Dr. Bobby Donaldson
Dr. Bobby Donaldson is an Associate Professor of History, and the Director of the Center for Civil Rights History and Research, at the University of South Carolina-Columbia. He received his undergraduate degree in History and African American Studies from Wesleyan University and his Ph.D. in American History from Emory University. Previously, he held fellowships at Dartmouth College and the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute at Harvard University.
In addition to teaching and publishing articles and essays on African American education, religion, and civil rights, Donaldson has served as a curator and consultant for numerous museum exhibitions, historic preservation projects, oral histories, documentary films and archival collections.
Dr. Donaldson and his students received the Helen Kohn Hennig Prize awarded by the Historic Columbia Foundation for their documentary project on the Ward One community in downtown Columbia. In 2010, he received a Michael J. Mungo Undergraduate Teaching Award. Presently, Dr. Donaldson is a member of Wesleyan University’s Board of Trustees and the NAACP.
“History is a constant reminder of our collective journeys. The year 1963 marked a dramatic crossroads in our city’s history, and the lessons and stories from that period are powerful reminders of the courageous decisions and incredible sacrifices that brought us to where we are. And still, they remind us of the work that remains and our own roles in transforming the world around us.” -Dr. Bobby Donaldson
Robin Waites is the Executive Director of Historic Columbia Foundation, where she has been employed since 2002. In this capacity, she has overseen the transformation of an organization once focused primarily on the management of historic house museums to a multi-faceted entity and a leader in preservation advocacy, community development, and local history education. A native of Columbia, Robin is committed to helping the community recognize the value of its rich cultural resources and ensuring that our past and future are successfully intertwined.
A product of Columbia’s Richland School District One, Robin attended Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont where she received a bachelor of arts with a double major in Art History and Russian. She earned a Master of Arts in Art History from the University of South Carolina in 1996 and immediately began work at the South Carolina State Museum, where she served in a variety of capacities including the chief curator of art, a position she held until accepting the directorship at the Historic Columbia Foundation.
“The opportunity to more honestly explore our recent past by hearing stories directly from those who lived it is, for me, the most compelling aspect of this effort. This project offers Columbians the chance to expand our knowledge of a powerful and difficult story, as well as to be inspired by the strength and resilience of so many in our community.” – Robin Waites
Jonathon Johnson is working towards obtaining his M.D. to practice Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of South Carolina in Psychology with a cognate in Medicine (2016). Graduating with Honors from the South Carolina Honors College, he completed his senior thesis and thesis defense, by doing a cross-sectional analysis of the forms of treatments African Americans faced when institutionalized at SC Bull Street Asylum during the 30’s to mid 40’s. Throughout his research, he sought to investigate how the treatment of African Americans over years has led to an increase in medical mistrust among minority communities.
In addition to his current position as Project Coordinator, Jonathon works as a Research Assistant for the Center for Civil Rights Research and History at USC, as a Registered Behavioral Technician for Early Autism Project, and as an In-Home Supportive Services Caregiver with SC Department of Disabilities and Special Needs. He is also a Board Member of the Fairfield County Historical Society.
“Throughout my childhood, my parents taught me that “Education without Application, is a Stagnation of life”. Looking back on our past can be one of the greatest educations a person can ask for. When we take that knowledge and apply it to our current situations, we are able to learn from past mistakes and ensure they are not repeated. By not allowing the darker parts of history to repeat itself, we encourage progression to combat becoming stagnate. Our Story Matters because without knowing “our story” we cannot grow as a people.” -Jonathon Johnson
Previous Team Members
SaBrina O. Jeffcoat
SaBrina O. Jeffcoat, Columbia SC 63’s Outreach Coordinator, is a visual artist who previously worked in art sales, exhibition design with the Savannah College of Art & Design and community outreach with the Columbia Museum of Art. She is working within her purpose, building community through art via her history-centered retail business, Royal African Company, Ltd. Co., volunteering with the Lexington County Solicitor’s Office’s art-based youth program, and partnering with various Midlands Organizations as it pertains to programming through the arts.
SaBrina earned a BA in Studio Art from the College of Charleston and currently SaBrina serves on the boards of the Lexington County Museum, One Columbia, People for Reconciliation and the executive committees of Alternate ROOTS and the Progressive Network Columbia Chapter.
“Coming from a liberal arts background has enabled me to make connections across various disciplines. I am excited to work with an organization that ensures “Our Story Matters” and then goes a step further to champion South Carolina’s great Civil Rights history through the arts” -SaBrina Jeffcoat
Sam Johnson is the Special Assistant to Mayor Steve Benjamin in Columbia, South Carolina, facilitating the Mayor’s priorities, projects and initiatives. He has coordinated transparency initiatives like the #AskMayorB Town Hall and launched the “Tweet My Jobs” program. He has also been involved with the Famously Hot New Year celebration and the Mayor’s Fellows, a collegiate internship program for the Mayor’s Office. Prior to entering this post, he worked for former Representative Anton Gunn in the South Carolina House of Representatives
Johnson serves on the board for Midlands Technical College’s Human Services division, Columbia Opportunity Resource (COR), South Carolina Afterschool Alliance, the Tapp’s Arts Center and The Nickelodeon Theatre. He is also co-founder of the Talented Tenth which strives to develop socially conscious African American young professionals who will set, achieve and surpass their goals to reach their full potential.
Johnson is a lifelong resident of Columbia, graduating from Spring Valley High School before attending the University of South Carolina. He holds dual degrees in
English and Political Science.
“Columbia is my home. The city where I was born and raised. Throughout this commemorative project I have learned of events that occurred at places I have traveled by thousands of times. I’ve learned of the risk, the depth and level of involvement that many of our community’s unheralded leaders sacrificed to provide opportunities that I enjoy every day. I find pleasure and personal fulfillment that I am able to take part in this effort.” – Sam Johnson
Kim Jamieson is Director of Communications at the Columbia CVB, focusing her efforts on outreach to travel writers and out-of-area media to tout the attributes of Columbia, SC. She collaborates with local media to communicate the importance of tourism to the growth and development of the Columbia area. During her time, Jamieson has garnered coverage on FOX News online, the popular decor and lifestyle blog Design*Sponge, Southern Living and a host of other local and regional media outlets.
Prior to her current position, Kim was a Public Relations Specialist at Chernoff Newman, a full-service advertising, public relations and marketing communications firm headquartered in Columbia, for three and a half years. While there, she worked on a number of initiatives, events and campaigns for clients across the state.
Jamieson holds a Masters degree in Mass Communications with a concentration in Integrated Marketing Communications, as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Public Relations – both from the University of South Carolina.
“Early on, my parents instilled in my sister and me the importance of earning an education, having a strong work ethic and being people of unwavering character. At the time, I saw their strictness as a punishment, but later realized it was in fact purposeful. Our story matters because it provides a realistic glimpse into the life my parents and many others lived. They overcame numerous obstacles, all in the hope of offering more to the generations that followed. Their external displays of determination, coupled with internal insecurities, laid an instrumental pathway on which I and my peers could walk freely in the direction of our dreams. The Columbia SC 63 initiative is an opportunity for individuals of all backgrounds to go below the surface of stories from 1963 and see, hear and internalize how courage can change a community.” – Kim Jamieson
Ramon Jackson is a doctoral student in the Department of History at the University of South Carolina. He received his undergraduate and Master’s degrees in History at the College of Charleston, S.C. in 2004 and 2007. In 2009, he won the Robert H. Wienefeld Essay Prize.
Mr. Jackson has taught several courses in 20th Century American History and African American Studies at the university. He is completing his dissertation on the post-World War II generation of Black Carolinians who fought to end Jim Crow and forever changed the Palmetto State.
“History reminds us that ordinary people can achieve extraordinary things. No group epitomized this more than Columbia’s black youth, and their white allies, who risked everything to cast off the yoke of oppression and march towards freedom. We commemorate, not celebrate, their efforts because their work remains unfinished. These stories matter because they show us that the moral arc of the universe doesn’t bend itself. We must follow their example, shed our apathy, and begin pulling together to create stronger communities and a more perfect union.” – Ramon Jackson
Candace Cunningham is working on her history Ph.D. at the University of South Carolina where she won the Robert H. Weinfeld Essay Prize (2011) and is a Fellow in the African American Professors Program (2011-present). Her dissertation focuses on South Carolina’s Long Civil Rights Movement, and she has presented her research at multiple historical conferences.
Before graduate school, Ms. Cunningham lived in Nashville, Tennessee where she obtained her B.A. at Tennessee State University. Upon graduation, she worked for Governor Phil Bredesen.
“The many passionate teachers in my family are my life’s greatest influence. My grandfather was a high school principal, and his wife—one of three sisters to become educators—taught math at the same school. As teachers in the South’s segregated school system, these men and women developed teaching practices which ensured students had the best possible education, despite inferior facilities and inadequate resources. Collectively, their life experiences have taught me to place a high value on education. But, perhaps more importantly, they have proven that to disseminate knowledge is to empower.” – Candace Cunningham