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‘Soulicious,’ African American center opening Saturday

Posted: February 19, 2018 4:53 p.m.
Updated: February 20, 2018 1:00 a.m.
Provided by Polly Lampshire/

The former home that would become the city of Camden’s African American Cultural Center after its move down York Street to the grounds of the Price House on Feb. 24, 2007. Former Mayor Mary Clark (eighth from left) posed with a group of Price House Commissioners, city council members and others to celebrate the move. The center will open this Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, exactly 11 years after its move.

 

The city of Camden’s Price House will have a lot to celebrate Saturday as the Price House Commission presents “Soulicious” and the city opens the African American Cultural Center on the Price House grounds.

City officials talked up both events during Camden City Council’s meeting on Feb. 13.

“We think that there is a jewel in that facility as a tourism asset for Kershaw County, certainly for the city of Camden,” Pearson said. “The purpose of that facility will be to celebrate and highlight the contributions of Camden’s African-American population.”

As detailed in a recent city press release, the Camden Archives and Museum will operate the center, receiving and organizing exhibit materials. Pearson said the center will be open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 1 to 4:30 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“We can vary that; we can change that if necessary. We hope that our community will embrace that schedule and could be a fun thing for some people to act as docents as we get visitors to come to Camden to see that,” Pearson said.

The African American Cultural Center will open for the first time at 10 a.m. Saturday with its first exhibit, “Camden’s Native Son, Lawrence Eugene Doby.” Larry Doby, born in Camden in 1923, a Major League Baseball Hall of Fame inductee, was the first black player in the American League, acquired by the Cleveland Indians just 11 weeks after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in the National League. Doby played with the Indians from 1947 to 1955 and then the Chicago White Sox (1956-57) and Detroit Tigers (1959). After retirement, he became the second manager in baseball’s major leagues, and was inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame in 1998. He passed away in 2003 at the age of 79.

Pearson said the center will present two exhibits each year, for approximately six months each. The Larry Doby exhibit will be housed in the center through the end of August. In September, the center will present an exhibit on the Campbell Street Corridor.

During Pearson’s presentation, Councilwoman Joanna Craig said she remembered not only when Margaret and Dick Lloyd presented the Price House to the city, but also when “the little house,” as the African American Cultural Center was known, was moved from its original spot further up York Street to the Price House grounds.

“I know there have been a lot of nice furnishings in there and things that have been on tour there before. What is happening to the things that are there? I think they were given to the (Price House) commission. How is that going to work?” Craig asked.

Pearson said those items -- including a bed, two rocking chairs and two quilts -- are being carefully stored at the archives. He also said he hoped commission members would act as docents.

“We’d love for the commission to be there and serve as volunteer docents and greet our guests,” Pearson said.

Councilman Jeffrey Graham thanked the commission for obtaining the house in the first place and “allowing stories that need to be told to be told.”

Mayor Alfred Mae Drakeford recognized Price House Commission Chair Polly Lampshire and her husband, Nick, a former councilman, telling Lampshire that the commission’s work will not go unnoticed.

Later in the meeting, Lampshire addressed council during the meeting’s public forum section, pointing out that the commission had worked with the city for “some time” on “the little house.” She explained that, for a while, there was concern over exactly what to call the former home and that the commission is glad it will be called what was originally proposed in the grant that allowed the commission to purchase and move the house.

“We … received $100,000 (the grant); the Price House Commission then raised $25,000 on its own and paid $8,000 for the house,” Lampshire said. “We’re very excited about the fact that we are going to be open and see this to fruition. The commission is really, really very excited about working with the archives very much.”

Her main point, however, was that the commission was not informed about the pending opening.

“They had no problem with what’s going on, but they would very much like to be in touch, informed and supportive as much as they can,” Lampshire said. “We were required by the grant as a matter of fact to furnish it and people stepped up and donated the bed, the quilts, the chairs, a number of things, as well as designer time by Susan Field … and we were able to salvage much of the original boards of the building and the bricks. The Fine Arts Center, when we lost some of the bricks in the move, they donated their 100-year bricks to fill in those places. We lost the fireplace -- it dissolved -- the mantle, that is, and (City Building Official) John Burns went out and found a house of similar age and was able to replicate what we could find out about that mantle. So, a lot of effort has gone in and I really think they really need to be acknowledged as to what they’ve done. They’re for this, they want this, they want to work with you.”

Lampshire told council the commission members just didn’t feel as though they were spoken to about the project as much as they should have been.

“One of them looked at me -- and it broke my heart a bit -- they said, ‘Do we not ever have a voice?’ So, I want this to move forward in a positive way. It’s really good for Camden, it’s something we believe in and we’re willing to do whatever we can to make this a success,” she said.

Lampshire acknowledged that the commission neither has the manpower nor the expertise to manage the cultural center itself, but is happy to work with archives director Katherine Richardson.

As for “Soulicious,” which will begin at 11 a.m., an hour after the African American Culture Center opens, Lampshire said having the two events coincide “will be a win-win and we’re going to have a lot of fun.”

Festival co-chair and Price House Commissioner Jackie Greene-Stuckey said Soulicious is a way to bring people of all races together to celebrate their heritage.

“We want to focus on the now,” Greene-Stuckey said.

She said activities will include praise dancing, games with prizes and food cooked by Camden-Kershaw County NAACP members and other volunteers. Food will include chicken wings, fish, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, hot dogs and chili dogs that can be purchased as combo meals or individually. There will also be drinks and snacks, including candy, chips and pickles.

“Inside the Price House, which used to be a canteen, there’ll be different vendors selling jewelry, baskets and other woven products, and arts and crafts,” Greene-Stuckey said. “We’ll also have face painting -- a variety of family-oriented things to come and spend the day and do.”

In other business during the Feb. 13 meeting, council:

• heard a presentation from Santee Wateree Regional Transportation Authority Executive Director Lottie Jones and the current status of the service;

• recognized Miss Camden 2018 Savannah Harvey and Miss Camden Teen 2018 Gracie Stockman;

• proclaimed the month of February as African American Culture month;

• proclaimed this week as Camden Film Week in conjunction with the upcoming Equus Film Festival;

• voted unanimously to pass second and final reading of an ordinance annexing a 1-acre property belonging to Dilmar Oil Co. next to westbound I-20 Exit 98 and assigning temporary zoning as commercial mixed use;

• unanimously voted to authorize the sale and consumption of beer and wine during the Boykin Spaniel Society National Meeting, Equus Film Festival and Irish Fest; and

• unanimously approved a Leader’s Legacy bench recognition for Aaron Hough.

 

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