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Dare to Dream

Happy Black History Month! We hope you enjoyed learning more about some amazing and influential people who have called South Carolina home. This week we would like to shine a light on some more amazing people who have literally changed history. 

Dr. Matilda Arabelle Evans was born in 1872, and passed away in 1935.  In 1897, she became the first African American woman licensed as a physician in South Carolina.

Mary McLeod Bethune was born in 1875, and passed away in 1955. She founded Bethune-Cookman University and under Franklin Roosevelt, she served as Special Advisor on Minority Affairs. In 1935, she founded the National Council for Negro Women to “represent the national and international concerns of Black women.”

Judge Matthew Perry, Jr. was born in 1921, and passed away in 2011. He became the first African American federal judge in South Carolina.

James A. Blake, Sr. was born in 1930, and passed away in 2006. He was the first African American member of the South Carolina State Board of Education and its first African American chair.

Lucille Simmons Whipper was born in 1928.  She is a Civil Rights pioneer who was elected to various state and local offices including the State House of Representatives where she was the first black woman ever elected from the Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester area.

Harvey B. Gantt was born in 1943. He was the first student to desegregate a South Carolina college– Clemson University. He graduated with honors and later received a Master’s Degree in architecture from MIT. The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture in Charlotte is named in his honor.

Charles Bolden, Jr. was born in 1946. He graduated from the Naval Academy, joined the US Marines, and rose to the rank of Major General. He later became an astronaut, was the first black administrator of NASA and flew four missions in space.

Dr. Ronald McNair was born in 1950, and passed away in 1986. He became the second African American to fly in space and was one of the seven astronauts who died in the Space Shuttle Challenger tragedy in 1986.

Changing the world happens when we let ourselves dream. These people took the time to dream. Then they found the courage to work towards those dreams. With hard work, determination, and imagination, anything is possible. For a few of these people the sky wasn’t even the limit! 

While we spend this month looking back on historically significant people and places, we would like to encourage you to take a moment and dream about what may be possible for your future. When you take that moment, think about what impact you may make on history. How will you make the world a better place? Future generations may thank you for it. 

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