COLUMBIA, S.C. – S.C. Rep. Terry Alexander of Florence will help facilitate the Reconciliation Ride on Tuesday.
Thomas Mullikin Sr. asked for the help of Alexander and state Sen. Mia McLeod to facilitate the bus ride.
The ride will begin with a dinner reception and vigil on Monday evening at Mullikin’s home to honor the South Carolina Legislative Black Caucus and those who lost their lives at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston on June 17, 2015.
Cleveland Sellers and Harold Watson “Trey” Gowdy will be the keynote speakers.
Sellers is the former Director of African American Studies at the University of South Carolina and the former president of Voorhees College. He was one of the leaders of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee during the Civil Rights Movement who was wrongly incarcerated for protests at what has become known as “The Orangeburg Massacre” in 1968 when three students were killed by state troopers. Sellers received a full pardon 25 years later.
Gowdy is a television news personality, politician and former federal prosecutor who served as a U.S. Representative for the Fourth Congressional District of South Carolina. Gowdy chaired the U.S. House Select Committee on Events surrounding the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi.
The dinner and vigil will conclude with a performance from the dynamic Abundant Life Fellowship Chorale.
On Tuesday morning, the group will tour USC’s Civil Rights Exhibit with Bobby Donaldson and Jennifer Gunter of USC’s Diversity Center, and then travel on to Clarendon County to the historic Liberty Hill Baptist Church in which the Pearson and DeLaine families, petitioners in Briggs vs. Elliott, were members.
This class action suit became the first of five cases prompting the desegregation of schools in the United States in the famous 1954 Supreme Court decision, Brown v. Board of Education, led by the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.
Next, the riders will visit Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.
Moderators who will lead discussions during the actual Reconciliation Bus Ride to Charleston will be Cecil Williams, a famed civil rights photographer, author and inventor; Judge James Felder, an author and civil rights activist; and Peggy Burroughs, a retired teacher and student at SCSU during the Orangeburg Massacre.
The ride will conclude with a dinner at the College of Charleston Diversity Center with Renard Harris, director of the center, and facilitators from the upcoming South Carolina African American Museum.
Alexander, a Democrat, represents S.C. House District 59, which includes portions of northern Florence County and eastern Darlington County. He has been a member of the house since 2009.