Category Archives: Famous South Carolinians

The Sunday Show with Philip Maldari | KPFA 94.1 FM Berkeley

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Kevin Alexander Gray joins Philip Maldari on Sunday December 30th @12 noon to 1:00pm (Eastern) 9:00 to 10:00am (Pacific) to talk about what happened in the year that was, and what can we expect in the year to come? 

Also discussing SC Republican Senator Tim Scott and what may we expect from him.

Gray on Scott on MSNBC’s Up with Chris Hayes ~
http://tv.msnbc.com/2012/12/22/sundays-guests-dec-23-boehners-plan-b-blows-up-south-carolinas-tim-scott-and-the-tea-party-what-gun-control-laws-should-look-like/

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Uncle Tom’s Cabin Reading Marathon

The Uncle Tom’s Cabin  reading marathon will be held on April 12 beginning at 8:00 am at the The Modjeska Monteith Simkins House at 2025 Marion Street in Columbia and will run until the entire novel has been read.
 
The event is being held on April 12th  in response to the many Civil War “commemorations” going on across the South and nation this year. April 12th is  the 150th anniversary of the start-up date of the Civil War.   The date is also significant in that the Confederate flag was first placed atop the SC Statehouse dome in 1962 during the centennial observances of the Civil War.
 
Since many of those commemorating and celebrating the “Lost Cause” want to write African enslavement out as a core reason for the war, many of us feel that it’s important to set the record straight in a historically connected way.
 
We want to tell the enslaved Africans and abolitionists’ side of the story. 
 
Why This Book?  When Abraham Lincoln met the Harriet Beecher Stowe in 1862 he is said to have remarked, “So you’re the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war.”

Though slave narratives were immensely popular, Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin reached the broadest audience prior to the Civil War.  Stowe’s anti-slavery message was less threatening to white audiences than were ex-enslaved Africans.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin had a tremendous impact.  Most blacks responded positively to Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Frederick Douglass was a friend of Stowe’s; she had consulted him on some sections of the book, and he praised the book in his writings.  Most black abolitionists saw it as a tremendous help to their cause.  Some opposed the book, seeing Uncle Tom’s character as being too submissive and criticized Stowe for having her strongest black characters emigrate to Liberia.

The character Uncle Tom is an enslaved African who retains his integrity and refuses to betray his fellow slaves at the cost of his life.  His firm Christian principles in the face of his brutal treatment made him a hero to whites.  In contrast, his tormenter Simon Legree, the Northern slave-dealer turned plantation owner, enraged them with his cruelty. Stowe convinced readers that the institution of slavery itself was evil, because it supported people like Legree and enslaved people like Uncle Tom. Because of her work, thousands rallied to the anti-slavery cause.

Only 5,000 copies of the first edition were printed. They were sold in two days. By the end of the first year, 300,000 copies had been sold in America alone; in England 200,000 copies were sold.  Southerners were outraged, and declared the work to be criminal, slanderous, and utterly false. A bookseller in Mobile, Alabama, was forced out of town for selling copies. Stowe received threatening letters and a package containing the dismembered ear of a black person. Southerners also reacted by writing their own novels depicting the happy lives of slaves, and often contrasted them with the miserable existences of Northern white workers.
 
Individual participants will read for 10 minutes. Slots are filling up but we are still asking fraternities and sororities, high school and college english classes, churches, social groups, politicians, theater people, kids, etc., to get involved.
 
The event is being sponsored by the Harriet Tubman Freedom House Project, the Columbia Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) and the South Carolina Progressive Network.

Partial List of Participants: Vanzell Haire, Rev. Sandy Jones, Rev. David Edmonds, Tom Clements, Bill Roberson, Hi Bedford Roberson, Kevin Alexander Gray, Scott West, Frances Close, Eva Moore, Tom Turnipseed, Lyn Phillips, Don Frierson, Cassandra Fralix, Gerald Rudolph, Mattie Haynes, Roland Haynes, Becci Robbins, Marjorie Hammock, Michael Watts, Brett A. Bursey, Efia Nwangaza, Catherine Fleming-Bruce, Meryl Truesdale, William Felder, Patricia Daniels, Guy Fowler, Marjorie Trifon, Camille Gray-Felder and many others.
 
For more information and press inquiries call 803.386.4759 or email Kevin Gray @ kevinagray57@gmail.com.
 
http://uncletomscabin.clarity-dev.com/

http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_123476781058591&ap=1

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Famous South Carolinians | Harry Shuler Dent, Sr. | By Kevin Alexander Gray

Republican strategist | “The Architect” of the “Southern Strategy” & neo-con movement

St Mathews , SC ( Feb. 21, 1930-Sept. 28, 2007)

Harry Shuler Dent – “The Architect”

Most noted for devising the “Southern strategy” that was crucial to Richard M. Nixon’s winning the White House.  Dent was “the architect” and Lee Atwater “the practitioner.”

Dent was born in St. Matthews the son of Hampton N. and Sallie P Dent. He had four brothers.  He attended high school in St. Matthews and, graduated cum laude from Presbyterian College in Clinton in 1951.  He was as eagle Scout and a member of Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternnity.

He was a lieutenant in the Army infantry during the Korean War and was a Washington correspondent for several South Carolina newspapers (including columnist for The Orangeburg Times and Democrat) and radio stations before joining the staff of US Senator Strom Thurmond.

In the 1950s, Dent joined Thurmond’s staff (1955-65).  Thurmond was then a Democrat and had run for president as a segregationist Dixiecrat in 1948.

Dent went to law school at night, receiving a bachelor of laws degree from George Washington University (1957) and a master of laws from Georgetown University (1959).

When President Lyndon B. Johnson championed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, some Republican strategists saw a voter windfall in the South with the belief that their party could reap the votes of white people uneasy with Democrats, or downright hostile to them, for advancing the cause of black people. Continue reading

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Famous South Carolinians | Harvey Leroy “Lee” Atwater | By Kevin Alexander Gray

Aiken – Political consultant and strategist to the Republican Party 

 (February 27, 1951March 29, 1991)

Atwater was born in Atlanta, Georgia, but grew up in Aiken, South Carolina, and graduated from Newberry College, a small private Lutheran institution in Newberry. He married and was father of three daughters.

Atwater was an advisor of  Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. He was also a political mentor and close friend of Republican strategist Karl Rove. Atwater invented or improved upon many of the techniques of modern electoral politics; including promulgating unflattering rumors and attempting to drive up opponents’ “negative” poll numbers as techniques. His foes have characterized him as the “happy hatchet man” and “the Darth Vader of the Republican party.”

112th Governor of South Carolina from 1987 to 1995 | Republican

Atwater rose during the 1970’s and the 1980 election in the South Carolina Republican party, working on the campaigns of Governor Carroll Campbell and Senator Strom Thurmond. During his years in South Carolina, Atwater became well known for running hard edged campaigns based on emotional “wedge issues.”

US Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-SC)

Atwater’s aggressive tactics were first demonstrated during the 1980 congressional campaigns. He was a campaign consultant to Republican incumbent Floyd Spence in his campaign for Congress against Democratic nominee Tom Turnipseed. Atwater’s tactics in that campaign included push polling in the form of fake surveys by “independent pollsters” to “inform” white suburbanites that Turnipseed was allegedly a member of the NAACP. Atwater also highlighted that Turnipseed had been “hooked up to jumper cables” as a teen undergoing electroshock therapy for depression.

Tom Turnipseed

After the 1980 election Atwater went to Washington and became an aide in the Ronald Reagan administration, working under political director Ed Rollins. During his years in Washington Atwater became aligned with Vice President Bush, who chose Atwater to run his 1988 presidential campaign.

 

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Famous South Carolinians | Kevin Maurice Garnett | By Kevin Alexander Gray

SC Native Plays in Championship Again

Mauldin (Greenville County)

Professional (NBA) basketball player – Power forward

(May 19, 1976)

Kevin Garnett was born in Greenville to Shirley Garnett and O’Lewis McCullough (who his mother never married).  Shirley later married and divorced Ernest Irby. Garnett has two sisters, one older (by six years) one younger: Sonya and Ashley, respectively.  His half-brother, Louis McCullough, played basketball for the ABA’s Syracuse Raging Bullz

Garnett, or “KG” to his fans, is notable for his rise to stardom emerging as a high school pro draftee – first with the Mauldin High School Maverick and, then with the Farragut Career Academy Admiral (named after Civil War naval hero Admiral David Glasgow Farragut) in Chicago – to a star player with the storied Boston Celtics basketball team’s as part of “Big Three” combo of Paul Pierce (forward), and Dalzell, South Carolina native Ray Allen (guard) who in 1993 led the Hillcrest High School Wildcats’ varsity basketball team to a SC State Championship.  Together the three won the 2008 NBA Championship with KG scoring 26 points and 14 rebounds in Game 6 to claim his first title in his first season in Boston.

He joined the Celtics on 07/31/07.  At the time of the trade, he had the longest current tenure of any player in the NBA with one team, having played for the Minnesota Timberwolves for his first 12 seasons (a total of 927 games). Following his trade to the Celtics, Garnett led them to the best record in the league and a trip to the 2008 NBA Finals.  Along the way he picked up the 2008 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award – the only major award a Celtic player had not claimed since the franchise’s foundation in 1946.  And, to top it off, he was the NBA’s top-paid player in the 2007-08 season with a salary of $23,751,934 – along with earning $5 million more hawking Adidas, Snickers and Gatorade.

Garnett credits his mother, a Jehovah’s Witness, for being his career “inspiration,” and for his familial stability growing up in both the mostly black section of Greenville known as Nickeltown and later on Basswood Drive in Mauldin (a suburb of Greenville with a population of about 12,000 in western SC).  Shirley Garnett looked after Sonya, Kevin, and Ashley on her own while working two jobs – one at a local plant and another as a hair stylist.  McCullough married another woman, started a new family, and paid child support. Continue reading

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Jesse Jackson Speech to 1988 DNC Convention

My right and my privilege to stand here before you has been won, won in my lifetime, by the blood and the sweat of the innocent.

Twenty-four years ago, the late Fannie Lou Hamer and Aaron Henry — who sits here tonight from Mississippi — were locked out onto the streets in Atlantic City; the head of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party.

But tonight, a Black and White delegation from Mississippi is headed by Ed Cole, a Black man from Mississippi; twenty-four years later.

Many were lost in the struggle for the right to vote: Jimmy Lee Jackson, a young student, gave his life; Viola Liuzzo, a White mother from Detroit, called “nigger lover,” and brains blown out at point blank range; [Michael] Schwerner, [Andrew] Goodman and [James] Chaney — two Jews and a Black — found in a common grave, bodies riddled with bullets in Mississippi; the four darling little girls in a church in Birmingham, Alabama. They died that we might have a right to live.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. lies only a few miles from us tonight. Tonight he must feel good as he looks down upon us. We sit here together, a rainbow, a coalition — the sons and daughters of slavemasters and the sons and daughters of slaves, sitting together around a common table, to decide the direction of our party and our country. His heart would be full tonight…

C-Span Video – http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/3504-1

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/jesse/speeches/index.html

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Famous South Carolinians | Frederick “Freddie” William Green | By Kevin Alexander Gray

Green: “Rhythm guitar is like vanilla extract in cake.  You can’t taste it when it’s there, but you know when it’s left out.”

Master musician- Rhthym guitar

March 31, 1911-March 1, 1987

Frederick William Green, born in Charleston, SC, was the son of Oscar and Eloise Simmons Green.  He was exposed to music at an early age.  He learned the banjo before picking up the guitar around the age of 12.  Other than a few music lessons taken as a youngster, he taught himself to play guitar.

Green is most known for his 50-year career (except for a brief interruption) as rhythm guitarist with the William “Count” Basie Orchestra. 

Sam Walker, a friend of Green’s father, first taught young Green how to read music, and encouraged him to keep up his guitar playing.  Walker gave Green what was perhaps his first gig, playing with a local community group – the Jenkins Orphanage Band – with whom Walker was an organizer. The band was a place for poor children to get musical training.  It was also a marching band. The band often traveled into Green’s neighborhood, and he would follow them all around the city. Although not an orphan himself, he became a band member – playing in Charleston, as well as inside and outside the state. Coincidentally, an orphaned friend of his in the group was young William “Cat” Anderson who went on to become an established trumpeter, working with notable figures such as Duke Ellington.

Green credited the musical influences of his youth to the music that he heard coming from New York into Charleston.  But he added: “As far as music is concerned, Charleston has always been musical.” Continue reading

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