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About poet Nikky Finney, author of ‘A New Day Dawns’

In 2001, Nikki Finney kisses the likeness of her father, former SC Supreme Court Chief Justice, Ernest A. Finney at a new African American history monument outside the State House. In the background watching is Judge Finney. He was the first African-American Supreme Court chief justice in South Carolina since reconstruction.
In 2001, Nikki Finney kisses the likeness of her father, former SC Supreme Court Chief Justice, Ernest A. Finney at a new African American history monument outside the State House. In the background watching is Judge Finney. He was the first African-American Supreme Court chief justice in South Carolina since reconstruction. The State Newspaper

The poem on our front page was written by South Carolina poet Nikky Finney.

Finney grew up in the state, “within listening distance of sea,” the daughter of Ernest Finney, the state’s first African-American chief justice who began his public service career as a civil rights attorney.

After working 20 years in Kentucky, Finney returned to South Carolina in 2013 to become the USC’s John H. Bennett, Jr. Chair in Southern Letters and Literature.

Finney has written several books of poetry, including “Rice,” “On Wings Made of Gauze” and “Head Off and Split,” which was awarded the 2011 National Book Award for poetry.

She wrote the poem in the early morning hours of July 9, after House members voted to send Gov. Nikki Haley a bill to remove the Confederate flag from the State House grounds, realizing “I have been writing these 230 words all my life.”

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