On Tuesday the White House hosted a Black History Month musical celebration, featuring an impressive array of stars.
Among the invited guests were four people from South Carolina who participated in the civil rights movement: I.S. Leevy Johnson; Ernest A. Finney Jr.; Evelyn Tobin Williams, wife of the late Ike Williams; and Bill Saunders.
Saunders, a Johns Island native, was an organizer and lead negotiator of the Charleston Hospital Strike of 1969. A protégé of Esau Jenkins, he was involved in The Progressive Club on Johns Island and has been an active participant in the civil rights movement.
Unfortunately for Saunders, he was stranded in Atlanta on his way to Washington, D.C., grounded by the powerful winter storm that pounded the East Coast, so he was unable to attend the event.
Johnson is an attorney in Columbia and former president of the South Carolina Bar who was elected in 1970 to the General Assembly, one of the first blacks to serve there since Reconstruction.
Finney is a Sumter resident and the first black appointed to the state Supreme Court since the post-Civil War era. He retired from the Supreme Court in 2000 and became interim president of South Carolina State University.
Evelyn Williams is the widow of Ike Williams, who died in February 2008. Ike Williams was once an aid to U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, served as field director of the state NAACP from 1969 to 1983 and helped desegregate public facilities in South Carolina.
Performers at the White House event included Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, the Freedom Singers, Smokey Robinson, Jennifer Hudson, Robert De Niro and Morgan Freeman.
Black History Month events
Saturday: Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All by Myself, 3 p.m., John L. Dart Library, 1067 King St. To learn more, call 722-7550.
Wednesday: Michael Jacobs and Platinum Souls Concert, 8 p.m., Charleston Southern University, Cafeteria. Tickets $10 at the door.
Feb. 24: Charleston Southern One Accord gospel choir, 11 a.m., Charleston Southern University, Lightsey Chapel Auditorium. Free.
Feb. 24: Black History Trivia, 1 p.m. John L. Dart Library, 1067 King St. A contest for children ages 10 to 17. Awards given to first-, second- and third-place winners. To learn more call 722-7550.
Feb. 25-26: African American Heritage Days, 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Wannamaker County Park. Educators can bring their classes to a celebration of African-American heritage from its roots in Africa to the Caribbean, the Americas and especially South Carolina. Elementary school students can attend the event 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Feb. 25; middle school students at 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Feb. 26; Fee: $7. Boxed lunches should be purchased in advance, and snacks and drinks will be available for purchase on site. Call 795-4386 for information or to register. Registration required.
Feb. 27: 'The Great Debaters,' 1 p.m. John L. Dart Library, 1067 King St. A showing of the movie starring Denzel Washington. To learn more, call 722-7550.
All month: African-American Trivia, after school, John's Island Regional Library, 3531 Maybank Highway. Program for children 11 years old or younger. To learn more, call 559-1945.
All month: African-American History Month Challenge, West Ashley Library, 45 Windermere Blvd. Children 11 years old or younger can stop by the children's or circulation desk each week for an activity sheet to win a prize. To learn more, call 766-6635.