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2016 African-American History Calendar makes debut

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Twelve notable South Carolinians will be celebrated this week during the unveiling of an educational tool highlighting their achievements.

A ceremony for the AT&T 2016 South Carolina African-American History Calendar is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday at Columbia’s Koger Center for the Arts.

The 12-month calendar profiles prominent S.C. African-Americans South Carolinians who have made significant contributions in the state and beyond. The calendar also is a teaching tool for educators.

“Our state has been built and molded by many extraordinary people, from all walks of life,” said Pamela Lackey, president of AT&T South Carolina. “The South Carolina African-American History Calendar enables us to gratefully recognize the impact this year’s honorees have had on so many lives, while also assuring that their stories are told and preserved to educate and inspire future generations.”

The unveiling, originally set for Oct. 6, was postponed after Columbia flooding. Previous tickets will be honored. Those attending are asked to bring canned and non-perishable food items as a donation.

The honorees featured in the 2016 calendar are:

Durham Carter (January): A native of Columbia, Carter spent his career in education and works as a community leader. Carter started as a teacher and guidance counselor in Ridge Spring and retired from the S.C. Vocational Rehabilitation Department in 1994. He has served on several boards of community organizations and founded the Waverly/Valley Park Neighborhood Association. In 1994, the city of Columbia made a proclamation for Durham E. Carter Day. He also received the Order of the Palmetto that year.

Schylver Foster (February): Born in Gaffney, Foster was a member of the start-up team for BMW Manufacturing. Foster has been with the corporation in various leadership roles since 1993. She has received the National Organization for Women’s Women Achievement Award, Converse College’s Outstanding Women Achievement Award and the James R. King Golden Achievement Award.

Dr. Stuart Hamilton (March): Hamilton is founder and CEO of Eau Claire Cooperative Health Centers, which offers medical services on a sliding scale. After receiving a medical degree from Columbia University in New York City, he was assigned to Chester after joining the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service. ECCHC is ranked among the top 50 community health center systems and is the largest in the state. In 2007, he was named the City of Columbia’s Humanitarian of the Year and also earned the Order of the Palmetto.

Aubrey Jenkins (April): Jenkins has 30 years under his belt as a firefighter and currently serves as Columbia Fire Department’s chief. He leads a staff of more than 600 at 32 stations. Past accolades include being named Columbia Firefighter of the Year, American Red Cross Volunteer of the Year, Columbia Urban League’s Lincoln C. Jenkins Jr. Award recipient and the S.C. Public Safety Officer of the Year.

Howard Jeter (May): Born and raised in Union, Jeter has served 27 years in the Foreign Service, mostly in Africa. During his career, Jeter has served as the U.S. ambassador to Nigeria, deputy assistant secretary of state for African affairs and State Department director of West African Affairs. He has earned several awards and commendations, including the Presidential Meritorious Service Award, the Morehouse College Bennie Trailblazer Award and the International Peace and Justice Award from the Rainbow PUSH Coalition.

Bernette “Bernie” William Mazyck (June): Born in Summerville, Mazyck has served as the president and CEO of the S.C. Association for Community Economic Development for 17 years. His organization and its member groups have developed projects with a $250 million economic impact. Mazyck serves as a provisional deacon in the S.C. Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. He was awarded the Order of the Silver Crescent in 2004 and Order of the Palmetto in 2014.

James “JP” Neal Jr. (July): Neal is known to many as a public administrator, educator, broadcaster and minister. He has served several churches, including Gill Creek Baptist Church in Columbia and White Oak Baptist Church No. 2 of Ridgeway, which his grandfather founded. He has worked for the S.C. Department of Mental Health and has appeared on television examining race relations and education. He was a science teacher and assistant principal at W.A. Perry. He previously served as a Richland 1 commissioner. He received the Order of the Palmetto.

James Salley (August): An Orangeburg native, Salley has aimed to improve access to higher education since 1992 while serving as an administrator for Africa University in Zimbabwe. Salley, the university’s associate vice chancellor for institutional advancement, is based in Nashville, Tenn., where he is responsible for communicating with the university and fundraising through United Methodist churches. He previously served as director of institutional advancement for S.C. State University.

Carrie Sinkler-Parker (September): A Clarenden County native, Sinkler-Parker started a career with the S.C. Department of Public Welfare after a brief stint teaching in North Carolina and Virginia. Sinkler-Parker worked in the department’s child and adult protective services division and started working for AARP as the associate state director in 2001. She has served on a variety of boards related to human services issues and has earned several awards, including the Barber-Scotia College Alumnus of the year and one of Sumter County Council’s Women of Excellence.

Martha Scott Smith (October): A Columbia native, she joined Southern Bell after teaching in Richland 1. Southern Bell later became AT&T, and Smith helped create and direct the company’s African-American History Calendar project. She was the first black woman to serve as chair of the American Red Cross of Central Carolina and the foundations of Midlands Technical College and the S.C. State Museum. United Way of the Midlands named her the 2009 Humanitarian of the Year, and she is a member of the S.C. Black Hall of Fame.

Thomasena Stokes-Marshall (November): Stokes-Marshall served as a New York City law enforcement officer before returning to her native Mount Pleasant to help preserve its history. She became the first African-American to serve on Mount Pleasant Town Council in 1998. She also founded the Sweetgrass Cultural Arts Festival Association, which helps preserve the Gullah Geechee culture. She serves on several community organization and nonprofit boards.

Elizabeth “Lizzie” Evelyn Wright (December): Wright founded Voorhees College in Denmark in 1897. Wright made eight attempts to open a school, several of which were burned, and finally succeeded with the Denmark Industrial School. The private, historically black liberal arts institution affiliated with the Episcopal Church was renamed in 1902 after Ralph Voorhees provided funding for the 280-acre campus. She died in 1906 and was buried in the Memorial Garden on the Voorhees College campus.

2016 African-American History Calendar

The celebration will be at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Koger Center for the Arts, 1051 Greene St. Register at Eventbrite or by calling (803) 401-2230. Free.

The calendar will be available Thursday at www.scafricanamericanhistory.com

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