Thursday, September 12
As a part of the continued celebration of the integration of higher educational institutions in South Carolina and the commemoration of the Civil Rights Movement of 1963, Dr. Henrie Monteith Treadwell spent time today with area college students shedding light of her experiences, while also encouraging self motivation, boldness and progression.
In the home of her late aunt and Civil Rights activist, Modjeska Monteith Simpkins, Dr. Treadwell, the first African American women to be accepted to the University of South Carolina, vividly recalled her feelings the morning she enrolled, how much the acceptance meant to her and what she’s gleaned over the years. She asked the students about their passions and aspirations, speaking with each young woman personally about what they hope to achieve. The collegiate women asked Dr. Treadwell questions ranging from her advice on going through graduate school to her experiences as the first African American woman to be accepted to USC, to her advice on working as a woman in today’s society.
“If you are careful in your study of history, the civil rights revolution that Dr. King led was on the shoulders of women,” said Treadwell. She said that it’s difficult to think of herself as a leader, and she reminisced about spending time with her aunt, Simkins, often called the matriarch of South Carolina’s civil rights movement, in the home on Marion Street in downtown Columbia, S.C.
“Some 50 years ago, nearly to the day, Dr. Treadwell laid the necessary ground work giving the women gathered here the many opportunities they have today,” said Robin Waites, Columbia SC 63 chair and executive director of Historic Columbia Foundation. “These women are being exposed to living history and will hopefully be forever changed by the experience.”
Hosted by Columbia SC 63, the yearlong initiative aimed at raising awareness of the Civil Rights Movement of 1963, the private event connected women currently enrolled in colleges and universities throughout the region, including the University of South Carolina, Benedict College, Allen University, Clemson University and Columbia College, with Dr. Treadwell.
A professor in the Department of Community Health and Preventive Medicine at Morehouse University in Atlanta, Dr. Treadwell has two sons and resides in Atlanta, Ga.