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Calendar info; who's being profiled

The South Carolina African American History calendar is no longer widely available in printed format. But it is available in digital portable document format (pdf). To learn more about the calendar or to download a copy, visit www.scafricanamerican.com

JANUARY

Through days of segregation and the state's slow progress toward integration, Fannie Phelps Adams dedicated her life to the education of children.

Countless youngsters, black and white, claim her as mentor through her years as a teacher, guidance counselor and assistant principal at Booker T. Washington High School and later, at A.C. Flora High School.

But she also has served as a role model of civic engagement, through her church and countless community organizations. In the late 1970s, she was instrumental in the election of the first three black members of the Richland 1 school board and worked through the NAACP and other organizations for the advancement of African-Americans in all walks of life.

FEBRUARY

Mac Arnold joined the Muddy Waters Blues Band and became part of musical history as he helped develop the electric blues sound that inspired the budding rock ' n roll movement of the 1960s and 1970s.

During this period, he played on John Lee Hooker's "Live at the Cafe Au Go-Go," Otis Spann's "The Blues Is Where It's At" and Tyrone Davis' "Turning Point."

After more than a year with Muddy Waters, Arnold formed the Soul Invaders, a group that backed up many artists, and worked in Los Angeles with ABC Television and LAFF Records on the set of "Soul Train," and in collaboration with musical legend Quincy Jones.

Arnold returned to South Carolina in 1990. Embracing his blues roots in Pelzer, where he learned to play his brother Leroy's home-made guitar, Arnold now serves up the blues with his own band, Mac Arnold & Plate Full O' Blues. The band consists of Danny Keylon on bass; Austin Brashier on guitar; Max Hightower on keyboard, harmonica and guitar; Mike Whitt on drums; and Arnold on vocals, bass and Gas Can Guitars.

MARCH

John W. Bluford III has been recognized as a visionary leader in hospital and health care administration.

The 1967 graduate of Columbia's C.A. Johnson High School is president and CEO of Truman Medical Centers in Kansas City, Mo., a two-hospital, nonprofit, multi-specialty academic medical center and teaching affiliate of the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine.

TMC operates a stand-alone behavioral health unit and a level-one trauma center, has 4,000 employees and generates more than $400 million in annual revenues. Bluford holds an undergraduate degree from Fisk University and an MBA in management from Northwestern University.

He is set to receive the Missouri Hospital Association Distinguished Career Award in November 2009 and was recently designated chair-elect of the 5,000-member American Hospital Association.

APRIL

As an associate editor at South Carolina's largest daily, Warren Bolton has used his editorial platform to argue for progressive change in the community.

After a distinguished career in The State's newsroom, Bolton became the first African-American to sit on The State's editorial board in 1997. He often serves as a voice for those who have little or no access to the political power structure.

In 2008, he won the S.C. Press Association's E.A. Ramsaur Award, given to the top editorial writer in South Carolina.

Bolton began his journalism career in 1986 as a reporter with the Columbia Record and in 1988 joined The State. During his time in the newsroom, he covered education, police, courts and county and state government. Bolton, the father of two sons, is also an associate minister and member at Bethel AME Church in Columbia, where he and his wife, Tanya, co-chair the church's Married Couples Ministry.

MAY

The late Timothy R. McConnell overcame poverty and racial barriers to establish the first African American-owned certified public accounting firm in South Carolina.

As managing partner of T.R. McConnell and Co. from 1976-88, McConnell was awarded numerous contracts from the U.S. Department of Commerce to establish minority business development centers in Greenville, Columbia and Charleston.

Born in Fairfield County, McConnell attended segregated McCrory-Liston School before entering the newly desegregated Winnsboro High, where he graduated in the top 5 percent of his class. He earned bachelor's and master's degrees from USC, where he was elected the first black vice president of the student body.

He served as a legislative aide to former Gov. John C. West and worked at Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Co. in Charlotte before forming his own company. As a leading executive, he worked to integrate private clubs around Columbia and clear a path for better race relations.

JUNE

William Perry and his younger brother Michael Dean Perry grew up in Aiken, played college football at Clemson and went on to become NFL superstars.

Off the field, they became household names, appearing in entertainment and sports ventures.

William "the Fridge" Perry rose to stardom as a rookie defensive lineman for the Chicago Bears during the 1985 Super Bowl. In his decade-long professional career, he played in 138 games, recorded 29.5 sacks and recovered five fumbles that he returned for 71 yards.

Michael Dean, also a defensive lineman, was a gridiron star in his own right. During his 10-year career, he played for the Cleveland Browns, the Denver Broncos and the Kansas City Chiefs. He was selected for the Pro Bowl six times.

Michael Dean appeared in several McDonald's commercials and had a McDonald's sandwich named for him. William retired in 1994 and appeared in rap videos, on television comedies and was immortalized as a G.I. Joe action figure. He founded his own construction company in South Carolina and was named director of football operations for the Continental Indoor Football League's Chicago Slaughter.

Today, the brothers are joined once again with family, friends and former coaches in helping William battle Guillain-Barre syndrome.

JULY

Brandolyn Thomas Pinkston has championed programs to protect consumers as administrator of the S.C. Department of Consumer Affairs.

She has implemented innovative consumer programs and championed legislation that protects citizens from predatory lending practices.

She directed an expansion of the department's outreach services by opening consumer locations across the state and advancing ongoing dialogue with businesses. Pinkston also led the department in establishing the Mortgage Fraud Task Force and partnered with the state Attorney General to launch the Mortgage Fraud Hotline.

In 2005, the National Association of Consumer Agency Administrators recognized the department as the National Consumer Agency of the Year.

A native of Hartsville, Pinkston is an active community volunteer, serving on numerous charitable and civic boards.

AUGUST

Eugene Robinson has earned a reputation as an insightful and provocative newspaper and television journalist during more than four decades in the news business, including nearly 30 years with The Washington Post.

The Orangeburg native graduated from Orangeburg High School and went on to the University of Michigan, where he was the first black student to be named co-editor-in-chief of the award-winning student newspaper, The Michigan Daily.

He began his newspaper career at the San Francisco Chronicle and in 1980 joined The Washington Post, where he worked as a city hall reporter, assistant city editor, South America correspondent, London bureau chief and as foreign editor. In 2005, he began writing a twice-weekly column for The Post that is now syndicated to more than 130 newspapers.

Robinson has been an MSNBC commentator since January 2008, appearing several times a week on shows including "Hardball" and "Countdown with Keith Olbermann." He won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for columns he wrote about the election of President Barack Obama.

SEPTEMBER

Darius Rucker's distinctive soul baritone has been intertwined in the life of South Carolina for more than 25 years.

As lead singer for Hootie & the Blowfish, he rose to international stardom along with Dean Felber, Mark Bryan and Jim Sonefeld for their debut album, Cracked Rear View. Songs from their debut album earned the group two Grammys along with a multitude of other awards, television appearances and a fan base that crosses continents. Hootie & the Blowfish released seven more albums that have collectively sold more than 25 million copies world-wide.

As a youngster, the Charleston-born Rucker was exposed to different musical styles that formed the basis of his love for all music.

After enrolling at the University of South Carolina in 1984 as a part of the school's song and dance group, Carolina Alive, Darius soon met up the classmates who would form Hootie & the Blowfish.

Since then, his solo forays into R&B, big band orchestra and country music have continued to win him international acclaim. His country music debut album, Learn to Love, was released by Capitol Nashville in 2008 and became No. 1 on the country charts.

Rucker and his bandmates have donated millions through the Hootie & and Blowfish Foundation and other philanthropic endeavors and the musical superstar continues to wow with stellar songwriting and performances.

OCTOBER

O'Neal Smalls credits his career success to the lessons he learned in culture and character on the farm where his parents raised him in the Freewoods section of Horry County.

After attending segregated schools, Smalls earned a bachelor's degree from Tuskegee University, where he came under the tutelage of fellow South Carolinian Charles G. Gomillion, a civil rights activist who encouraged Smalls to participate in voter registration drives and sit-ins.

He went on to earn a law degree from Harvard and a Master of Laws degree from Georgetown. He also served a tour of duty in Vietnam, where he earned a Bronze Star. Smalls taught law at American University, George Washington University and the University of South Carolina.

After retirement, Smalls returned to his farming roots as founder of the Freewoods Farm, a living farm museum dedicated to highlighting the role of the African-American farmer.

NOVEMBER

James Lewis Solomon Jr. broke the color barrier at USC when he, along with Robert Anderson and Henrie Monteith Treadwell, enrolled at the Columbia school and became the first African-American students to attend since Reconstruction.

That was to be the beginning of many firsts for Solomon.

He became the first African-American to serve in several key state government positions under three governors - a state agency director under Gov. John West; division director at the Commission on Higher Education under Gov. Richard Riley; ad as Commissioner of the Department of Social Services under Riley and Gov. Carroll Campbell.

Among his contributions, Solomon drafted the state's dsegregation plan for public colleges and universities during his service in the Riley administration, which cleared the way for the successful recruitment of underrepresented students to the University of South Carolina and other state institutions.

He has served in some elected positions, including two school boards. He currently serves as chairman of the board of the S.C. Institute on Poverty and Deprivation and the Palmetto Development Group.

DECEMBER

Darrin Todd Thomas founded Thomas-McCants Media, Inc. in 1991 with his former partner, Gerry McCants, to promote minority businesses through Black Pages USA, a print and Internet reference guide, and Black Expo, a series of forums and exhibits that build awareness of minority-owned business products and service among consumers in five Southeastern markets.

Now, as president of Thomas Media Group, LLC, he oversees five offices in the Southeast and continues to focus on publishing Black Pages USA directories and hosting Black Expos in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.

He received his undergraduate degree in marketing and management at the University of South Carolina and is a former marketing representative for Xerox Corp. in Greenville. Thomas is an indefatigable community cheerleader, working with such groups as the Boy Scouts of America, Columbia Rotary Club, Coker College board of trustees, Wachovia Bank-Midlands advisory board, SCANA advisory board and the USC School of Business Partnership Foundation, as well as his United Methodist Church congregation.

SOURCE: 2010 South Caroplina African-American History Calendar

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