What did activist Modjeska Simkins think about the Confederate flag flying on the State House?

You might be surprised.

SC Progressive Network Director Brett Bursey talks about the long-running debate he had with his mentor about the flag, which came off the dome in 2000 — and relocated to a more visible position on the State House lawn.

You’re invited to celebrate the late, great Modjeska Simkins at a birthday party Dec. 5

Since moving its offices into 2025 Marion St., the historic home of Modjeska Simkins, the SC Progressive Network has thrown a party in her honor on her birthday, Dec. 5. Modjeska lived in the home for 60 years, where she entertained friends such as Thurgood Marshall and others not welcome in the white-only motels of the day.

Modjeska was the larger-than-life matriarch of South Carolina’s progressive movement. She spent her long life (1899-1992) acting on her belief that civil rights were just part of a larger human rights struggle. She was ahead of her time, often the only black woman at the table, and was never shy about speaking her mind.

The public is invited to a casual drop-in on Thursday, Dec. 5, between 5:30 and 7:30pm. The event is free and open to all. Light hors d’oeuvres and refreshments; cash bar. Friends, family and colleagues will be invited to share their stories of Modjeska.

See photos from last year’s gathering.

At last year’s party James Felder read a passage about Modjeska from his book Civil Rights in South Carolina: From Peaceful Protest to Groundbreaking Rulings.

To preserve the fighting spirit of Modjeska Monteith Simkins, the SC Progressive Network is establishing a school to teach a new generation of activists the skills to be effective leaders in their communities and in their government. The school will launch in early 2014. To follow the school’s progress, join us on Facebook.

Donations for the project are always welcome, as are your ideas. Contact the Network at 803-808-3384 or network@scpronet.com.

Remembering Modjeska

SC Progressive Network Director Brett Bursey wrote this tribute to his mentor, Modjeska Monteith Simkins, upon the occasion of her death. It ran in the May 1992 issue of POINT, four years before the newspaper was archived online. Here is a scan of the piece. Click on the image to enlarge.

The article is among the research materials being assembled for the Network’s latest project, establishing the Modjeska Simkins School for Human Rights, set to launch Dec. 5, on what would have been Modjeska’s 114th birthday. Follow the progress of the project on Facebook. For more information, contact the Network at 803-808-3384 or network@scpronet.com.

bursey_modjeska_POINT

SC Progressive Network launches Modjeska Simkins School for Human Rights

To preserve the fighting spirit of Modjeska Monteith Simkins, the SC Progressive Network is establishing a school to teach a new generation of activists the skills to be effective leaders in their communities and in their government.

modjeska_simkins_jobs_peace

Modjeska was the larger-than-life matriarch of South Carolina’s progressive movement. She spent her long life (1899-1992) acting on her belief that civil rights were just part of a larger human rights struggle. She was ahead of her time, often the only black woman at the table, and was never shy about speaking her mind.

The Modjeska Simkins School for Human Rights will be based in the home she lived in for 60 years, where she entertained friends such as Thurgood Marshall and others not welcome in the white-only motels of the day. The home, at 2025 Marion St. in downtown Columbia, now serves as the Network’s office and meeting space.

A generous grant from the Richland County Conservation Commission is being used as seed money. An advisory committee has been meeting to outline a curriculum, to oversee the research and production of course materials, and to map out a funding plan to sustain the project.

The school will launch on Dec. 5, on what would have been Ms. Simkins’ 114th birthday. Mark your calendars and plan to join us for a big party. The Network has celebrated Modjeska’s birthday for many years, but this one promises to be truly special. See photos from last year’s gathering, and the year before.

To follow the school’s progress, join us on Facebook. Donations for the project are always welcome, as are your ideas. Contact the Network at 803-808-3384 or network@scpronet.com.