Inspired by Millican: The Life and Legacy of Dr. Arthenia J. Bates Millican

The Sumter County Museum will debut a new exhibit on the life and importance of Sumter native Dr. Arthenia J. Bates Millican. “Inspired by Millican: The Life and Legacy of Dr. Arthenia J. Bates Millican” will open on March 30th, 2023 and will be on display through the end of September. A grand opening event will take place on Sunday, March 26th. SC Humanities helped support this program with a Mini Grant.

Dr. Arthenia J. Bates Millican was a Sumter native and an accomplished author, poet, humanitarian, and teacher. Dr. Millican’s first published work appeared in the Sumter Item at 16 years old as a student at Lincoln High School. She received a Bachelor’s degree from Morris College and a Master’s from Clark Atlanta University, studying under Langston Hughes, as well as a Ph.D. from Louisiana State University. Her writings include “Seeds Beneath the Snow,” “The Deity Nodded,” “Such Things from the Valley,” and the recently published “The Bottoms and Hills: Virginia Tales.” She received numerous accolades both during her lifetime and after, including a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and the 2017 induction into the South Carolina Academy of Authors. Her Sumter house was designated as a state Literary Landmark in 2019. Her work has been compared to that of Paul Laurence Dunbar, Zora Neale Hurston, and Thomas Hardy.

“Inspired by Millican: The Life and Legacy of Dr. Arthenia J. Bates Millican” examines Millican’s life chronologically from her childhood growing up in Sumter through her legacy and how it continues today.

A grand opening reception will take place on Sunday, March 26th at 2:00 p.m. as part of Sumter’s Inspire Festival. The program will include a showing of the 2008 documentary A Tribute to Dr. Arthenia Bates Millican, a keynote speech by award-winning poet Nikky Finney, a book signing, and refreshments. Tickets are $25 for the general public, $20 for members, and $15 for students. Tickets can be purchased online HERE.

The Sumter County Museum is a private non-profit institution whose mission is to promote the history of Old Sumter District through the preservation and exhibition of objects, manuscripts, and documents, which relate the story of this area of South Carolina. It is located at 122 N. Washington Street, Sumter, SC 29150 and is open Thursdays – Saturdays from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. or by appointment. Learn more:

The mission of SC Humanities is to enrich the cultural and intellectual lives of all South Carolinians. Established in 1973, this 501(c) 3 organization is governed by a volunteer 20-member Board of Directors comprised of community leaders from throughout the state. It presents and/or supports literary initiatives, lectures, exhibits, festivals, publications, oral history projects, videos and other humanities-based experiences that directly or indirectly reach more than 250,000 citizens annually. South Carolina Humanities receives funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities as well as corporate, foundation and individual donors. The National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy demands wisdom.

Picture courtesy of AJBM Foundation