GREENE COLUMN: Darby chairs Amos-Frazier's award's committee
Marjorie Amos-Frazier would still be fighting for voting rights if she were here today.
So says her pastor, the Rev. Joseph Darby of Morris Brown AME Church and new committee chair to select someone for a pacesetter award in her honor.
Darby believes Amos-Frazier would work against voter suppression, and would be disturbed by any effort to curtail those rights.
The fight for human rights and voting rights for blacks played a major role in her life, and Darby aims to select someone who embodies what she fought for all those many years.
Long before the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Amos-Frazier was a young woman in the late '40s helping to register black voters. She even took them to the polls.
There is still a need for the Amos-Fraziers of the world.
Having lived through all the efforts to stymie blacks from going to the polls back then, wonder what she would say about South Carolina's new voter ID law?
She was a trailblazer
A snapshot of her life bears this out: first woman elected to Charleston County Council in 1974; first African-American and woman elected by the S.C. General Assembly to serve on the state's Public Service Commission in 1980; vice chair and chair of the PSC before retiring in 1993; helped lead a 110-day NAACP campaign in 1963 to integrate Charleston's theaters, restaurants and other public places; vice chair of the Charleston County Democratic Party from 1971-1975; helped replace the at-large voting system with the creation of single-member districts for S.C. House and Senate elections.
And the list goes on.
Amos-Frazier died at 84 two years ago, and the West Ashley Democrats established the Marjorie Amos-Frazier Pacesetter Award.
Darby is charged with finding the right person for the award. He is up to the task.
“I am confident that the selection committee will name a recipient who will reflect her legacy of civic involvement and her lifelong struggle for human rights and equality,” Darby said.
He soon will select committee members.
Amos-Frazier, who was a member of Darby's church for 60 years, probably would be pleased at his selection.
Darby himself is a well-respected civic leader and civil rights advocate.
'Quiet and sensible calls'
Darby said Amos-Frazier's contributions are well-known.
He admired her way of getting things done, and often across racial lines.
He was particularly impressed with how she “worked the conscience of the community.” If she perceived a problem, she made “quiet and sensible calls to politicians,” and in a motherly way, brought them back in line.
Asked what he perceived as a main issue today, Darby said he would like to see more fairness and civility in politics. He dislikes the mean-spiritedness that seems to prevail today.
The Amos-Frazier award is permanently displayed on the rotunda outside Charleston County Council chambers.
The award recipient will be announced later this year.