History Calendar Honorees Named
A community banker. A college president. A creator of distinctive African-American dolls. Two Gullah storytellers. The man known as the Godfather of Soul.
These are among 12 prominent South Carolinians who will be honored on the 2009 edition of AT&T's annual South Carolina African-American History Calendar.
The calendar is a who's who of leaders in business, the arts, religion, communication, education, entertainment and other fields.
This is the 20th year the calendar has been distributed, said Martha Smith, the project coordinator and a former social studies teacher.
"I've been involved with it since the first one at the Sheraton," said Smith. She recalled that 200 people turned out for that first celebration; Tuesday's unveiling ceremony at the Koger Center is expected to draw 2,000.
When the project began, "there were really no black role models for kids" and few references to black people's contributions to South Carolina in history textbooks.
"From an African-American standpoint ... it's like a renaissance of our culture," Smith said.
The Tuesday night program and reception will focus not only on the 2009 nominees but on the five from the original 1990 calendar who still are living - basketball star Alex English, astronaut Charles Bolton, U.S. District Judge Matthew Perry, retired lawmaker Alma Byrd and civil rights activist Jesse Jackson.
The calendar is a project of AT&T and partners including WIS-TV, ETV, the S.C. Department of Education, the USC Department of Journalism and Mass Communications and The State.
For more information and to download a calendar and biographies of the calendar honorees, go to www.scafricanamerican.com
By CAROLYN CLICK