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Challenging White Supremacy — and Winning

The day after the Ku Klux Klan chained Rev. James Myles Hinton Sr. to a tree and beat him, Hinton returned to work. He said he would rather die fighting than live on his knees. The president of the  SC Conference of Branches of the NAACP from 1941-1958, Hinton worked with Thurgood Marshall, the NAACP … Read more

June 12, 2014

Briggs v. Elliott: ‘Because It Was Right’

More than 100 parents and children signed Clarendon County petitions that led to Brown v. Board of Education and the end of legal segregation of public schools. The first petition, asking that “separate but equal” actually be equal, led to death threats, a murder, arson, and loss of jobs and homes. But the petitioners persisted. … Read more

May 6, 2022

How Brown v Board of Education Began in South Carolina

In 1946, Levi and Hammett Pearson asked for a public school bus for Black children who walked nine miles to school in Summerton, SC. The request could have gotten the Pearsons killed and did lead to gunfire into their homes, debts called in, farm seed and equipment refused. But the brothers wanted a better life … Read more

From a Wheelchair

A fourteen-year-old fell far from a pecan tree; the family accepted the doctor’s diagnosis: Cecil Augustus Ivory would never again walk. After six months in bed, Ivory employed two cane chairs as crutches and walked again. His drive and determination led to a football scholarship, a divinity degree, a church in Rock Hill, South Carolina, … Read more

“Soul Power“ of South Carolina Sit-Ins

James T. McCain, fired as a school principal for NAACP membership, became the first Black and Southern field secretary for the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). CORE’s founders had accepted imprisonment rather than fight in World War II and Korea; they emulated Mahatma Gandhi’s nonviolent methods of opposing injustice. The training CORE’s McCain provided South … Read more

400 Black Women and a Union: The 1969 Charleston Hospital Strike

In December 1967, five Black women left work at Medical College Hospital in Charleston when ordered to violate their LPN licensing limits. Despite the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the hospital segregated patients, restrooms, and cafeterias, and did not provide Black doctors or training programs for Black workers. With the help of the Southern Christian Leadership … Read more

Education and the Vote: Then and Now

South Carolina’s 1895 constitution disenfranchised Black citizens. The constitution, which was not submitted to a popular vote, also said, “Separate schools shall be provided for children of the white and colored races, and no child of either race shall ever be permitted to attend a school provided for children of the other race.” That constitution … Read more

Collecting and Telling Your and Others’ Stories

For Stories of Struggle I interviewed at least 150 Black activists while I worked as a journalist at The State and as director of a writing program at Columbia College. I wanted to preserve Black elders’ stories, and, through their stories, to reveal a true portrait of segregation in South Carolina. I believe in the … Read more

Turning Your Ideas into Stories

Most of us wish we could flesh our thoughts, experiences, and make-believe dreams into stories on paper. The art of theme, plotting and characterization come from understanding what makes for an intriguing read: tension, active voice, creative dialog. Learning how to mold a story concept, memoir or fiction, into a three-dimensional tale is empowering and … Read more

May 9, 2022

How a Character Becomes 3-D

Using examples from well-known books, movies and television shows, and whatever example the audience wants to dissect, learn the art of taking a character from basic hair and eye color into a quirky, charismatic, loveable, respectable, enticing, intense, or demonic contributor to a tale. Whether you read or write, the discussion and Q&A shed new … Read more

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