Trailblazers honored at 25th Anniversary calendar unveiling - - Columbia, South Carolina

Trailblazers honored at 25th Anniversary African-American History Calendar unveiling

WIS Anchor Judi Gatson interviews 2011 honoree Donella Brown Wilson at the Koger Center for the Arts. WIS Anchor Judi Gatson interviews 2011 honoree Donella Brown Wilson at the Koger Center for the Arts.

AT&T unveiled its 2014 South Carolina African-American History Calendar to a packed Kroger Center for the Arts Wednesday night.

Originally developed as a resource for teachers to use in African-American history in their classroom curriculum, the calendar has grown to be recognized as an online Hall of Fame, commemorating the lives, leadership and accomplishments of extraordinary South Carolinians, organizers said.

The 2014 edition features twelve events rather than individuals who shaped the history of the Palmetto state.

"We wanted to commemorate twelve watershed moments or events that helped shaped African-American history and culture in South Carolina," said Ted Creech, AT&T director of external affairs in South Carolina. "This project has reached a milestone that everyone can be proud of." 

Donella Brown Wilson was a 2011 honoree and at 104, still remembers the hardships she endured growing up in a segregated south.

"It's an honor for me to be here," Wilson said. "I never thought I would reach a spot like this in my life."

The Fort Motte, South Carolina native grew up on the land where her great grandparents once worked as slaves and where her grandmother taught her simple prayers and read to her from the Bible. During those times, Mrs. Wilson realized that she wanted to teach others to read, and taught herself to read by studying the pages of the Sears & Roebuck catalog by the light of an oil lamp.

"Those of us that live to see how you graduated from and came up the ladder makes us feel that our days, that our prayers and our working in the fields and what not was not in vain," Wilson said.

Wilson played a part in the landmark case Elmore v. Rice (1947) which challenged the legality of only allowing whites to vote in primaries in the state.  

Brandolyn Thomas Pinkston, administrator of the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs said having the calendar as a resource is of great importance.

"It means so much," Pinkston said. "Leaving a legacy for others, people in South Carolina because it honors people that paved the way and I stand on so many shoulders and it just means so much that there is a repository of 297 individuals that young people and older people they can go and look at the accomplishments of those individuals and how it impacted South Carolina."

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