Black History Month
The Office of Diversity, Equity Inclusion presents "Pathways to Purpose, Inspiring the Future" to Celebrate Black History Month. Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by black Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of African Americans in U.S. history. The event grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month (Harvard.edu, 2018).
Carter G. Woodson
Each year we will highlight individuals from the Richland Two community with unique and significant contributions to Black history and culture. Individuals will be recognized in the areas of art, education, engineering, music, health, science, technology, and the military. "Often when we think of historical figures who have shaped our history and culture we think of global or national leaders. We are excited to recognize people from our own Richland Two community who have made significant contributions to black history and culture. We want all of our Richland Two partners (our students, parents, staff and community members) to know about the good work done by our own community members and we especially hope that our students will see something of themselves in the people recognized to reaffirm that they too have what it takes to be premier," Dr. Helen Nelson Grant, Chief Diversity and Multicultural Inclusion Officer.
The Origins of Black History Month (Video Clip)
Pathways to Purpose, Inspiring the Future
Richland School District Two's Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is celebrating Black History Month 2022! We will recognize individuals from the Richland Two community who have demonstrated unique and significant contributions to Black history and culture. The selected nominees will be featured on social media and the district's website from the categories below.
February 1-7: Art and Music
February 8-14: Education
February 15-21: Public Service (Government, Faith-Based, Military and Social Justice)
February 22-28: Health, Science, Technology, and Engineering
Join Us for the Richland School District Two Black History Month Honoree Program!
The program will be held on Monday, February 28, 2022; 6 p.m., at the R2i2 Conference Center, 763 Fashion Drive, Columbia, SC 29229. This event is FREE!
Please join us as we celebrate our Honorees and all who have made significant contributions to Black culture.
For additional information, please contact Dr. Helen Grant at 803-738-3327 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Category: Art & Music
Richland Two is proud to honor Ms. Kristin Claiborne as a 2022 Black History Month Honoree in the category of Art and Music. Beyond being a teacher with the ability to teach students to develop choral talent and the ability to help coach basketball talent, she embodies what it means to give back to her community. Under her direction, the Blythewood choral department has performed at school, district and community events that have highlighted the diverse and significant accomplishments of Black artists from diverse regions of the United States and the globe. Through her professional accomplishments and her community service, Ms. Claiborne is a shining example of leadership and service.
In the category of Art and Music, Richland Two is proud to honor Mr. Andre DeLaine as a 2022 Black History Month Honoree. A 2007 graduate of Richland Northeast High School, Mr. DeLaine is an independent recording artist and songwriter. He has served his community as a worship leader for more than 15 years with the goal of having the presence of God felt through his music. His talents have been recognized by Grammy and Stella Award Winning Artists including Tye Tribbett, Travis Greene and Tamela Mann who have used him to sing with them live and in the studio. His newest album is Awesome Wonder Live. Exemplifying Black culture through song, we are proud to honor Mr. Andre DeLaine.
At one of the many intersections of Art and Technology stands Richland Two’s Black History Month Honoree, Mr. Antonio Kenion. A long time Richland Two employee who currently serves as the district’s Media Production Coordinator, Tony, as he is fondly known to his friends and colleagues, is a storyteller at heart. With a background in television production and many years as a videographer and producer for South Carolina State University Football, Tony uses his talents to bring to life the information that is important for our community to know and understand. Through his productions, he takes us on a journey and uses his magnetic voice and heart of gold to educate and inspire. For his behind the scenes vision of how to take a picture or a set and a script and make it into history and culture, we are proud to recognize Mr. Antonio Kenion in the category of Art and Music.
Richland School District Two is proud to recognize Dr. Walter B. Curry, Jr. as a 2022 Black History Month Honoree. Dr. Curry has contributed to Black history and culture through the establishment of Renaissance Publications, LLC. He has published two books that chronicle the reflections and experiences of his relatives and that shed light on the experiences of African Americans in Aiken, Orangeburg and Richland Counties. In 2019 he received the African American Historical and Genealogy Society Book Award. Dr. Curry, the author in residence for the Aiken Center for the Arts, has also been recognized by his alma mater, South Carolina State University, as a member of the Inaugural 40 Under 40 class of persons who have made significant strides in their careers, contributions to their communities and who have had an impact at the University.
Richland School District Two is proud to recognize Joseph Bias, Esq. as a 2022 Black History Month Honoree. Mr. Bias is a Richland Two graduate who continued his education at Wofford College and the University of South Carolina School of Law. He has experience as an Assistant Public Defender, an insurance defense attorney and he currently serves as the General Counsel and Special Advisor to the President of Midlands Technical College. Mr. Bias is a volunteer attorney coach for the award-winning Richland Northeast High School Mock Trial team and he was recognized as the 2017 Law-Related Education Lawyer of the Year by the SC Bar Association. He was selected as a co-winner of the 2019 SC Bar Young Lawyer of the Year award. For his outstanding work as a community volunteer educating our students, Mr. Bias is being honored in the field of Education.
Richland School District Two is proud to recognize Dr. Derrick Wise as a 2022 Black History Month Honoree in the category of Education. A Spring Valley High School graduate, Dr. Wise earned his Ph.D degree from Morgan State University in Higher Education Administration. Dr. Wise currently serves as the State Program Leader for Education, Innovation and Support for South Carolina State University where he plans College 101 workshops in rural communities and where he leads the HYPE (Helping Youth Pursue Education) program, a co-curricular high school club that assists students in rural communities navigate the college enrollment process. Dr. Wise is also the founder and CEO of the Wise Education Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization that offers scholarships to students in financial need. Dr. Wise also serves as a Youth Pastor where he continues his work to educate students.
Richland School District Two is proud to recognize Dr. Joseph Watson as a 2022 Black History Month Honoree in the category of Education. A S.C. native, Joe grew up in Greenwood and received his early education in Greenwood School District 50 where he loved participating in the arts, namely chorus and band. After graduating from Brewer High School, Joe began his post-secondary education as a student at Benedict College where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. After graduating, Joe returned to Greenwood 50 and served his community for over 15 years as a 6th grade teacher, elementary school principal, and Assistant Director of Special Services. At the young age of 38, Joe became the first African American to earn a Doctor of Education degree in Educational Administration from the University of South Carolina. That same year, Joe was named Superintendent of Clarendon School District One. While serving in this role, Joe bolstered the district's instructional programs, increased test scores, reorganized the grade structure in elementary schools, and restructured athletics. In the early 1990s, Joe was named Superintendent of the Fairfield County School District. With more than 25 years of experience, Joe later joined Richland School District Two as an Assistant Administrator at Spring Valley High School and later transitioned to Richland Northeast High School where he served as an Assistant Principal for 22 years until he retired in 2019 with over 50 years of educational service.
Category: Public Service
Richland School District Two is proud to recognize Dr. George A. Ashford, Jr. as a 2022 Black History Month Honoree in the category of Public Service. Dr. Ashford is the Lead Pastor of Journey Church in the heart of Northeast Columbia. He demonstrated his passion for church planting and development which resulted in the birth of Journey Church in 2007. Since then, the congregation has grown to over 1100 members. A second generation Methodist minister, Dr. Ashford describes his duties as Pastor, Shepherd, Nurturer and Vision Caster. Under his leadership, the church has supplied support to Richland Two through activities such as school supply drives and food drives. Additionally, the church supports the greater Northeast community through an annual Yard Sale Giveaway where the church blesses community members with clothing and household items at no cost. In addition to his pastoral duties, Dr. Ashford is the author of a book, Lose to Win, and an innovative coach on church strategies including growing congregations and church revitalization.
Richland School District Two is proud to recognize Tameika Isaac Devine, Esq. as a 2022 Black History Month Honoree in the category of Public Service. Ms. Devine is a graduate of Spring Valley High School and she is a founding partner in the law firm of Jabber & Isaac, PA. She was the first African American woman to serve on Columbia City Council and the first African American to be elected to the City Council in an At-Large seat. As a City Councilwoman, she worked for programs that train unemployed and underemployed citizens with skills allowing them to be employable. She spearheaded the restructuring of the city courts and was instrumental in the establishment of the criminal domestic court and the nationally recognized homeless court. She has been named one of the 50 Most Influential People of the Midlands by Columbia Business Monthly Magazine and she was elected three times by the readers of the Free Times as the Best City/County Council person. Her community minded spirit extends to her work with her church and with her sorority, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and she has championed the development and empowerment of women and youth.
Richland School District Two is proud to recognize Mr. Michael Toliver as a 2022 Black History Month Honoree. Mr. Toliver is a graduate of Richland Northeast High School and is using his skills and talents in our Northeast Richland community. He is the owner of Toliver’s Barbershop on Hardscrabble Road. As the owner of a full service barbershop, he supervises stylists that cater to men and women with every texture of hair. He has over 17 years of experience and is a second generation barber and business owner. In addition to meeting his client's needs, Mr. Toliver gives back to the community that helped to rear him. He often gives free haircuts for Back to School drives and he volunteers at Ridge View High School for their “Cuts for Gabby” initiative. Mr. Toliver is being recognized in the category of Public Service because he often fulfills the roles of counselor, stylist, friend and sometimes comedian all while performing his barbering duties thereby making him a true public servant.
Category: Health, Science, Technology, Math & Engineering
Richland School District Two is proud to recognize Ms. Ashleigh Edwards as a 2022 Black History Month Honoree. Ms. Edwards is a graduate of Blythewood High School and is being recognized in the category of Health, Science, Technology, Math and Engineering. She is a co-owner and pro basketball trainer of Iconic Sport Performance, a woman, minority and veteran owned performance training facility in Columbia, SC. Ms. Edwards has been playing basketball competitively since she was 8 years old. She tore both of her ACLs but overcame her injuries to play at the high school and college levels. Having experienced trials and setbacks along with triumphs, she knows what it takes to be a baller at a high level. She earned her Sport Management: Coaching degree in 2014 and she formerly owned and was the lead trainer of HOOP ICON. Ms. Edwards’ hope is to inspire basketball players to never give up on their dreams. She uses herself as an example of how to turn trials into triumphs and her story is a tool to inspire and motivate others to always chase their dreams and never give up. She has provided character development, college and career placement, navigation for sports and college decisions for many Richland Two students. Ms. Edwards is aso the Executive Director of ISP: Student of the Game that hosts local camps and clinics events at no cost to the community and she serves with WNBA star Jewell Lloyd in the Mamba Army, a mentorship program.
Richland School District Two is proud to recognize Dr. Kimberly Mulligan as a 2022 Black History Month Honoree. Dr. Mulligan is a graduate of Spring Valley High School and she earned her B.S. and M.S. in Chemistry from Florida A&M University. She received her Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in the Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics. While at Vanderbilt, Dr. Mulligan was a founding member of the Alliance for Cultural Diversity in Research where she initiated outreach activities including Family Science Night and Volunteer Scientist in the Classroom at middle schools. Currently, Dr. Mulligan is the Auburn University College of Sciences and Mathematics Assistant Dean for Inclusion, Equity and Diversity. She works to develop and implement initiatives which create an inclusive environment for a diverse student body, faculty and staff, particularly those from traditionally underrepresented groups in STEM. Dr. Mulligan's experiences have given her first-hand knowledge of the importance of cultivating talent from different cultures to ensure many voices and perspectives are represented in scientific fields. Her career path has allowed her to continue to explore new avenues to promote inclusion in higher education and help shape a STEM workforce that reflects our diverse population.
Richland School District Two is proud to recognize as a 2022 Black History Month Honoree Dr. Henry J. Marion. Dr. Marion earned his undergraduate degree in Biology and Chemistry from Claflin University and went on to earn his M.D. from The Medical University of South Carolina. He is a long time advocate for student health awareness and he has managed health forums at local schools across the state. He moved to Columbia and began practicing medicine at Lexington Medical Center in Northeast Columbia and he continued advocating for the health of the citizens in the community he served. Dr. Marion has generously committed his time and energy to Joseph Keels Elementary School in Richland Two. He has provided mentoring opportunities, collaborated virtually in kid-friendly presentations related to healthy practices during COVID and, prior to the pandemic, Dr. Marion was being trained to provide small group math instruction at the school. Dr. Marion designed a program for the school intended to introduce students to career development and broaden their interest in future career goals including careers in science, law, medicine, dentistry, sports and politics. A lifelong learner, Dr. Marion, at the age of 60, started taking saxophone lessons and he is now affectionately known as “The Jazzy Doc”. After retirement, medical work still called to Dr. Marion and he went back to work two days per week in Swansea. A community servant with a heart for educating people are the qualities that make Dr. Marion an inspiration to all.
Richland School District Two is proud to recognize Dr. Jason Williams as a 2022 Black History Month Honoree. Dr. Williams is a graduate of Richland Northeast High School, Furman University and the Medical University of South Carolina College of Medicine. He completed pediatric residency at Monroe Carell Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville, TN, followed by a pediatric cardiology fellowship at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC. He then completed a one-year advanced non-invasive cardiac imaging fellowship at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, OH. Currently, he is appointed as an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at The Ohio State University and pediatric cardiologist at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. His clinical focus is advanced imaging with research interest in imaging and health equity. Dr. Williams has always believed in giving back to his community. Throughout his educational career, he participated in student organizations and remained passionate about mentorship and service, including speaking to students at Richland Northeast High School through the “Grads Give Back” programs. He continues to be an active leader in his profession and he mentors students interested in careers in medicine.
Art and Music
Pastor Travis Greene
Education, Public Service (Government, Faith-Based & Military)
Dr. Gloria Boutte
Dr. Sandra Hamlin
*Annie E. Hanberry
Dr. Shawn Suber
Brigadier General Milford Beagle, Jr.
The Honorable Judge Deandrea G. Benjamin
The Honorable Calvin "Chip" Jackson
Pastor Chris Leevy Johnson
Health/Science, Technology & Engineering
Brenda C. Murphy
Art and Music
Mr. Charles Cherry, employee
Ms. Roni Henderson, employee
Ms. Tracy Oliver, graduate
Education and Military
Dr. Cheryl Caution-Parker, community member
Dr. Baron R. Davis, employee
Chaplain Col. Clarke McGriff, community member
Mr. Greg Scott, employee
Mr. Preston Thorne, community member
Dr. Hilton Maria Shaw Gilbert - employee
Evangelina Hemphill - community member
Anthony Lawrence - community member
Health and Science
*Anna Love Boyd - honorary community member
Dr. Mojibola Solaja - community member
Dr. Gerald Wilson - community member