Friday, February 21, 2014
This Sunday the Lowcountry Black Historical Society will again honor members of the community who have contributed to the development of the local black community.
The society traditionally honors 10 individuals and one church at its awards ceremony. This year the third annual event will take place at Summerville High School at 4 p.m. on the Feb. 23. It is open to the public.
“We are honored to be honoring these men and women because they have an impact not only in the African American community, but in the community as a whole, making the area we live a much better place. Their contributions have helped society grow,” said Louis Smith, co-chairperson.
Smith said a committee meets to talk about “deeds done in the previous year” to consider honorees. He also said there are a significant number of people who have contributed to the community but have died before they can be recognized, so the society makes a point to honor two or three of the deceased each year.
“It’s time to give them their just rewards,” he said.
The honorees and their families will be awarded with commemorative plaques at the event.
“A lot of people have contributed to the empowerment and the betterment of the community. A lot of people worked to get to where we are today,” he said.
This year’s honorees are as follows:
Willie R. Davis
Willie R. Davis represents District 1 on the Dorchester County Council. He has served on Council since 1991 and has been a member of several committees, and also served as vice chairman for a total of five years. He is the only Democrat on the board. Davis has also served as the chapter president of the St. George branch of the NAACP. Born on July 11, 1950 in St. George, Davis has several degrees including a master’s and is a retired educator. He and his wife Joyce have two children.
Rev. James Curtis Fowler
Rev. James Curtis “JC” Fowler came to the Lowcountry from Alabama in the 1930s looking for work in the segregated Civilian Conservation Corps. He had a variety of occupations before becoming employed at the Charleston Naval Shipyard where he worked for 40 years. Within the Summerville community he is well known as an ordained minister for the Christian Church Disciples of Christ, which he helped establish and grow in the area. Rev. Fowler was also a local political leader; in town he helped facilitate voter registration drives and organized a Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade before the holiday was recognized. Rev. Fowler and his wife Mabel had six children. He was born on March 25, 1917 and died July 23, 1996 at 79 years old.
Timothy Julius Greene
Ridgeville native Timothy Julius Greene was a long-time educator within Dorchester County. He worked within Dorchester District Two for 30 years, first as a teacher at Alston High School and later as an assistant principal at Summerville High School. After retiring, Greene returned home to Dorchester District Four where he worked for an additional five years. He was dedicated to his students and assisted them after school by creating the Black Studies Club at SHS. Greene was well educated himself, having attended Claflin University, The Citadel, Lincoln University and Syracuse University. He was a brother of Alpha Phi Alpha and a devoted family-man to his wife, Deloris, and daughters Natasha and Lavondra.
Jade Sheri Howard
Jade Sheri Howard has taught English at Summerville High School, her alma mater, for 15 years. She has a bachelor’s degree from South Carolina State, a Master’s of Education from Charleston Southern University, and is pursuing a doctorate in education administration. She’s been a trailblazer at SHS, creating the Umoja Club, STARS program and piloting an African American literature course. Within the community, Howard has been involved with Sculpture in the South, the James F. Dean theater, and volunteering through her sorority, Delta Sigma Theta. She’s won many awards including SHS Teacher of the Year and DD2 Honor Teacher, and has been a Charleston Area’s Best Educator of the Year finalist for three years in a row.
Patsy G. Knight
Patsy G. Knight has served in the South Carolina House of Representatives since 2006. A full-time legislator, Knight worked as the Dorchester County Treasurer from 1980 - 2006. She and her late husband were also small business owners who managed a bookkeeping service, convenience store and a farm. She has two daughters, Mary Margaret and Laura Ann, and several grandchildren. Within the legislature, Rep. Knight has served in multiple groups, including the House arts caucus, the women’s caucus, the rural caucus and the sportsman caucus.
Rev. Bernie Mazyck
Since 1998, Rev. Bernie Mazyck has served as the president and CEO of the South Carolina Association of Community Development Corporations, a trade association for local economic development organizations. Under his leadership, SCACDC has expanded to include 70 member organizations, spurring a $200 million impact and creating more than 5,000 jobs. Rev. Mazyck is a Charleston Southern University alumnus and is pursuing a Master of Divinity degree from the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta. He’s involved with several religious organizations and is certified through the United Methodist Church. He is the recipient of several prestigious awards including the 2004 Order of the Silver Crescent, awarded by former Gov. Mark Sanford, and the 2012 “Moving South Carolina Forward Award,” awarded by the state Legislative Black Caucus.
Rosa Lee Myers
Rosa Lee Myers was a certified Nurse Assistant for the Presbyterian Home of Summerville for 24 years before retiring. She also worked within Dorchester District Two for 10 years. A 1960 graduate of Alston High School, Myers was born in Summerville and after living in New York City for several years returned to her hometown by the end of the decade. She is a mother of five. Myers was a member of Baum’s Temple A.M.E. Zion Church for 52 years; today she’s a member of Blessed Vision Ministry of Summerville.
Mathew “Bob” Profit, Sr.,
Mathew “Bob” Profit, Sr., was a civil rights leader in the Summerville community. He was a He was a life-long member of the NAACP, attended the March on Washington, was the first African American to serve on the Dorchester County Free School Board, and was the first black Summerville town policeman. He was very involved with young people to made sure to educate them on civil rights issues within the community. Born in 1923, he died in 1987.
Born in 1907, Clemmie Bailey was a teacher and an administrator within Dorchester District Two for her entire career. A Florence native, Bailey was the daughter of a doctor and was well educated; she attended South Carolina State University and later received a master’s degree. She encouraged her students to pursue excellence through life-long education and this year, 18 years after her death, she was selected to have the new Alston-Bailey Elementary School named after her.
Col. Richard A. Hayes
Retired U.S. Air Force Col. Richard A. Hayes spent 32 years serving his country in the Air Force. During his military career he worked in space satellite and electronic warfare programs. Today, Hayes works for Atlas Technologies, Inc. in North Charleston. He has been active with several organizations – including his church and his community’s homeowner’s association – in his spare time. Hayes has also served as the chair of the Dorchester County Democratic Party for four years. He and his wife Connie have two children, Megan and Scott.
Murray United Methodist
Murray United Methodist Church, 1216 Orangeburg Road, has been a part of the greater Summerville community for 150 years. Founded in 1864 toward the end of the Civil War, Murray United Methodist has been fulfilling its mission to teach, inspire and nurture its congregation. The church strives to recognize its strong African American spiritual traditions.