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Calendar to honor 12 SC trailblazers

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The 2023 South Carolina African American History Calendar, featuring the International African America Museum on its cover, will be unveiled Tuesday during a 7 p.m. celebration at the Koger Center for the Arts.  (Photo/Provided)

The 2023 South Carolina African American History Calendar will be unveiled today during a 7 p.m. celebration at the Koger Center for the Arts.

The calendar, first created in 1989, profiles individuals across the state who have had a positive, compelling effect on South Carolina and beyond.

“The 2023 calendar honorees’ commitment to improving the lives of others through education, health, the arts, advocacy, and public service are remarkable,” S.C. Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman said in a news release. “Each time readers turn the page to the next month, they will be reminded of the tremendous legacy these honorees have left to inspire future generations.”

The ceremony can be viewed online at

This year’s calendar profiles 12 honorees, including Midlands Technical College President Ronald Rhames, WIS-TV anchor Judi Gatson, and 1950s singer and songwriter Brook Benton. The calendar also features photos and descriptions of artifacts from the International African American Museum, slated to open next year in Charleston.

The 2023 calendar honorees are:

  • Thomas Barnwell, a pioneering advocate for housing and health care for Hilton Head Island residents
  • Brook Benton, a Camden native who scored 23 Top hits in a five-year span beginning in 1959
  • Bobby Doctor, Civil Rights pioneer and Columbia native
  • Judi Gatson, anchor of WIS News Live at 5 and WIS News at 6
  • Dr. Rose Gibbs, the first African American woman to obtain a medical degree from MUSC in 1973
  • Doris Greene, education and Civil Rights pioneer
  • William Jenkins, public health researcher who helped end the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment
  • Joseph Rainey, the first African American to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives
  • Ronald Rhames, president of Midlands Technical College
  • The Rollin Sisters, suffragists during the Reconstruction Era
  • Donald Sampson, Greenville’s first African American attorney
  • Freddie Stowers, Anderson County native and the nation’s only African American WWI soldier awarded the Medal of Honor

More than 25,000 calendars are printed and distributed to schools, faith-based organizations, community centers and the public to highlight South Carolina’s rich African American history. The calendar biographies are also preserved online and used by S.C. educators.

Reach Melinda Waldrop at 803-726-7542.

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