“Passing the Torch”

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Dr. Henrie Treadwell

On Mar. 27, the I. DeQuincey Newman Institute for Peace and Social Justice, The College of Social Work, and the African American Studies Program presented an excellent program featuring a speech by Henrie Treadwell titled, “Passing the Torch: Civil Rights Agenda for the 21st Century.”   Dr. Treadwell addressed concerns over our educational, court and particularly prison systems.  Males of color, African Americans and Hispanics, are disproportionately suspended and expelled from school; often treated by the courts, while juveniles, as adults; and disproportionately imprisoned, leading to a society in which 1 in 3 African American males born today can expect to spend time in prison during their lifetime.  It was a powerful presentation in which Treadwell challenged the audience to take action.  Her aunt Modjeska would have been so proud of her.

The College of Social Work kindly invited SCPC to mount an exhibit and, as we have once before for them, we displayed a selection from the papers of the Rev. Newman, and added materials from the papers of Dr. Treadwell’s aunt, Civil Rights leader Modjeska Simkins, and also material on Treadwell herself.  Thanks to the generosity and sense of history shared by Mrs. Simkins’ family, her papers are preserved and made available for study at SCPC.  Since their donation, Dr. Treadwell has taken an active interest in our program and become a great friend.  It has been gratifying to see her recognized for her role in desegregating USC in 1963.

I. DeQuincey Newman

The event was held at USC’s Spigner House and drew a crowd of about eighty, filling Spigner, and including an impressive showing of students enrolled in the College.  Professor Bobby Donaldson was in attendance and brought images gathered by him while heading the Columbia SC 63 desegregation project.  Emily Newman, the Rev. Newman’s daughter and donor of the Newman papers, was also in attendance.  The April release by USC Press of Prof. Sadye Logan’s book, The Spirit of an Activist: The Life and Work of I. DeQuincey Newman, was announced.  I am eager to see it.

I was very impressed by the student turnout and the close relationship evidenced by the students and the College faculty.  And Dean Anna Scheyett made most eloquent closing remarks to end a very successful evening.  I don’t know that anything I do is more satisfying than when I serve have the opportunity to serve as the public face of SCPC at an event like this.

–Contributed by Herb Hartsook

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