In this interview, health worker and community activist, Romina McCandless (b. 1983), talks with her mother, Mirna Bria (b. 1946), about her life experiences as immigrants. In 1984, Bria and her husband left their native Argentina and moved with their two young kids to South Africa looking for better economic opportunities. At the end of the Apartheid in 1994, the family relocated to Hilton Head, South Carolina where McCandless lived until she left to attend the College of Charleston. In the first part of the interview, McCandless and Bria remember the years they lived in South Africa, the reasons why they moved to Hilton Head, and the challenges they faced in both places. They share memories but present different explanations about the events they recall. In the second part of the interview, McCandless focuses on her community work. She explains that while working as an interpreter at MUSC, she became aware of the disparities in health care access and delivery related to race, ethnicity and socioeconomic factors that were affecting the Hispanic community. This knowledge fueled her passion for improving the health care system. She obtained a Master’s degree in Health Education and got involved with PASOs, a South Carolina nonprofit organization that focuses on enhancing the Latino community access to health services. McCandless also tells about her work as an SC ACLU Board Member and how this organization was involved in challenging the SC Immigration law SB 20. At the end, mother and daughter remember the last days of Mr. Bria. Descripción: En esta entrevista, la activista comunitaria y trabajadora de la salud Romina McCandless (1983) habla con su madre Mirta Bria (1946) acerca de sus experiencias de vida como inmigrantes. En 1984, Bria y su marido dejaron su Argentina natal y se trasladaron con sus dos hijos pequeños a Sudáfrica en busca de mejores oportunidades económicas. En 1994, después de la caída del Apartheid, la familia volvió a migrar y se estableció en Hilton Head, Carolina del Sur. En esa ciudad creció McCandless hasta que dejó la casa de sus padres para ir a estudiar al College of Charleston. En la primera parte de la entrevista, McCandless y Bria recuerdan los años que vivieron en África del Sur, las razones por las cuales llegaron a Hilton Head y los desafíos que enfrentaron en ambos lugares. Madre e hija intercambian recuerdos, pero ofrecen diferentes explicaciones y significados a los eventos que recuerdan. En la segunda parte de la entrevista, McCandless se centra en sus pasiones: el trabajo comunitario y las políticas de salud. Explica que trabajando como intérprete en MUSC se dio cuenta de las disparidades en la prestación y acceso a servicios de salud y entendió como la raza, el origen étnico y los factores socioeconómicos afectaban negativamente a la comunidad hispana. Este conocimiento alimentó su pasión por mejorar el sistema de salud. Obtuvo una Maestría en Educación para la Salud en la Universidad de Carolina del Sur y se involucró con PASOs, una organización sin fines de lucro cuya misión es mejorar el acceso de la comunidad latina a los servicios de salud. McCandless también cuenta acerca de su trabajo en la junta de directores de la Asociación Americana de los Derechos Civiles (ACLU) y como esta organización lideró el proceso para recusar la ley de inmigración de Carolina del Sur SB 20 . Al final de la entrevista Bria y McCandless recuerdan los últimos días del señor Bria.
Artist and playwright Maribel Acosta was born in Havana, Cuba in 1969. She moved in her twenties to Ecuador and since 2010 has been living in the Lowcountry with her family. Acosta has gained a reputation within the local arts community for her paintings, graphic design, community-based theatrical productions, and community service. In the interview, Acosta tells about her childhood in Havana, her early fascination with the arts, and her training as an artist in the most prestigious Cuban institutions. She also talks about her journey as an immigrant and explains that moving from Cuba to Ecuador represented a true cultural shock. Twenty years later, she decided to emigrate again, this time to the United States, with her musician husband and their two children. In the United States she struggled with learning to communicate in English, but that was not a deterrent for her creative passion and her efforts to share her work. Acosta explains that since her children became more independent she has had more time to focus on her artistic endeavors. She has exhibited her paintings in a private gallery in West Ashley and at the Saul Alexander Gallery at the Charleston County Public Library. Finally, she also tells about her project, "Hola Familia", a radio program in Spanish that is broadcast once a week by El Sol 980. Descripción: La artista y dramaturga Maribel Acosta nació en La Habana, Cuba en 1969. A los veinte años se estableció en Ecuador y desde el año 2010 reside en el Lowcountry junto con su familia. Acosta es reconocida por sus pinturas, diseño gráfico, producciones teatrales y servicio comunitario. En la entrevista cuenta sobre su infancia en La Habana, su temprana fascinación por las artes y su formación como artista en las más prestigiosas instituciones cubanas. También relata su historia como inmigrante y explica que el paso de Cuba a Ecuador representó un verdadero choque cultural. Veinte años más tarde cuando decidió radicarse en Estados Unidos junto a su marido músico y sus dos hijos tuvo que aprender a comunicarse en una nueva lengua. Este desafío no le impidió seguir creando y compartiendo su trabajo. Acosta explica que a medida que sus hijos se han vuelto más independientes ella ha encontrado más tiempo para enfocarse en sus proyectos artísticos. Ha exhibido sus pinturas en una galería privada en West Ashley y en la galería Saul Alexander de la Biblioteca Pública del Condado de Charleston. Finalmente, habla de su proyecto “Hola Familia” un programa radial en español que se emite semanalmente por El Sol 980.
Diana Salazar is a Mexican American born in Homestead, Florida. Her father and grandfather worked as labor contractors, supplying immigrant workers to farmers on the Eastern Seaboard. In the interview, Salazar remembers when she was twelve and a teacher told her “do not become a statistic Mexican girl that works in the fields and gets pregnant. […] You go get your education because you’ve got it in you.” She also recalls that as a child she witnessed an immigration raid on a labor camp in Maryland. Though she knew she was not at risk of being deported, the events left a deep impression upon her. Around the age of sixteen, her parents moved to Orlando and stopped being migrant workers because they did not want this lifestyle for their children. Later, they moved to Hollywood, South Carolina where Salazar completed her high school senior year at Baptist Hill High. She returned to Orlando, Florida where married her first husband. She came back to the Lowcountry in the 1980s with her second husband and first child. Salazar tells about her extensive work experience and activism. In 2006, when massive immigrant protests were held around the country to raise awareness about the struggles of undocumented individuals and demand comprehensive immigration reform, three thousand people congregated in Marion Square in Charleston. Salazar tells she organized the march with the guidance and support of her cousin Emma Lozano, a Chicago activist, but she found no support from local politicians. Salazar is proud of her achievements, among them being the recipient of the Martin Luther King Picture Award. Descripción: Diana Salazar nació en Miami, Florida. Su padre y abuelo trabajaron como contratistas, supliendo de mano de obra de trabajadores inmigrantes a los agricultores de la costa este de Estados Unidos. En la entrevista, Salazar recuerda dos eventos que la marcaron siendo niña. El primero fue una conversación con un profesor que le dijo "no te conviertas en una estadística, otra chica mexicana que trabaja en el campo y se embaraza joven. [...] ve y edúcate". El otro suceso fue una redada de inmigración de la que fue testigo en un campo de trabajo en Maryland; a pesar de que sabía que no estaba en peligro de ser deportada quedó profundamente impactada. Cuando tenía aproximadamente dieciséis años sus padres decidieron dejar la vida migrante y se establecieron en Orlando, Florida. Más tarde se trasladaron a Hollywood, Carolina del Sur y fue allí, en la escuela Baptist Hill donde Salazar curso su último año de la preparatoria. Siendo muy joven se casó y fue a vivir Orlando con su marido. En los años ochenta regresó a Carolina del Sur con su segundo marido y su primer hijo y desde entonces ha residido en el Lowcountry. En la entrevista, Salazar cuenta sobre su amplia experiencia laboral y su activismo. En el año 2006, cuando miles de personas marcharon en distintas ciudades del país para crear conciencia sobre las luchas de los indocumentados y para exigir una reforma legislativa, alrededor de tres mil personas se congregaron en Marion Square en Charleston. Salazar explica que fue ella quien organizó la marcha, que recibió el apoyo de su prima Emma Lozano, una activista de Chicago, pero que en cambio, no encontró repuesta positiva en los políticos locales. Salazar se siente orgullosa de sus logros entre los cuales figura de haber sido elegida para recibir un premio por su trabajo en la comunidad llamado Martin Luther King Picture Award.
Lydia Cotton was born in Puerto Rico in 1962. She moved to the Lowcountry in the 1980s. A hard-working woman, her life changed dramatically in 2003 after surviving brain cancer. She was unable to maintain regular employment, but she was determined to make the best of her life. She concentrated her talents and energies on helping the growing Hispanic community in the City of North Charleston. Soon, she became the liaison between the Hispanic Community and the Department of Police of the City of North Charleston. Thanks to this partnership and strong community work, the level of crime in the city reduced significantly. Cotton explains how she has built trust with the residents and authorities over the years and remembers how she and other community workers organized the first community meetings in Spanish in the City of North Charleston. Cotton reflects about the need for community involvement and participation in civic issues, how she understands leadership, and talks proudly about the volunteer work done by a group of Hispanic residents called “Dame la Mano.” Finally, she tells about her last project, a weekly radio program in Spanish that she sees as a new channel to inform, educate, and help people to access the resources they need. Descripción: Lydia Cotton nació en Puerto Rico en 1962 y en los años ochenta se estableció en el Lowcountry. Independiente y trabajadora, su vida cambió drásticamente en el año 2003 cuando le diagnosticaron un tumor cerebral. Afortunadamente se recuperó, pero quedó incapacitada para trabajar en forma regular. Desde entonces concentró sus talentos y energía en ayudar a la creciente comunidad hispana de la Ciudad de North Charleston. Pronto se convirtió en intermediaria y mediadora entre la comunidad hispana y el Departamento de Policía de la Ciudad de North Charleston. Gracias a este trabajo colaborativo el nivel de crimen en la ciudad se redujo notablemente. Cotton explica la naturaleza de su trabajo y cómo fue el proceso de ganarse la confianza de los vecinos y las autoridades. También recuerda como ella y otros trabajadores de la ciudad organizaron las primeras reuniones comunitarias en español en la Ciudad de North Charleston. Explica cuál es su concepción de liderazgo y discurre acerca de la importancia de la participación en temas cívicos. Habla con orgullo de un grupo de vecinos que han formado una organización sin fines de lucro llamada "Dame la mano". Finalmente, cuenta acerca de su nuevo proyecto “Hola Familia” un programa radial semanal y en español que busca informar y educar a la comunidad.
Lucia (Lucy) Cordero was born in 1941 in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. When she was twenty-one, she married Angel Cordero. They lived and raised their children in the city of San Juan. Her husband worked with the Federal Aviation Administration as a traffic controller and in 1982, he was transferred to Charleston, South Carolina. They moved with their three young adult children and got established in Goose Creek, South Carolina. Cordero describes Charleston in the 1980s, stating the Latino community was almost non-existent. Cordero remembers she met her first friend at Sunday mass at the Naval Weapon Station's church, and thanks to her, they connected with other Latino families. Soon, they started gathering to share celebrations and to keep their cultural heritage alive. This small circle expanded to more military families and gave birth to the Tri-County Hispanic American Association. This organization, the oldest Latino organization in the Lowcountry, was later instrumental in the organization of the first Latino festivals in the area. The Catholic faith was very central to community life, and Cordero remembers their efforts to have Spanish Sunday mass celebrated in the Charleston area. Finally, Cordero reflects on the growing Latino community in the region and the challenges the community faces. Descripción: Lucia (Lucy) Cordero nació en 1941 en Arecibo, Puerto Rico. A los veintiún años se casó con Ángel Cordero. La pareja se estableció en la ciudad de San Juan y allí criaron a sus tres hijos. Angel trabajaba para la Administración Federal de Aviación como controlador de tráfico. Cuando en 1982 fue trasladado al aeropuerto de Charleston en Carolina del Sur la familia se radicó en Goose Creek. Cordero describe Charleston en los años ochenta y afirma que la comunidad latina de tan pequeña, era casi inexistente. Sin embargo, encontraron a su primera amiga en la misa dominical en la base naval (Naval Weapon Station) y fue así que conocieron a otras parejas con las que empezaron a reunirse para compartir su cultura y celebraciones. Tanto disfrutaban estos encuentros que su pequeño círculo pronto se amplió a más familias militares. Los Cordero fueron socios fundadores de una organización llamada The Tri-County Hispanic American Association. Esta organización desempeñó un papel decisivo en la organización de los primeros festivales latinos de la zona. Cordero recuerda también que estas familias trabajaron arduamente para que hubiera misas en español en el área de Charleston. Finalmente, reflexiona sobre el crecimiento de la comunidad latina en el Lowcountry y los desafíos que esta enfrenta.
Paula Tejeda was born in San German, Puerto Rico in 1946. Besides her daily job as Charleston School of Law Associate Law Librarian and Head of Technical Services, Tejeda is the president of Círculo Hispanoamericano de Charleston. In the interview, she remembers her childhood, her college years, and her vast career as a professional librarian in Puerto Rico, Santo Domingo, Florida, and South Carolina. In 1985, she moved with her husband to Santo Domingo because he was employed at Gulf and Western Industries. Four years later, they relocated to Florida and lived there until her two sons reached adulthood. Then, she received a proposal to join the newly opened Charleston School of Law and decided to accept the challenge. In 2004, Tejeda and her husband moved to the Lowcountry and were surprised to find a very diverse Hispanic population in terms of nationalities of origin. Soon, Tejeda and her husband joined the Círculo Hispanoamericano de Charleston. Tejeda describes the history, mission, and goals of Círculo Hispanoamericano de Charleston, an organization she has fully embraced, serving as treasurer and president. Descripción: Paula Tejeda nació en San Germán, Puerto Rico en 1946. Se radicó en Carolina del Sur en el año 2004 para desempeñarse como subdirectora y jefa de Servicios Técnicos de la Escuela de Derecho de Charleston (Charleston Law School). En la entrevista, Tejeda recuerda su infancia en Puerto Rico, sus años en la universidad y su vasta carrera profesional en Puerto Rico, Santo Domingo, Florida y Carolina del Sur. En el año 1981, Tejeda y su esposo se establecieron en Santo Domingo donde él trabajaba para la compañía azucarera Gulf and Western. Cuatro años más tarde se trasladaron a Florida. Cuando sus hijos crecieron y dejaron la casa paterna, Tejeda recibió la propuesta de unirse al cuerpo profesional de la nueva Escuela de Derecho de Charleston. En Carolina del Sur, encontró una población hispana diferente a la de Florida, una comunidad que ella describe como mucho más diversa en términos de nacionalidades de origen. Al poco tiempo de llegados, ella y su marido se unieron al Círculo Hispanoamericano de Charleston, organización en la que se ha desempeñado como tesorera y presidenta. Finalmente, Tejeda describe la historia, misión y objetivos de esta institución.
Erin McKee was born in Brooklyn, New York. Right after college, Mckee started her career as a flight attendant with National Airlines. When this company went bankrupt she joined Tower Air. In this interview, Mckee recalls some of the most dangerous, most difficult, and most satisfying moments she experienced working on international flights. In the ‘80s when she started working with the airline industry, flight attendants were expected to look attractive, they have to be slim, have their nails done, and their her hair up. It took time and work to change the requirements for applicants to meet the real focus of the position ‘the main reason that a flight attendant is on the airplane is if there's an emergency, to get you out of that airplane safely. It's not to look good. It's not to serve you meals really. You're there by law, federal regulations, to get people out of a plane in a certain amount of time if there's an emergency." At the end of '80s early '90s McKee and her coworkers organized a union to demand better regulations regarding the scheduling and number of hours they were forced to work. She became the secretary/treasurer of her union and was part of the negotiating committee. Because of her experience, she went to Washington, D. C. to testify before a legislative subcommittee about duty time legislation. Mckee moved to Charleston in 1996 and around 1998 Tower Air closed and she was out of work. She thought that her vast experience with unions would help her to find a job quickly but her background was not seen as an asset in a right to work state. She finally started working with American Income Life Insurance and then with Electrical Workers' Building Trades Local IBEW776. In 2013 she became the President of the State Labor Council (AFL- CIO).
Civil rights leader and community activist William Saunders was born in 1935 and has resided most of his life in Johns Island, South Carolina. In this interview, Saunders reflects on the economic and cultural changes he has witnessed over the years. Many of the changes had a negative impact on the health and life expectancy of the African American community. Regarding land ownership and access to natural resources, he states- both poor white and black landowners lost their properties because of shark loan practices. He criticizes government policies that facilitated city annexations, profuse housing development, and promoted tourism industry without considering their impact in the life of folks residing in rural and urban areas of Charleston. He thinks organic farming is a positive practice but one that does not benefit poor families. Saunders states he keeps working on his community as a member of the Gullah/ Geechee Commission. He also co-chairs with Tommy Legare the organization Concerned Citizens of the Sea Island, which is against the extension of I-526. Saunders states that activism can carry a heavy toll. "If you got the knowledge, and you care, then you have to suffer. You really have to suffer because you’re the one that gets involved."
Charles Moore, a member and business manager of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 776, was born in Florence, South Carolina, on July 19th, 1961. Soon after, his family moved to the Isle of Palms, where he spent his youth. Directly after graduating from high school, Moore joined the Marine Corps and served from 1979 to 1983. He spent most of his service time overseas, first in Japan and later in Korea. After completing his years of service at the age of twenty, Moore attended Embry-Riddle College in Daytona, Florida, aspiring to become a helicopter pilot. However, he returned to South Carolina before finishing his training and, needing a steady job, decided pursue a civilian job and continued on to join the local union. He explains that transitioning from military life to the union was not difficult, as both systems provided similar structure and order. Moore talks about IBEW, the union which represents electricians and workers of the communication and broadcasting industries, and describes its role in negotiating with contractors and ensuring benefits for the workers. His pride in his work with the union, in his trade, and in the Charleston-based projects on which he has participated is evident. He says proudly, “I can walk around here and see every building I worked in. I’m a part of the community. I love being a part of the community. My children get tired of it because every time we ride around, [I say], ‘Yeah, I built that. I built that.’”
"Herbert Lee Frazier was born at the Charleston Naval Base Hospital. The son of a Navy cook, Herbert grew up wandering King Street, enjoying cartoons, and maturing under the love and support of his close-knit family. Frazier also describes his youth and the neighborhood he grew up in, including the damage it suffered from Hurricane Hugo and the following gentrification. Frazier attended The University of South Carolina, majoring in journalism. Although he gravitated towards an advertising career, he found himself working as an intern at The Post and Courier in a newly integrated news room. Frazier notes that his career in journalism allowed him to “follow his curiosity.” Frazier went on to work at papers such as The State Newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, Louisiana, The Dallas Times-Herald, in Dallas, Texas, and The Charlotte Observer in Charlotte, North Carolina. In 1990, he was named the journalist of the year by the South Carolina Press Association in recognition of his work with the South Carolina Association of Black Journalists. Frazier also recalls such experiences as teaching at Rhodes University in South Africa, participating in journalism organizations, and leading training sessions in developing countries with the State Department. In the interview, Frazier reflects on the ethics, integrity, and technological advancements in journalism . He also talks about the challenges he faced as an African American journalist and remembers some of the most interesting stories he wrote. "
Luz Alvarado was born in Mexico in 1984. She is a single mother of two, a college student, a full-time worker, and a volunteer. In the interview, Alvarado tells about growing up in poverty and how America resonated in her young mind as the remedy for her family problems. When she was fourteen, she was sent to spend a few weeks with her grandmother who lived in a small town. There she met a man much older than her and was flattered by his attentions. He told her he was on his way to the United States and invited her to go. She decided to go without letting anybody know, excited about the prospect of achieving the American dream, and seeing her brother who was living in Florida. Soon, she realized this man had not been honest about his intentions, but by then she was crossing the border. In the interview, Alvarado tells about the complex relationship she had with this man who became her husband and the father of her two daughters. It took her several years but finally, she was able to leave the relationship, and since then she has been the sole provider for her kids. Because she was a victim of criminal abuse, she was able to apply and obtain a visa that allows her to stay and legally work in the United States. Alvarado says that changing her legal status enormously improved her quality of life; she is no longer living in fear of being deported and separated from her children. Finally, she talks about being a Meals on Wheels’ volunteer, helping her church, and the dreams she has for her future and her daughters’. Descripción: Luz Alvarado nació en México en 1984. Cada día, Alvarado cumple muchos papeles diferentes: es madre soltera de dos hijas, estudiante universitaria, trabajadora de tiempo completo y voluntaria en su comunidad. En la entrevista, Alvarado recuerda que creció en la pobreza y que los Estados Unidos resonaban en su mente joven como el remedio para los problemas de su familia. Cuando tenía catorce años, fue enviada a pasar unas semanas con su abuela que vivía en un rancho. Allí se encontró con un hombre mayor que ella que pronto la hizo sentirse halagada con sus atenciones. Le dijo que estaba en camino a Estados Unidos y la invitó a ir, insistiendo en que debía decidirse pronto. Alvarado pensó que era su oportunidad para trabajar y ganar dólares para ayudar a su familia y también de volver a ver a su hermano que vivía en la Florida. Sin dejarle saber a nadie, emprendió el viaje. No había pasado mucho tiempo cuando se dió cuenta de las verdaderas intenciones de su acompañante y se arrepintió de su decisión, pero para entonces, ya estaba cruzando la frontera. En la entrevista, Alvarado habla de la compleja relación que mantuvo con este hombre que se convirtió en su marido y el padre de sus dos hijas. Cuando finalmente fue capaz de dejar esa relación abusiva se convirtió en el único sostén de sus hijas. Debido a que fue víctima de abuso criminal pudo aplicar y obtener una visa que le permitió quedarse y trabajar legalmente en Estados Unidos. Alvarado explica que adquirir documentos para residir y trabajar legalmente ha mejorado enormemente su calidad de vida, que gracias a ello ya no vive con el temor a ser deportada y separada de sus hijas. Por último, cuenta de su trabajo voluntario en Meals on Wheels of Charleston y en su iglesia y acerca de los sueños que tiene para su futuro y el de sus hijas.
JoDee Robinson (b.1969), a child of Cuban immigrants, was born in New York and grew up in New Jersey. Her father owned a restaurant that was at the center of family life. There, Robinson learned to work, made friends, and met her future husband, Richard Robinson. In the interview, Robinson tells about her childhood and teen years as a first-generation American child, and reflects on how their parent’s background, language, and culture colored her experiences. She married an Irish man and soon they realized had very different expectations about roles and responsibilities in the family. Soon after marrying, the Robinsons decided to move south. They lived for a while in Miami, Florida, but finally got established in Summerville, South Carolina. Robinson worked as an interpreter at Midland Park Elementary and did volunteer work with a Hispanic Methodist Pastor. She experienced firsthand the needs of the children and families and was moved to give a creative and positive answer. With that goal, the Robinsons created the nonprofit organization, Nuevos Caminos. In 2011, they were deeply involved in challenging the South Carolina Immigration Law SB 20. Robinson says she was outraged because she realized her own father, a Cuban-American with a strong accent, was at risk to be singled out, stopped and detained if the law passed with full force. In the interview, she also talks about the racism she has encountered while living in South Carolina. Descripción: Hija de inmigrantes cubanos, JoDee Robinson (1969) nació en Nueva York y se crio en Nueva Jersey. Su padre era dueño de un restaurante que fue el centro de la vida familiar. Allí, Robinson aprendió a trabajar, hizo amigos y conoció a su futuro marido, Richard Robinson. Robinson reflexiona acerca de sus años de infancia y adolescencia como hija de inmigrantes y explica como la historia de sus padres, su cultura y lenguaje matizaron todas estas vivencias tempranas. Al poco tiempo de casados, los Robinson decidieron mudarse al sur. Residieron por un tiempo en Miami, Florida pero finalmente se radicaron en Summerville, Carolina del Sur. Robinson trabajó como intérprete en la escuela Midland Park e hizo trabajo voluntario con un pastor de la Iglesia Metodista. Caminando los barrios fue testigo de las necesidades de los niños y las familias. Así nació su determinación de dar una repuesta apropiada y para hacerlo fundó junto a su esposo la organización sin fines de lucro, Nuevos Caminos. En 2011, los Robinson participaron activamente en la recusación de la ley de inmigración de Carolina del Sur SB 20. Robinson cuenta que el proyecto de ley la afectó de manera personal porque se dio cuenta de que su propio padre, un cubano-americano que habla inglés con acento extranjero, corría el riesgo de ser detenido y maltratado si la ley se aprobaba en toda su extensión. Finalmente, cuenta sobre el racismo que ella ve en Carolina del Sur y cuales son sus planes para el futuro.
Born in Newberry, South Carolina on August 21, 1933, Marlene O'Bryant-Seabrook calls herself "an educator who quilts". In 1975, Seabrook became the first African American and second women to join The Citadel as full time faculty and in 2009 she was one of the forty-four fiber artists chosen to participate in an exhibition to honor president Obama's first inauguration. Her quilt entitled "They Paved the Way" and many others she has created are featured in national and international publications and exhibits. A third generation educator, in this interview, she asserts that growing up among teachers left a indelible mark on her which guided her career choices and shaped her attitude towards life's challenges. "If I'm prepared to do something, then the rest of it does not make any difference. It never occurred to me that my being black or female should have stopped me from doing something." Seabrook attended Avery Normal Institute and then pursued higher education at South Carolina State, The Citadel, and finally the University of South Carolina where she completed her Ph.D. During her tenure at The Citadel, she was treated with respect. However,she taught mostly graduate students and only after a year of employment she was allowed to work with cadets, which she did in a very limited fashion. After leaving The Citadel in 1980, she returned to Charleston County Public School System where she worked until she retired "from employment but not from work."
Gerald G. Mishoe was born in Conway, South Carolina in 1949. He was the son of Conway firefighter Julian Grant Mishoe, who sparked Gerald Mishoe’s love of firefighting. He spent much of his childhood with his father at the firehouse and watching him fight fires. Mishoe moved to Charleston, South Carolina in 1964. After graduating from high school he joined the St. Andrews Parish fire department to work with his father. After retiring and since the death of nine Charleston firefighters at the Sofa Superstore in 2007, Mishoe has been working with the Lowcountry Firefighter Support Team, which helps firefighters cope with the emotional burden associated with their profession. The team has supported nearly six thousand firefighters and their family members. In the interview, Mishoe tells about fires that stand out in his memory, the occasions he felt his life was in danger, and the changes he has witnessed over decades in the firefighting practice. He explains advances in technology have driven some changes, but others have been driven by tragedies, such us the Sofa Super Store fire in Charleston. He details things that went wrong during the fatal 2007 store fire. He states that a thorough evaluation of those failures has lead to improvements in safety protocols, accountability, equipment, and training. Mishoe also reflects on his journey learning to acknowledge his feelings and the effects of untreated trauma on himself and his family. He states that the ‘machismo’ common among first responders constitutes a huge risk for them. He asserts the importance of the work that Lowcountry Firefighter Support Team is doing, helping firefighters to stay in the job and increasing the quality of life. Mishoe’s son carries on the family tradition as a Charleston firefighter.
Susan Breslin was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. In the summer of 1963, she joined The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) in Harlem after graduating from the University of Toronto. In recalling her time with the organization, Breslin talks about the intense work she performed with the TV Image Campaign, a movement devised by CORE to force major companies to use integrated advertisement. She also discusses the significance of the August, 1963 March on Washington, stating, “I think everybody who participated in the March on Washington—and they came from everywhere—walked away knowing they were part of something huge.” Breslin’s interview dives into the rich depths of CORE’s history; specifically the evolution of its ideology. Breslin discusses the controversy that bubbled up when some CORE leaders advocated for separation instead of integration, and the resulting break that led her to leave the group in the fall of 1965. Breslin also shares her memories of major historical events such as the funerals of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. She reflects on how her participation in the civil rights movement impacted her personal relationships, discusses the emotional quality of those times, and encourages her audience to find the issue of their time and become involved. Breslin believes, as she says, “Every little step creates controversy, but the controversy does not last. What lasts is the door that has been opened.” Later, Breslin moved to South Carolina, and now resides in Folly Beach, where she continues to be active in local political issues.
Civil rights activist and educator Dr. Luther Seabrook was born in Charleston, South Carolina on December 5, 1928. He spent his childhood in downtown Charleston until his parents enrolled him at Lincoln Academy, a boarding school for black children in North Carolina. After finishing high school, he went to West Virginia for his undergraduate studies, obtained a master’s degree in education at Columbia University, and later earned a doctorate in education administration from the University of Massachusetts. In his interview, Seabrook remembers his experiences with the civil rights movement in the 1960s. He explains that, after facing the pervasiveness of racism and discrimination at Columbia University and from New York City officials, he joined the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). With CORE, Seabrook worked to bring about change primarily through the housing and education initiatives. In the summer of 1964, he volunteered to go to Mississippi and collaborate with the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), despite the disappearance of three civil rights activists. SNCC leaders sent him to Hattiesburg, where he remained and worked with the Freedom Schools until the end of the summer. Seabrook also recalls his other activities, such as his participation in the Democratic Convention in Atlantic City, attendance of the Selma march, and involvement in a march on Washington. But Seabrook’s impact didn’t stop at civil rights; he also had a successful career in education. In his roles as both a principal and a superintendent, Seabrook was a central figure in the development of the New York and Boston school systems. For his work, he received numerous accolades and awards from various parties. Though Seabrook worked mostly in the North, he returned to South Carolina and worked at the State Department of Education with Dr. Barbara Nielsen in the 1990s.
Jacquelyn Elaine Venning was born in Charleston, South Carolina, where she spent most of her life. Venning describes being raised in a Christian family and her experience in private schools, including Sacred Heart Catholic School and Bishop England, where she was educated until eleventh grade. Venning graduated from Burke High School in 1983. Venning recalls her first job as a shampoo girl, which she got in sixth grade and continued to work at through her schooling. After high school, Venning relates how she fell in love and got married. Her husband then joined the military, which relocated them around the world. Venning describes her experience living internationally in Germany, and in Texas and Georgia before returning to Charleston in 1992. Since then, she has been working with Aramark at The Citadel, first serving in the Mess Hall and later serving as a supervisor in the Daniel Library Java City. In her interview, Venning recalls her apprehension of working in The Citadel’s male-only environment. But she states that her fears quickly dissipated and describes the cadets as having always been gentle and respectful with her and her job enjoyable. Venning recounts the many institutional changes she has experienced during her than twenty-plus years working at The Citadel, including the deeply controversial admission of Sharon Faulkner to the school and later the full inclusion of women to the Corps. Venning concludes with how the food industry has changed over the years and the attempts to unionize The Citadel food workers.
Born in Charleston, SC on September 11, 1976 and raised in nearby Pinopolis, Lindsay Holler is a singer, composer, and guitar player who has additionally been a strong advocate for local musicians and a fixture of the music scene. In this interview she recalls her musical influences, including her parents’ mainstream pop records and her brother’s enthusiasm for the Black Crows. In addition to playing flute in the middle school band and taking piano lessons, Holler also studied voice with opera singer June Bonner. That association led to a visit to Broadway at age 13, where she saw Gregory Hines and Phylicia Rashad in Jelly’s Last Jam. “I kind of fell in love with New York a little bit, and I was like, oh, man, that’s where I want to go,” Holler recalls. Following her high school graduation, Holler studied jazz at the Berklee College of Music before returning to Charleston to complete her musical education at the College of Charleston. She has recorded and performed with several locally-based groups, including the Dirty Kids, the Western Polaroids, and Matadero. Though often in the spotlight as the lead singer, Holler is ambivalent about the attention that it brings her and worries that that ambivalence may undermine her success: “Everybody is me, me, me, show me, let me show you, you know, it’s such a prevalent posture nowadays, where it’s in your face, and who’s going to be the loudest, and who is going to be the most out there, and that’s never been my thing. But I worry do you have to be like that in order to be successful?”
Anthony Wright, renowned locally as "Tony the Peanut Man" was born in Savannah, Georgia on December 12, 1952. He grew up in the segregated Maryville community with his mother and five siblings. He attended Wallace High School and following school integration he went to Moultrie High. He was suspended for a year because he fought with a Caucasian student. He decided to quit school and instead earn his GED. In 1973 enlisted in the United States Army. After his service, Wright was employed by Gulfstream Aerospace in Savannah, and Lockheed in Charleston. When Lockheed closed, Wright struggled to get a good paying job. Mr. Marion Howard encouraged him to try selling peanuts in the Charleston market. Reluctantly, he decided to give it a try. At the beginning he was shy and other sellers in the market urged him to "be more like Mr. Ben," who was old and beloved peanut seller. Wright created a song and dance that helped him to increase sales. Wright sang, "I got some boiled and I got some toasted, got some stewed and I got some roasted. Oh, yeah, peanut man, uh-huh, catch him if you can because I got the right one baby, uh-huh." Wright's friendly and personable style made him successful and lead to appearances on television and a film. Moreover, his attitude and community involvement earned him the love and recognition of his fellow Charlestonians. Wright's entrepreneur spirit took him to write a comic book, Peanut Man. He used it as a tool to persuade children to follow their dreams. He also looked for ways to expand his business. In the interview he describes his struggles as an African-American vendor to be allowed to sell peanuts at The Citadel, Joe Riley Stadium, and the Daniel Island stadium and also the challenges he experienced when a fire destroyed his business and when a deal to sell can peanuts ended badly. In the interview he asserts being grateful for his life experiences and looking at the future with enthusiasm, "my goal is to be the number one peanut man in the world ... I just want to leave something behind that people can appreciate."
Lutheran Pastor Thulisiwe "Thulie" Beresford was born in Vryheid, South Africa on February 2, 1962. The third of seven children, she grew up in a devoted Lutheran family under the racist system of the apartheid. At age of nine, Beresford and one of her brothers were sent to Swaziland to live with their maternal grandmother and continue their education. Beresford excelled in math and science and in 1984 she graduated with a Bachelor Degree in Biology and a concurrent Diploma in Education. She taught for two years in South Africa and after receiving a scholarship moved to the United States to study at Ohio University in Athens where she earned a Master Degree in Biology. She went back to South Africa for two years and returned to USA to attend the seminary. In this interview, Beresford explains the policies of racial segregation imposed for the apartheid and how they impacted the life of her family and community. She also recalls episodes of violence, persecution, and repression she witnessed when growing up. Beresford also describes her experiences as a South African immigrant in USA. Finally, she tells about her call to become a Lutheran minister and reflects about balancing her roles as a pastor, mother, and wife.
This panel brought together for the first time in the City of Charleston a group of Jewish Cadets who shared their memories in a public forum (September 29, 2013). The program was possible thanks to the collaboration between the Jewish Studies Program at The College of Charleston and The Citadel. Martin Perlmutter introduced the program and Dr. Sam Hines introduced the moderator, Dr. Joelle Neulander. The event was dedicated to the memory of Maurice Fox, Citadel Class 1953. The panelists recall their experiences as Jewish cadets at The Citadel and reflect on how those experiences shaped their lives when they left the institution. All together the panelists experience span over seven decades. They provide a glimpse into the history of The Citadel from the WWII years to the present. The panelist include, Bernard Warshaw, Class of 1942, Bernard Solomon, Class of 1947, Les Bergen, Class of 1969, Steve Josias, Class of 1970, Alan Reyner, Class of 1972 and Jonathan Rosen, Class of 2014.
Bill Carson was born in Baltimore, Maryland, in October of 1976, and when he was ten years old his family relocated to James Island, South Carolina. It was around this time that Carson become interested in playing guitar. Carson talks about his formative years, the music that inspired him, and the people who supported him. He reminices how the Jump Little Children’s band members trained and nurtured him and describes them as being “like big brothers” to him and many other young local musicians. Despite participation in a band during his senior year of high school, Carson did not have plans to pursue a music career, and enrolled at the College of Charleston to study philosophy and art. After graduation, Carson began work in a glass shop, but continued playing in different bands in his free time. He remembers his first show, an opening for the band The Groovy Cools which drew a laughably small audience, and his first serious show with a band called Bud Collins. Carson recalls some of his best experiences playing in an ensemble, especially his participation in the Groundhog Concert Day at the Halsey Institute, which brought many of his favorite local musicians together. When asked whether he thought Charleston had a special sound, he stated that he considered Charleston to be special due to its sense of community. Carson recalls the instrumental trio he formed with Ron Wiltrout and Nathan Koci, known as The Opposite of Train, and his 2011 project to document indigenous music on Johns Island. Today, Carson is known for a vast career that includes writing, recording, and performing music, as well as for his collaborative projects and commissioned productions. He also finds time to be a full time elementary school teacher in his community.
"Longshoreman and civil rights unionist Leonard Riley, Jr. was born on August 27th, 1952, in Charleston, South Carolina. A lifelong resident of West Ashley, Riley’s family owned several acres of land which they farmed. To supplement the income from farming, his father worked seasonal jobs to be able to provide for his five children. It was in these seasonal jobs that Leonard Riley, Sr., became the first family member to work the waterfront. Later, his sons, Leonard and Kenneth, followed in his footsteps and would later become union leaders at the ILA local 1422. Riley relays his own introduction to longshoring, describing how he began at the age of eighteen, during the summer before his first year of college. His first day at work left an indelible memory. Riley recalls, ""Yeah, that was—that first day was unbelievable. I thought I was going to die, literally, cramping—all the bottoms of your feet cramping. I'll never forget that day: hands chafed out by getting blisters on the hands. But these guys were used to it, so it didn't bother them. They dragged me through that day."" After beginning his studies at the College of Charleston the following fall, Riley worked at the docks each summer. Though he earned a bachelor’s degree in Biology, after graduation Riley realized he truly enjoyed his job at the port. In addition to providing a good income, the job helped him to emerge as a young leader among his co-workers. Reflecting on years past, Riley stresses how drastically the maritime industry has changed due to automatization and stresses the union's crucial role in protecting the workers in a changing landscape. Amongst his memories, the 2002 strike against Nordana shipping stands out. Riley tells of the national and international attention- and international assistance- the conflict generated. He describes how the clash was resolved with the help and solidarity of Spanish dockworkers who forced the company to negotiate. Riley concludes and explains that longshoring has historically been a black industry that can be traced through the years back to slavery."
The Mayor of Charleston discusses the Making Cities Livable International Conference in Charleston in February 2000. He emphasizes the importance of farmers and farmers' markets in Charleston. Riley explains the implementation of an urban growth boundary on John?s Island, which prevents any urban or suburban type developments beyond the boundary. Riley suggests that the urban growth boundary protects farmers from the infringement of developers.
Bobby Richardson was born in Sumter, South Carolina on August 19, 1935. While playing high school and American Legion baseball, he was discovered by the New York Yankees and after his high school graduation he joined them. He played two years on the Yankees' minor league farm team and at nineteen he participated in his first professional game. Richardson played with the Yankees for ten years from 1955 to 1966 and won nine out of ten World Series. Richardson earned several awards and holds still-standing records. Following his retirement from professional baseball Richardson coached the University of South Carolina Gamecocks from 1970-1976. In the interview Richardson recalls his friendships with baseball legends Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris; he shares his opinions about the present-day game of baseball, including length of the season, finances, and steroid use. Finally he reflects about the importance of his faith and the impact it has on his personal and professional life. When asked about his best year in baseball he choose 1962, stating "It was just one of those years when everything seemed to go my way."
Robert “Rabbit” Lockwood grew up on the South Battery in Charleston, South Carolina. In his interview, Lockwood describes his long and rich family history, which dates back to the earliest Europeans in South Carolina, including two family members who were blockade runners for the Confederacy during the Civil War. Lockwood’s family tradition of seafarers includes his grandfather and great-uncle who were harbor pilots in Charleston. During his early years, he attended Gaud School for Boys and Charleston High before majoring in Civil Engineering at The Citadel. After graduation, Lockwood became an apprentice harbor pilot, working at the Charleston Harbor until he retired at the age of seventy. In his reflections, Lockwood considers himself lucky to have been able to keep this job and avoid the fate of many of his classmates, who served in Vietnam. He also shares some of his more memorable experiences as a harbor pilot.
John Asbury Zeigler, Jr., Citadel Class of 1932, was born in 1912 in Manning, South Carolina. He was a poet, philanthropist, and co-owner of the Book Basement, a bookstore which once operated on the present campus of the College of Charleston. His family had deep roots in Charleston. His parents were Virginia Elfe and John Zeigler. His family lived many years in Florence, where his father founded a newspaper, the Florence Morning News. He recalls his earliest childhood memory with a poem he wrote when he was eight years old. He states the best thing about attending The Citadel was meting his roommate, the man that later would marry his sister and whose family gave him great joy. Zeigler Jr. explains that he survived by avoiding bringing attention to himself. He was active in the campus culture scene: founded The Citadel literary magazine and was introduced to the Poetry Society of South Carolina by General Days. After graduation, Zeigler Jr. worked as a teacher in Charleston and then moved to Washington, D.C., where he resided for several years until his return to Charleston to focus on his writing. Zeigler Jr. states he was always loved and accepted by his family for who he was, and that his family equally embraced his long-life partner, Edwin Peacock. He tells about their love story with two poems he asks the interviewer to read and remembers how they kept their relationship during WW II. Finally, Zeigler Jr. talks about the Book Basement bookstore they co-owned for twenty-five years at 9 College Street, the prominent visitors they hosted, and the reasons why it became an iconic cultural space in Charleston. The transcript includes several annotations by Mary Jo Potter, Zeigler’s niece.