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I have to take time out to honor our sisterhood know by all as the Household of Ruth.  I am a little upset about the timing of this find because I was a day late and a dollar short of having the pleasure of interviewing this local heroine….She was District 22’s Most Noble Governor and her husband served as District 13’s Grand Chaplain.

Their names are Donella and John R. Wilson Sr . Her obsequie from Bostick and Tompkins reads :

Roberta Brown Wilson quietly entered into her eternal rest.

Donella Wilson was the only child of the late Henry Brown and Minnie Bryant Brown Logan.  She was born May 24, 1909 on the Peterkin Plantation in Fort Motte, SC, lands on which her grandparents and great-grandparents had worked as slaves. Her paternal grandmother read the Bible to her, taught her to pray, and to bless her food. Early on, Donella wanted to learn to read and to teach others to read and write. By the light of an oil lamp and a Sears catalog, she first learned to read. A teaching assignment took her back to those same lands in Fort Motte as a teacher in a multi-grade, one-room schoolhouse.

In 1933, Donella earned her teaching credentials from Allen University; and when she retired in 1971, she had worked all of her years teaching in the rural counties of South Carolina—serving, training, and helping to shape multiple generations of students.

Donella was married to the late Reverend John R. Wilson, Sr.  At the time of his death in 1998, they had been married 66 years and for 62 of those years, had lived and raised their four children at 1214 Heidt Street, the home they purchased in 1937.

A true Christian woman, she was a lifelong member of Union Baptist Church. Over the years, Donella served in many organizations, following and supporting her husband as he served as pastor and interim pastor in several churches in the Midlands of South Carolina. Until her health began to decline, she served as Mother of the church at Union Baptist.

For many years, Donella and her late husband were active in the Waverly Community, always working to make the community a better place to live.  She voted in every local, state, and national election since 1947.

Over her lifetime, Donella was the recipient of many honors, awards, and citations. Her many associations include: Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., lifetime membership in the NAACP, District 22 Grand Household of Ruth , Women’s Home Aid Society, the South Carolina and the Richland County Retired Teachers Associations, Allen University Alumni Association, Interdenominational Alliance of Ministers Wives and Widows, Inc., the Columbia Counsel of Garden Clubs and the Carver Garden Club.  Donella was National Superintendent Emeritus of the United Order of Tents, Southern District #4. She was a 2011 honoree of the AT&T African-American History Calendar. In 2017, she was awarded South Carolina’s highest civilian honor, the Order of the Palmetto, by Governor Henry McMaster. She left this earth at the Grand old age of 108 !!!! I can only hope and dream that somehow she saw our work on behalf of the Grand United Order of Oddfellows and we made her proud ! Now and forever she will be known……..

CHARITABLE DONATIONS MAY BE MADE TO:

The John and Donella Wilson Scholarship Fund
Allen University, 1530 Harden Street, Columbia SC 29204

 

 

 

If anyone asks……….it’s for the cause of so many of our predecessors whose souls I hope to stir, as we honor their all but forgotten legacies……..

I attended the Grand opening for an exhibit titled “Justice for All” at the University of South Carolina’s special collections department in the library. There are over 300 rarely seen telics of a time not too long ago.  These displays highlight the contributions of South Carolina’s own Black American freedom fighters.  Dr. Donaldson was the Master of Ceremonies for the evening,  for what it’s worth,  he has been a motivating force for highlights of our history as the head of African American studies at University of South Carolina.  This vast body of work, the culmination of himself and his team of dedicated archivists and researchers.  The guest speaker needs know introduction,  but I will speak with great esteem, at having the honor of conversation with Dr. Cleveland Sellers.

His story:

A three-year-old mascot; pardoned civil rights activist; author; educator; devoted husband and father. These are the roles that have indelibly shaped the legacy of Cleveland L. Sellers Jr., PhD, the eighth president of Voorhees College.

He grew up in Denmark – in the shadows of Voorhees – and became active in the 1960’s civil rights movement as an advocate for voting rights, justice and human rights. He aligned himself with veterans of the movement such as Ella Baker, Fannie Lou Hamer, Esau Jenkins, Modjeska Simpkins and Septima Clark. He was a victim of the Orangeburg Massacre that resulted in only one arrest – his. He used the detention to rededicate his life to empowering others through education – his life’s calling.

Under Dr. Sellers’ leadership, the South Carolina State Commission on Higher Education has recognized Voorhees College as the only Historically Black College and University (HBCU) to receive the 2008-2009 Service Learning Award for exemplary academic service learning programs of public and private higher education institutions. The college also made history as one of only two HBCU’s to be featured in the first Inauguration Debate Series held at the National Museum of Natural history in Washington, D.C.

Previously, Dr. Sellers served as director of the African American Studies program at the University of South Carolina. An alumnus of Shaw University, Harvard University, and the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, his affiliations include the Kosmos Club, South Carolina State Board of Education, South Carolina African American Heritage Committee, the Organization of American Historians, and Southern Historical Association. Among his numerous awards are the 2009 “Preserving Our Places in History” Lifetime Achievement Award, South Carolina African American Heritage Commission……He is a remarkable figure whom everyone should know. 

Now if that wasn’t enough,  lets get into the displays!  Did you know that Martin Luther King Jr was originally scheduled to speak in Columbia when he was killed?  Yeah, he rescheduled to make that trip to Memphis instead and paid the ultimate price for us.  There’s proof within those displays.  While viewing I met a white photographer who was ultimately beaten within inches of his life by police officers, because he was  filming the carnage ensuing because brothers and sisters were boycotting stores in downtown Columbia.  His pictures tell a story,  his films even more.

I met sons and daughters of some of our members as well.  They were proud to know that District 13 is back,  I plan to do some interviews with them so stay tuned !!! I read the names of a good bit of our brethren mentioned amongst the greats, like Luther James Battiste, Isaiah DeQuincey Newman, Judge Matthew Perry, and J.C. Artemus…..If you don’t recognize the names a quick Google search will set you straight….

There aren’t that many ancestors left so we must focus on a new generation to care for the and carry the torch…..

I won’t post anymore pictures in hopes that you will take time off to come and see it for yourselves.  For the Grand United Order of Oddfellows?! I am working with Dr. Donaldson currently to assist with telling our unique history.  Hopefully we will be able to host an event like this all our own.  Til then though I will continue to bring you the latest and greatest ,as I find new information…..

Black History is this month, March should be “Odd History Month” !!!

 

I leave as I came in the bond of Friendship Love and Truth with a touch of  Peace Hope and Prosperity…..

 

Bro. Supreme Emanuel Page jr,  Noble Grand: Wayman lodge 1339, Dist.13 Gr. Historian and National Gr. Historian for America and Jurisdiction

Our roster like the one I just recently posted on Fraternal lodge 1064, furnished the names of countless individuals, hell bent and heaven sent on getting African Americans their Just prerogatives in the Palmetto State  !!! Brother J.C. Artemus isn’t just a chip off the old block,  he’s the whole blood clot ting eh ?? Our Brother was a proud member of #BeulahLodge2083 , out of Columbia. SC. He is one of many I will mention in the upcoming days……..

From: https://aaregistry.org/story/john-artemus-an-ally-of-union-organizing/

He was born in Edgefield, S.C., of sharecropper parents. At a young age, Artemus realized that this type of farming system benefited only the white landlords and not the black tenant farmers. He was forced to leave Edgefield when he confronted his family’s landlord over unfair wages. Artemus moved to Columbia, where he worked for several of the city’s major merchants as a store clerk. He worked during the day and attended Benedict College in the evening. During these years, he learned carpentry and studied construction and contracting through correspondence courses. He worked on many homes and rental properties in both black and white communities.

After many years, Artemus joined the Columbia office of the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company. For 12 years, he worked as an insurance agent and an assistant manager. Because of the Great Depression of the 1930s, Artemus returned to carpentry, hoping to benefit from the federal building projects started by President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. But black workers were barred from these projects. Artemus and a small group of supporters organized Local 2260 of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters to represent black workers throughout central South Carolina.

Their efforts broke many racial barriers. As the union’s business agent from 1939 to 1954, Artemus assured black participation in major construction projects, such as Fort Jackson, Shaw Air Force Base, the Savannah River Site, the DuPont Fibers complex, and numerous federal housing developments from New Jersey to Florida. From 1951 to 1959, he represented the state’s black Americans as vice-
president-at-large of the South Carolina Federation of Labor Executive Board. He became the first treasurer of the newly formed Progressive Democratic party, an organization formed to provide blacks with an opportunity to take part in state and national elections.

New voters flooded polling places in 1948. “J.C.” Artemus never relaxed in his quest to register and give political insight to new African-American voters. By 1950, he was a member of the Columbia Democratic Executive Committee. This great labor leader and political reformer also served as a poll manager at one of the city’s most influential precincts from 1952 until his death in 1964.