A notable South Carolina historian was killed Monday in a collision between a Mercedes and a Richland 1 school bus.
Constance Ashton Myers, 85, traveled across South Carolina in the 1970s to record interviews with leaders in the women’s suffrage movement of the early 20th century. The Constance Ashton Myers Oral History Archive is housed at the USC South Caroliniana Library.
“She was truly a trailblazer with new ways of thinking of how we can tell the story of folks who have been left out of the narrative,” said Belinda Gergel, a Columbia city councilwoman and retired Columbia College history professor. “She was out there getting this history and getting it recorded and piecing it together in a format that subsequent scholars could use.”
Cecil Myers, Constance Myers’ 88-year-old husband, was driving their Mercedes on Atlas Road around 4:30 p.m. Monday when he crossed the center line and hit a Richland District 1 school bus head-on, said Jennifer Timmons, Columbia Police Department spokeswoman. Both were wearing seat belts.0
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Myers died at the scene. Her husband was taken to Palmetto Health Richland hospital, where he remained hospitalized Tuesday.
Seven people on the bus were treated and released at a hospital Monday night, said Karen York, a spokeswoman for Richland 1. The 35-passenger bus was carrying five special needs students from A.C. Moore Elementary School and Crayton Middle School, York said. The bus driver and an aide also were checked at a local hospital.
Myers taught history at USC and USC Aiken and Spanish at Midlands Technical College. She was known around Columbia for her expertise in women’s history as well as for serving as a docent at the Columbia Museum of Art and being involved with the Daughters of the American Revolution.
At the art museum, where she volunteered for 12 years, Myers often led tours in Spanish, said Kerry Kuhlkin-Hornsby, the docent liaison.
“She was passionate about the arts,” Kuhlkin-Hornsby said. “She was passionate about politics. She was passionate about Latin American culture.”
Early in her career, Myers traveled around South Carolina to record stories told by women who fought for the right to vote. At the time, Myers was a young historian and her subjects were elderly, said Henry Fulmer, curator of manuscripts at the South Caroliniana Library. Her collection has about 35 recordings, he said.
Myers also worked on a series of interviews that were donated to the National Archives, and her most recent project was contributing essays to the three-volume “South Carolina Women: Their Lives, Their Times,” Fulmer said. The third volume with her two essays is to be published this summer.
Funeral arrangements had not been finalized as of Tuesday evening.