October 16, 2020
The World Needs Visionaries
Claflin University to Participate in UNCF Virtual Discussion on Social Justice
Claflin University is one of four HBCUs around the country selected to participate in UNCF’s “Voices for the Future” event sponsored by the NFL’s Inspire Change on Tuesday, October 20, at 6 p.m. EST. "Voices of the Future" is devoted to uncovering the challenges HBCU students face in a virtual discussion about racial profiling, the criminal justice system, and systemic change for the next generation.

The event will feature entrepreneur and philanthropist Pinky Cole as the event’s keynote speaker along with a special NFL guest speaker. Claflin sophomore and presidential scholar, Lauren Tolbert (pictured above), is a featured panelist.

"Claflin’s recent work with our Center for Social Justice and Pathways from Prison Program and our continued commitment to social justice was one of the many reasons we were selected to participate in the upcoming event,." said Dr. Belinda Wheeler, director of The Center for Social Justice and the Pathways from Prison Program, and associate professor of English.

To register for the event, please click here.
Claflin University Receives Grant from South Carolina Humanities' Bridge Emergency Relief Grant
Claflin University’s School of Humanities and Social Sciences received a $12,000 Bridge Emergency Relief Grant from South Carolina Humanities. Funding for Bridge Emergency Relief Grants was provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) as a part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act economic stabilization plan. The School of Humanities and Social Sciences was one of 103 cultural organizations in South Carolina to receive a grant. 

Funding from the grant was used to help provide a more robust virtual educational experience for students involved in programs offered by the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. Funding also allowed Claflin University’s Theatre Ensemble to produce a script which focused on the literary development of work related to teenage pregnancy prevention, underage drinking, diversity and inclusion, and sexual identity. The script was shared as a staged reading at the 2020 Atlanta Black Theatre Festival followed by a discussion on the issues.

“This funding will help us to continue providing transformative educational experiences for our students and the greater Orangeburg community. Grant support during this period will also allow the School of Humanities and Social Sciences to continue providing virtual activities associated with CALA-Bash, the school’s premiere event that features a foreign film review, a film festival, lectures, master classes, and poetry slams,” said Annette D. Grevious, associate professor of speech and drama, who also served as the program director for grant. “We are grateful for this opportunity and the funding that was received.”

Dr. Randy Akers, executive director of South Carolina Humanities said “South Carolina has an annual $24 billion tourism industry that includes hundreds of arts and cultural organizations that bolster that important economic sector. We are very fortunate to be able to offer relief during these difficult times.”
Pulitzer Prize Winning Journalist Brings National Attention to Claflin Painting on MSNBC's "Morning Joe"
If the painting that hangs on the wall behind Washington Post syndicated columnist and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Eugene Robinson during his interviews on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” looks familiar to people affiliated with Claflin University, there is a good reason. 

“Alonzo Smith, Black Mason Building Claflin,” is the title of the portrait that was donated to Claflin by Robinson and his wife, Avis Collins Robinson, who painted the portrait. The presentation was made during an unveiling ceremony in 2016. The actual 8 ft. x 5 ft. portrait covers the wall in the hallway near the Office of the President and the Board Room in Tingley Memorial Hall. 

Collins Robinson's inspiration for the painting was a photograph of Smith and a crew of students laying brick for the foundation of a campus building. Smith was Mr. Robinson's great uncle. It is believed the photograph was taken circa 1910 and 1920 when Claflin offered a course in masonry. Several brick structures on the Claflin campus, including Tingley Memorial and Ministers’ halls, are located in the University’s Historic District as designated by the South Carolina Department of Archives and History. The colorful images of the students with their solemn and purposeful expressions pay tribute to the generation of Black Americans who persevered in spite of the indignities of the Jim Crow era.

“Morning Joe” viewers have expressed their curiosity and interest about the portrait on social media. Their posts have resulted in telephone calls and emails to Claflin inquiring how to purchase reproductions of the portrait. 

The painting highlights two extraordinary legacies rooted in Orangeburg, S.C., that have been intrinsically connected longer than anyone can recall. One is the proud legacy of Claflin University, founded in 1869 as the first college/university in South Carolina to open its doors to all students regardless of race, class or gender. Claflin has transcended its modest beginnings and is now recognized as one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities.

Mr. Robinson is a native of Orangeburg and his mother, the late Louisa S. Robinson, worked at Claflin for more than 45 years. For more than three decades, she was the university’s head librarian. His father, Harold, was also employed at Claflin before he opened an office of the Social Security Administration in Orangeburg. Robinson's sister, Ellen (Ricoma), has been an adjunct professor in Claflin's School of Business.  

Collins Robinson's use of water-based paint and fabric adds to the inimitability of the artwork. At the time of the presentation, the portrait had an appraised value of $100,000.
Order Your Homecoming Survival Pack Today

HBCUs are rich in culture and fond memories. One tradition that stands out is the HBCU homecoming experience. It is true, the pandemic has caused us to alter the way we "meet and greet." However, it has also caused us to be creative in our approach to every Claflin event during the 2020-2021 academic year. 
Claflin Homecoming Survival Pack is among the special features of the University's first-ever virtual homecoming. "The Pack" contains items guaranteed to enhance your enjoyment during this truly unique Claflin Homecoming experience. 
Proceeds from the Homecoming Survival Pack will support scholarships for the next generation of visionary leaders at Claflin University. Order now and save $25 (offer valid for the first 500 customers). The regular price is $150.

Don't be left out. Click here to order your Homecoming Survival Pack today.

If you are paying by check, please make payable to Claflin University. Please put t-shirt size on the memo line. Mail to:

Claflin University
Attn: Marcus Burgess
400 Magnolia Street
Orangeburg, SC 29115

For more information, please call (803) 535-5348.
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400 Magnolia Street
Orangeburg, SC 29115 
@Claflin is published by the Office of Communications & Marketing 
President: Dr. Dwaun J. Warmack
Interim Vice President for Institutional Advancement: Marcus H. Burgess, '96
Assistant Vice President for Communications & Marketing: George Johnson Jr.
Public Relations Director: J. Craig Cotton
Web Communications Manager: Colin Myers, '07
Sports Information Director: Romanda Noble-Watson
Photographers: Cecil Williams, '60, Geoff Henderson and Colin Myers, '07