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My Take: Celebrating Black History Month

Published: Feb. 26, 2021 at 11:27 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - We are celebrating Black History Month by highlighting several African Americans for their role in South Carolina’s history.

We begin with Frank B. Washington.

He is a 35-year veteran of the state Department of Education and one of the first African American administrators, overseeing the state’s black public schools.

Washington witnessed the widespread inequity in South Carolina’s public education system. His strengthened resolve to fight racial discrimination led Washington to become the leader of the Columbia NAACP for 16 years.

One of his most significant victories was leading the NAACP in pressuring the city of Columbia to adopt single-member voting districts, allowing the city’s large African American population to be adequately represented in elected offices.

In 2006, he was featured on the South Carolina African American history calendar and was named to the South Carolina Black Hall of Fame.

In 2019, Washington was awarded South Carolina’s highest civilian award, The Order of the Palmetto.

Late actor Chadwick Boseman left his footprint in Hollywood. The Anderson, South Carolina native and “Black Panther” stars death shocked everyone around the world last year.

Boseman battled cancer in silence for years while dominating the big screen.

He spent his life uplifting the stories of Black Americans both real and fictional.

His impeccable determination to keep filming movies and fighting the insidious disease gives everyone the courage to keep going.

His legacy will live on forever.

Right now, there is a petition in Anderson to replace a Confederate Monument with a memorial for Boseman.

Alice Hurley and her late husband led the effort to establish the Columbia Urban League Chapter. The organization promotes financial stability and racial inclusion in our community. Hurley, a former social worker, was instrumental in creating the league’s committee. Mrs. Hurley serves in various leadership roles for several organizations and has received countless awards, including Social Worker of the Year. Hurley and her husband have an award named of them within the chapter.

Finally, South Carolina women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley is legendary. She has had a long and distinguished basketball career.

For those of you new to the area, Staley is a three-time Olympic Gold Medalist and played for years in the WNBA. Staley became head coach of the USC women’s basketball team in 2008.

Since then, she has worked relentlessly to develop the program and it has paid off. In 2017, the Gamecocks won the 2017 NCAA National Championship. Staley has made eight consecutive NCAA tournament appearances with a 22 and 7 record. Her USC record is 324 and 101… she has more wins than any other Gamecock basketball coach, which includes the men’s program. And Staley has coached seven first-round WNBA draft picks.

Staley holds several notable accolades including being inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.

Black History Month is an opportunity to celebrate hero’s past and present. It is a history that continues to unfold, challenge, and inspire.

And That’s My Take, What’s Yours

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