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February 2020 on

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Find the Content You Need on African American History—All in One Place—Knowitall!


Knowitall Collections make it easy to find what you need! Check out our African American History and Martin Luther King Collections! Visit and explore! We also highlight resources for International Day of Women and Girls in Science and World Day of Social Justice.


SC African American History Calendar:

February Honoree – Reubin Bookert

Rear Admiral Reubin B. Bookert is a native of Columbia, S.C. He graduated from C.A. Johnson High School in 1968 and North Carolina A&T State University with a B.S. degree. He also earned degrees in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College and a M.S. in Management from Salve Regina University in Newport, R.I. He commissioned in to the United States Navy in February of 1975.

Rear Admiral Bookert reported to his first fleet assignment in March of 1976 as Communications Officer aboard the U.S.S. Truett. Subsequent sea tours include Communications Officer in Destroyer Squadron Twenty-Four, Weapons Officer in U.S.S. Joseph Hewes, Operations Officer in U.S.S. La Moure County and Executive Officer aboard the U.S.S. Blakely. His command-at-sea tours include: Commanding Officer, U.S.S. La Moure County and Commanding Officer of the amphibious assault ship, U.S.S. Kearsarge.

Ashore Bookert served at the Navy Recruiting District in Atlanta, Ga. and at Special Operations Command, MacDill Air Force Base in Fla. In July 1995, Bookert assumed duties as Special Assistant to the Chief of Naval Personnel and Director, Professional Relationship Division. In 1996, he was selected as Special Assistant to the Chief of Naval Operations. In 2001, he served as Deputy Director of Expeditionary Warfare in the Pentagon. Bookert was promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral in 2002.

In 2004 Bookert assumed duties as Commander of Amphibious Group Two in Norfolk, VA. He commanded all Amphibious Forces on the East Coast. His command included 27 warships, 38 shore commands and 15,000 sailors and Marines. He has been awarded numerous decorations, including three Legion of Merit Medals, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, three Meritorious Service Medals, the Navy Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Medal, and the Humanitarian Service Medal among others. His last assignment was serving as the Commander of Maritime Forces, which consisted of 45 multinational warships that provided relief for the victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, La.

He served on the Board of Directors for the Tidewater Virginia Area Urban League. He is a member of Richland School District One Hall of Fame, the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., and the Spann Watson Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. He retired from the Navy in 2006.

Admiral Bookert and his wife Marvis reside in Blythewood, S.C. They have two sons, Brian and Russell (wife, Samantha) and a granddaughter, Hannah. He is currently employed by the Department of Veterans Affairs as the Chief of Support Services in the Columbia Regional office.


Presented through a partnership between the South Carolina Department of Education and South Carolina ETV

View the interstitial here. (coming soon)

View the video on here.

Download the SC African American History Calendar here




Feb. 1    World Read Aloud Day

Visit our Libraries, Literature and Learning Collection and get excited about reading!


Feb. 11 International Day of Women and Girls in Science

View our Women in Leadership Collection, which includes these topics:


Feb. 20 World Day of Social Justice – View these resources!


Explore these timely Collections now!


Historian Carter G. Woodson hoped to raise awareness of African American's contributions to civilization by establishing Negro History Week. The event was first celebrated during a week in February 1926 that included both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass' birthdays. The week was later expanded to a month in 1976 during the United States bicentennial.

You’ll be amazed at the variety of resources found in the Collection! Take a look!

Resources Include:

The story of Richard Samuel Roberts, a little-known African American photographer from South Carolina whose posthumous discovery transcended stereotypes and brought to light a significant legacy. Heralded as one of the south’s most accomplished photographers of the 1920's and 1930's, Roberts was a self-taught artist who was determined to become a master portrait maker, with every image a true likeness of the subject. But for more than 40 years after his death his work remained lost to all but his family and friends.

​​ This collection honors our history and the African Americans who made strides in the advancement of African Americans.


Benjamin Mays, from Epworth, South Carolina, saw the racism and forced segregation of life around him and decided to challenge it with education and religion. Against the advice of his father, Mays pursued a formal education and rose to the top of his class, becoming Dean of Religion at Howard University, and later earned a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Chicago. He would become president of Morehouse College in 1940, and his influence on civil rights and education for the next three decades would reach far and wide. 

Student journalists interviewed Cecil Williams, Justice Ernest Finney, Frank Washington, Cong. James Clyburn, Oveta Glover, Titus Duren and Victoria Eslinger about Civil Rights in S.C.

South Carolinians who fought for equality during the Civil Rights Movement.

James E. Clyburn: a civil rights leader from South Carolina, who rose to become one of the most powerful men in Congress. History was made in January, 2007, when Jim Clyburn became House Majority Whip, the first South Carolinian to reach such a high position in Congress. His passion for politics drove him through defeats and victories, to reach the third most powerful political position in the U.S.

This episode of Profile spotlights famous jazz musician John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie; Cheraw, South Carolina’s claim to fame. Jazz immortal Dizzy Gillespie filled many musical roles, as trumpeter, bandleader, composer, and singer. Gillespie is also known for being at the forefront of the new music genre known as “bebop.” The impacts he left on both Cheraw, and his contributions to the music world still strongly resonate today. 

Much of America's blues and jazz influences are deeply rooted in the rhythms and melodies of the rural South. One artist who has greatly contributed to these genres' continued popularity is South Carolina's own John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie. Together with Charlie Parker, he was a major figure in the development of bebop and modern jazz. 

In 1960, a talented African-American student from Charleston, Harvey Gantt, graduated from high school and decided to become an architect. Clemson College was the only school in South Carolina that offered a degree in his chosen field. In January of 1963, with the help of NAACP lawyer Matthew J. Perry, Gantt won a lawsuit against Clemson and was peacefully admitted to the college, making him the first African-American student to attend a formerly all-white school in South Carolina. 

This special explores the connections between the Gullah of the South Carolina/Georgia Sea Islands and the people of West Africa, particularly those of Sierra Leone.

Introduces Gullah culture, language and music to children. The website has three sections: Gullah CultureGullah Music and Gullah Tales, told in Gullah and English.

This program explores the works of two outstanding artists who are sons of the South Carolina Lowcountry. Twiggs and Green share an indelible bond, reflected in their works.

Documentary that pays tribute to the “Friendship Nine,” a group of college students who were arrested for a lunch counter sit-in in Rock Hill, SC in 1961. Instead of paying bail (as was the norm with all previous sit-ins), they served 30 days of hard labor, making the city pay to house, feed & clothe them, thus turning the tables & drying up a dubious revenue stream. This movement caught on nationally, changing the entire sit-in strategy. The program was the centerpiece of 50th anniversary events, and still has legs today. It included extensive television, educational and community outreach initiatives.

One woman’s struggle to gain equality for herself and her students. Mary McLeod Bethune grew up in rural South Carolina and became a teacher. She started with nothing and ended up being an advisor to a president! 

Matthew Perry is known as one of the leading figures in the fight for equal rights for African Americans in South Carolina. At the time this episode aired, Perry had been appointed judge to the U.S. Court of Military Appeals, in Washington, D.C. Judge Perry discusses on his career, involvement with the Civil Rights Movement in S.C., and his appointment to the U.S. Court of Military Appeals. 

Modjeska Simkins came from relative wealth and married into wealth, but dedicated her life to helping the disadvantaged to be treated equally in South Carolina. 

This program tells the story of the Penn Center’s inception in 1862 as a school for freed slaves to its involvement in the Gullah community today. Today the center collects, documents, preserves, and disseminates information related to cultural heritage of the Sea Island and Lowcountry African-American culture.

Take a historical journey from the founding of Columbia, South Carolina, through the Civil War, the Depression, World War II, civil rights, up to the present. Reflections of Columbia, Part 7 – The 50s and 60s looks back on Columbia’s civil rights history.

Designed to help teachers and students to learn about our history, people and events, and the importance of the civil rights movement in South Carolina from the 1940s to the early 1970s. 

Documentary about the struggle to save an exceptional South Carolina island and its Gullah community from development. The program tells the story of the unique coalition of conservationists, state agencies, businessmen and community residents that came together to save this extraordinary place and preserve a historic culture. 

Chronology of stories from Palmetto Scene beginning June 18, 2015, culminating in the removal of the Confederate Flag from the grounds of the S.C. State House on Friday, July 10, 2015.

A 12-month calendar that profiles individuals from across the state who have had a positive, compelling impact on South Carolina and, often, across the country.

In 1941, an all African American flying squadron was established in Tuskegee, Alabama to train African Americans to fly and maintain combat aircraft. The Tuskegee Airmen paved the way for full integration of African Americans into the U.S. military.


Topics Available in the Collection Include:

In this blog, we are highlighting for the first time our collection of Noted African Americans. Please be sure to go through each of the topics listed below to discover resources that are timely for African American History Month. You may be surprised at the resources you’ll find!

The Briggs v. Elliott case began as a simple request to provide bus transportation. In addition to having separate and very inferior facilities, black children had to walk to school, sometimes many miles.

The Friendship Nine consisted of a group of nine African American young men who were sent to jail after staging a sit-in at a segregated McCrory's lunch counter in Rock Hill, South Carolina in 1961.

In the past, people have described the Gullah culture as quaint and the language as unintelligible. A closer look reveals a complex history and language with direct links to West Africa that survived slavery and thrived on the Sea Islands of South Carolina and Georgia. The Gullah experience has many variables that make it unique to each family and community. 

The vision of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is to ensure a society in which all individuals have equal rights without discrimination based on race. Meet members of the NAACP who were instrumental in the Civil Rights Movement in South Carolina.

Learn about noted African Americans, many born in South Carolina, with local and national accomplishments.

Photos, videos and podcasts are available. In the list below, we are highlighting only the videos:


Approximately 150 protesters had demonstrated against racial segregation at the All-Star Bowling Alley on several occasions prior to the Orangeburg Massacre. On the evening of February 8, 1968, South Carolina State University (SCSU) students started a bonfire on the front of campus, which is located in Orangeburg, South Carolina. As police and firefighters attempted to put out the fire, officer David Shealy was injured by a thrown object. South Carolina Highway Patrol officers fired shots at the protestors. 

Three of the protestors, African American males, were killed and twenty-eight other protesters were injured. The three men killed included two SCSU students Samuel Hammond (18), Henry Smith (18), and Delano Middleton (17), a student at the local Wilkinson High School. 

At a press conference the following day, Governor Robert E. McNair said the event was " of the saddest days in the history of South Carolina."


Several generations of the St. Helena community attended the historic Penn School, established as one of the first schools for freed slaves. In the 1950s and 1960s, the site served as a safe retreat for those involved in the Civil Rights Movement. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other activists used the quiet refuge to plan the March on Washington, an event that helped pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Penn Center now serves as a resource center for those studying and protecting Sea Island communities.


Learn about the economics and hardships of slavery in South Carolina.




This Collection honors the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and relays much of the history of the Civil Rights era. The Collection includes these Series


African American History Month on Periscope

This collection honors our history and the African Americans who made strides in the advancement of African Americans.


This program tells the story of the Penn Center’s inception in 1862 as a school for freed slaves to its involvement in the Gullah community today. Today the center collects, documents, preserves, and disseminates information related to cultural heritage of the Sea Island and Lowcountry African American culture.


Road Trip! Through South Carolina Civil Rights History was designed to help teachers and students to learn about the people and the events, and the importance of the civil rights movement in South Carolina from the 1940s to the early 1970s. 


Resources from the Martin Luther King Collection Include:

Be sure to view the Martin Luther King Collection – just one click away!




  • Be sure to check out our Factoids throughout the month. You may be surprised at what you’ll find!
  • Check them out here



Find out What’s New on Knowitall – Visit often!

At any time during the month, you can find out about new content available on Knowitall! Make it a habit to check here frequently!


If you have questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you!