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Milton Kimpson, a trailblazer in SC education and politics, has died at age 90

Milton Kimpson was born in Calhoun County, where his family were sharecroppers.
Milton Kimpson was born in Calhoun County, where his family were sharecroppers.(WIS Archive)
Updated: Feb. 1, 2021 at 5:03 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Milton Kimpson, a man who overcame adversity to become a leading voice for educators in South Carolina, has died at the age of 90.

His son, State Sen. Marlon Kimpson, announced the sad news on Twitter on Saturday morning.

Milton Kimpson was born in Calhoun County, where his family were sharecroppers, according to his biography on the South Carolina African American History Calendar.

Though it was a struggle for his family, he attended Benedict College and graduated with a B.S. degree in Mathematics.

Milton Kimpson joined the Army and served during the Korean War before becoming an educator in South Carolina.

He taught math at Booker T. Washington High School in Columbia and later served as the principal of two schools before being selected as a State Supervisor of Elementary Education at the South Carolina State Department of Education, his bio states.

In 2012, Milton Kimpson was featured in a documentary entitled “The Hallowed Halls.” It told the story of teachers and students at Booker T. Washington High School and two other Midlands schools that were historically Black schools during the era of segregation.

In it, he said: “You’re just as good a anybody else and one of these days you’re going to find that out.”

The governor of South Carolina appointed him to become the Executive Director of Health, Education and Human Services in 1979.

Milton Kimpson went on to serve in state government for 15 years in a multitude of positions, earning the prestigious Order of the Palmetto award among other recognitions. To read more about him, click or tap here.

Condolences have poured in on from mourners on social media, from University of South Carolina President Bob Caslen to numerous Democratic and Republican lawmakers and others.

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