Director's Corner.  Greetings and salutations from the desk of Executive Director, Mrs. Wilhelmina P. Johnson (below). This is  the fourth in a series of publications called the Director's Corner highlighting our programs, activites, and events of 2017' while we look forward to the upcoming new year with optimism.

 

Mrs. Wilhelmina P. Johnson

Executive Director - CRC INC.

 

    Celebrating 44-years.  The 2017' year began with noting a major milestone in our organization's history.  For 44-years, the Darlington County Cultural Realism, Inc..  has provided services to our community, our city, our county, our state, and our beloved country.  CRC INC. began with the mandate to unearth the contributions of African-Americans within our county during our country's 1976' Bicentennial Celebration.  As a member of the Darlington County's Bicentennial Committee on Ethnic Participation, I was nearly mortified when committee members stated they had "nothing which to celebrate".  To my dismay, this untruth could not continue unimpeded.  In response, CRC INC. was created in January 1, 1973.  Since its inception, one of our CORE Beliefs is "Historical Documentation and Preservation".   This Director's Corner will reflect on the continuation of Black History Month with editorials beginning with 1976' Bicentennial Celebration Participation by the Darlington County African-American Community, secondly, the importance of Black History to an Alabama Senator, and before the epoch of reconstruction - Amy Spain.  The following is provided:

 

   The Continuation.   DARLINGTON – Back in 1976 when the 200th birthday of a great country was being celebrated a group from Darlington County made up the Bicentennial Committee for Ethnic Participation, which became involve in the Bicentennial Celebration with the question “What do Afro Americans Have to Celebrate?".  Headed up by Darlington native, Wilhelmina Johnson, along with committee members Mrs. N.K. Hines, Perry Simon, Franklin Hines, J.W. Mack, Mrs. Dorothy White, Oscar McDowell, and Livingston Scipio, the group answered the question of why it should celebrate the bicentennial and to bring black history to the forefront in Darlington County (below).

 

    Figure 1.  Ms. Annie G. Nelson, the first African-American Woman, to write and publish a novel in S.C.

with Bicentennial Committee Members and Chairman Paul Bradley Morrah, Jr.,

was born and reared in Darlington County.

 

  Johnson was invited to the Spirit of ’76 Conference where she gave a speech on ethnic participation (below).  “It would be easy to sit back and complain, but it takes effort and work to get involved” she said in remarks that day. “To think over 200 years of neglected, overlooked, exploited history of people, who by the sweat of their brows, callouses of hands and feet, as well as broken-down backs that built the foundation of our country. 

 

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  Two hundred years ago, Afro-Americans did not have the freedom to celebrate the Declaration of Independence.” “If our forefathers were alive today, they would be in the middle of everything,” Johnson said.  “They would pay tribute to the many that died in the struggle for freedom.

 

 Figure 2.  Wilhelmina P. Johnson – Spirit of ‘ 76 Conference.

 

  They would honor great legislators from Darlington County who helped to form the present day system of government.  They would visit old churches, houses and landmarks that bring back the days when love for one another was the most important thing.” “After being in this country for over 200 years or so, we didn’t have anything historical to put our hands on,” Johnson added.  Johnson said at first that the state Bicentennial Commission didn’t want to endorse the group’s project, like they did others.

 

“Afro-Americans were denied an education as well as many others this during the first centennial  of this celebration,” she said.  “The beginning of the second centennial found a group that had never been given a chance to think for themselves in power.  These Afro-Americans in Darlington County stood their ground.  They left many things of value that have been overlooked in the history of this country.  Our forefathers would have never let this opportunity pass, as many educated advantaged Afro-Americans have, without becoming involved with tangible projects that would be of importance to our generation to come allowing America to be the melting pot of many cultures.  “I guess through all the hassle and letter writing and we were still doing our part, they knew we were here to stay,” Johnson said.   The group also received a letter from P. Bradley Morrah, Chairman of the South Carolina Revolution Bicentennial Commission.  The letter said, “Your participation in our Spirit of ’76 Conference on October 20, 2975, contributed significantly to the success of that meeting. We’ve had many fine comments about the meeting, and you were prominently mentioned in a very favorable editorial appearing (in) The State newspaper.

 

 “Your forthright and articulate comments served a valuable purpose in emphasizing that our Bicentennial is a time to get together and move into anew period of human relationships.  If the Bicentennial does not achieve this in some substantial measure, we’ve missed one of history’s greatest opportunities.  Thank you again for your contribution and your continuing support.”  In August of 1975, the group also received a scroll of recognition, which was presented to the committee by John E. Hills, director of the Bicentennial Commission commemorating the organization as an Achievement ’76 participant.  A flag was also presented which further symbolized the local organization as a participant.

 

 During the ceremony, Annie Green Nelson, the first Black Woman to publish a novel in South Carolina and a Darlington native now deceased, addressed members of the Darlington County Bicentennial Commission for Ethnic Participation.

 

  “In unity there is strength; we must have it in our hearts to work and build together,” Nelson said in her remarks that day.  “I’m proud my people have had a part in the development of this great state,” Mrs. Nelson told the large audience adding with a smile, “If I had a song to sing this moment, I would sing “What the World Needs Now is Love Sweet Love.”

 

  Johnson said that groundwork for ethnic participation was set right her in Darlington County.  “If everyone had done the same on all levels we would have had the African American contribution to this country put together,” Johnson said.  “We have done not done that.  When you ask where we are at this point in the line of black history, instead of moving forward we are moving backwards.  Every day is black history day, not just a certain month.”

 

  Darlington County is the site of many historic sites relevant to black history and even a museum of ethnic culture that Johnson helped establish.  The museum is located at 114 Coker St. in Darlington, right beside the Darlington County Cultural Realism Complex, which was turned into the Theater of Performing Arts.  The museum is listed on the South Carolina Map of Tourism as a historical spot.

 

  One certain incident that occurred at the Museum last year was when a white family from Oklahoma was raising an African American girl.  Someone had mentioned to them the museum for ethnic culture in Darlington.

 

  “I want to tell you the information we have on history of people is something for everyone to be proud of,” Johnson said.  “They came and saw all different things, we all cried like babies.  What it meant is that we reached one person.  That young lady was able to find out and see that we are all in it together.”

 

 

 

 

 

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"Black History Month began in 1926 as “Negro Appreciation Week.”  “In 1977, the entire month of February was adopted by North Americans as “Black History Month.”  February is the only month out of the year that is designated for black history, and although many people criticize that it is the shortest month out of the year, that is significance behind it.  February coincides with many of the slave rebellions that took place, not to mention that it follows the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

  “We don’t need black history, we don’t need white history, and everything should be together,” Johnson said.  “If anything must get done, we must all work together.”   

 

This is a continuation series of Black History Month and its importance within our everyday lives in shaping our outlook as we relate to others within our community and beyond.   Our second commentator for this series is Alabama Senator Hank Sanders (below), representing the 23rd District since 1983’, from his Senate Series # 1549 and the importance of Black History, on the following page, after a brief introduction:

 

                                                                                                             Figure 3.  Alabama Senator Hank Sanders

 

Henry "Hank" Sanders,  born October 28, 1942, is a Democrat member of the Alabama Senate, representing the 23rd District since 1983. He is the longest-serving chair of a legislative budget committee in Alabama, having first been named to Chair of the Senate Finance & Taxation Committee in January 1996 and serving in it for four consecutive terms.

 

Early Life and Education:  Hank Sanders is the second of 13 children born to Ola Mae (deceased) and Sam Sanders (deceased) of Baldwin County, Alabama. He first received his nickname "The Rock" by his mother because of his solid, steady and reliable nature, and that nickname has been adopted as a slogan in his political campaigns for the Alabama Senate. He graduated from Douglasville High School, Talladega College, and Harvard Law School; established a law practice, and served as the first African American State Senator from the Alabama Black Belt.

 

At the age of twelve, Sanders was inspired to become a lawyer after reading about Thurgood Marshal in a magazine article.  Hank Sanders graduated near the top of his high school class in 1960 and college class in 1967; winning the Catherine Wardell Award after his freshman year as the “Student who contributed most to Talladega College the previous year”. He received a special scholarship to Boston University for his junior year and Harvard Summer School after his sophomore year. He attended Harvard Law School on a Felix Frankfurter Scholarship “for poor young men who show great promise” and served as President of  Harvard Black Law Students Association.  In 2008, he received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Talladega College.

 

Career:  In 1971, Hank began Chestnut, Sanders, Sanders, and Pettaway, P.C., at one time the largest Black law firm in Alabama and one of the largest in the country. His law practice has been one of service helping poor and Black people save their lands, protecting Constitutional rights of citizens, incorporating new towns and building strong sensitive governmental institutions.  He was first elected to the Alabama State Senate in 1983 and has championed issues pertaining to education, children, health, women, and removing sales tax from food. He served as Chairman of the powerful Finance and Taxation Education Committee; selected as Outstanding Legislator by the Alabama Legislative Black Caucus; voted a finalist in the Legislator of the Year Award by his fellow senators, and received a 1999 Nation Builder Award from the National Caucus of Black State Legislators. As part of his accountability,  Sanders writes a weekly column entitled "Senate Sketches" which is published widely. He has three weekly radio programs: Sunday School Lesson, Radio Education, and Law Lessons of Jim Crow days during the 2010 Alabama elections.

 

 

 

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Copyright 1973 - 2017, CRC INC. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

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Subject:  The birth of freedom for millions but yet denied for one in Darlington, South Carolina on the precipice of reconstruction.

 

  Even before the anticipated birth of the unwanted child named Reconstruction, the former ruling class; and its many cohorts, were already planning the child’s funeral.  The child appeared anemic at birth; his mother died during labor and father killed by unknown enemies, became a ward to the nation.   Many rushed to his side to provide aid from some of the best physicians in the areas of infrastructure, finance, education, politics, military, and religion this nation could offer in hoping his survival.  With action and prayer, the Almighty honored their earnest requests and rendered life to the child.  And with this life, he showed great promise and grew stronger and wiser with the help of others,  however, soon to be deserted.

 

  Before the birth of Reconstruction, Amy Spain was martyred in the Courtyard of Darlington, South Carolina for the cause of freedom by Harper’s Weekly, Sept. 30, 1865.

 

     

     Figure 4.  Denied freedom in this life but not in the Hereafter  –  Martyr Amy Spain.

 

 

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Figure  5. Narrative of Martyr Amy Spain’s Defiance in the face of death by Harper’s Weekly, Sept. 30, 1865.

 

  In closing, even as the veil of death sought to embrace Amy Spain, she held to her faith and belief that a better life was at hand as if to say  .O death where art thy sting O grave where art thy victory…. knowing that a crown of glory awaited her because she loved not this life even unto death, a testimony of a victorious life.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Phillip M. Johnson, T.R.P.

 

   44th Anniversary Director's Funding Drive.  To learn just a few facts about our non-profit, click here.

 

    CRISIS ALERT.  Famine has gripped South Sudan and a hunger is ravaging Somalia and parts of East Africa. Please click on the International Rescue icon to your right and donate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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