South Carolina State House.
Isaac worked at WIS Television as an assistant program director and director of sales, traffic and operations. While at WIS, he pioneered the “Awareness Program” to create a viable link between the African American community and the media. He also established an on the job training program at WIS for African American college students.
After leaving WIS, he became co-founder of Black News, a weekly newspaper designed to provide a platform for more positive coverage of African Americans.
Later, he became president/publisher of the South Carolina Black Media Group which earned several local and national awards including the A. Phillip Randolph Messenger Award for journalistic excellence in the field of Civil Rights; and The National Newspaper Publishers’ Association Merit Awards in Civil Rights, advertising, sports and outstanding editorial content. He was also an NNPA Publisher of the Year.
Isaac is a member of Zion Baptist Church where he serves as a deacon, Sunday School teacher, usher board president, and member of the male choir. He is also a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, a chartered member of the Montford Point Marines Association and a life member of the NAACP. He received the Order of the Palmetto, the Key to the City, and August 14 has been designated as “Isaac Washington Day” in the City of Columbia. He is portrayed on the Columbia Housing Authority Wall Of Fame, and served as a commissioner on the South Carolina State Housing Authority Board.
Isaac and his wife, Clannie (Hart), are the parents of one son, Isaac, Jr.
Attention Bulldog Family
Please help provide critically important assistance to current students with extenuating circumstances such as unexpected travel expenses, unemployment, the purchase of laptops, software, internet access, etc. Assisting these students now will mean a great deal to them and to us and may even help to ensure their ability to return for the Fall 2020 semester.
Jaime Harrison Slams Sen. Graham for Refusing to Hold Town Halls
Columbia, S.C. — Thursday, March 5, Jaime Harrison, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, released the following statement on Sen. Graham's refusal to hold town halls.
"It's been 1,076 days since Sen. Graham has held a town hall in the Palmetto State and now he is hiding behind the telephone," Harrison said. "A town hall is what I'm doing across all 46 counties. I'm going into communities and talking to the people of South Carolina about the issues that impact their everyday lives. The people of our great state should see Lindsey Graham in person right here at home, and the fact he chose not to face us proves the lengths he'll go to play Washington political games."
As Jaime's campaign keeps gaining momentum, Graham is running scared — but so called "telephone" town halls with no access for reporters, pre-screened questions, and no notice to the public is the opposite of transparency. Lindsey Graham's in hiding, because he knows he can't face South Carolinians.
James Marion Sims - Monumental Mistakes
A short documentary about the SC State House grounds and a monument to James Marion Sims, a South Carolinian who rose to prominence by performing gynecological experiments on enslaved African women without the benefit of anesthesia.
We would love to hear from you!
Isaac Washington, President/Publisher
Wendy Brinker, Editor/Layout/Design
Jim Edwards, General Manager
Oliver Washington, Vice President/Distribution