Historian Damon L. Fordham and City of Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg reflect on Charleston’s past and present, and how history has shaped their commitment to social justice and racial equity at the November 15th Living Your Truth conversation. Sponsored by the Sophia Institute’s Social Justice, Racial Equity Collaborative, this Living Your Truth event will be back at at Mount Zion AME Church from 6 pm until 8 pm, but this time on a Thursday. The moderator of this conversation will be Marion A. Gill, who recently became the Director of Museum Planning and Operations at the International African American Museum after working at the Smithsonian Institution for more than 30 years where she played key roles in the planning, opening, and operating of the National Museum of the American Indian and the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Damon L. Fordham is a local historian, author, lecturer and member of Friendship AME Church. Fordham received his Master’s Degree in history from the College of Charleston and The Citadel, and his undergraduate degrees at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. He currently teaches Western Civilization at The Citadel. He has also taught U.S. History and African-American Studies, at the Charleston Southern University and the College of Charleston. He has even taught GED classes to inmates at the Charleston County Detention Center through the Trident Literacy Association, and is proud of assisting 28 inmates in getting their high school equivalency diplomas. A writer, Professor Fordham was a weekly columnist for the Charleston Coastal Times from 1994 to 1998, as well as the author of Voices of Black South Carolina-Legend and Legacy (Charleston: History Press, 2009), True Stories of Black South Carolina (Charleston: History Press, 2008), Mr. Potts and Me (Evening Post Books, 2012), and co-author of Born to Serve-The Story of the WBEMC in South Carolina in 2006. He has served as a commentator for the British Broadcasting Company documentary The Real Amos and Andy, and the South Carolina Educational Television documentaries All the Children of All the People, Where Do We Go from Here, and Africans in America-A South Carolina Perspective. His television appearances also include the Turner South Network Commercial My South Speaks (2006) and the History Channel Documentary All for Liberty (2005). His motto is “educate yourself to lead yourself, for if you wait on others to show you the way, you will wait for a long time.”
Mayor John Tecklenburg has been the City of Charleston Mayor since 2016. Tecklenburg graduated from Georgetown University and attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston where he pursued his lifelong passion for music and jazz. After graduation, he returned to Charleston where he founded, owned and operated Southern Oil Company for nearly 20 years. Upon selling his business, Tecklenburg served as the City of Charleston’s Director of Economic Development and was tasked to help lead the revitalization of Upper King Street. Since becoming mayor in 2016, Tecklenburg’s efforts include improving city-wide livability, implementing the City of Charleston Sea Level Rise Strategy, addressing housing affordability and homelessness in Charleston and working to revitalize West Ashley. Tecklenburg and his wife Sandy, who reside in Old Windemere, are the parents of five grown children.
The Social Justice, Racial Equity Collaborative, convened by The Sophia Institute, seeks a just, sustainable, and thriving community where all people are empowered to fulfill their human potential. With its 37 member Council and multiple Engagement Partners, the SJRE Collaborative works from the inside out to recognize a healthy, diverse, and inclusive community grows out of an acknowledgement of interdependence and shared humanity. By addressing the challenges that emerge from structural and institutional racism, the SJRE Collaborative is working to transform Charleston into a more just and equitable place to live, work, and thrive. The SJRE Collaborative is nonpartisan and does not support candidates or parties. This conversation is the tenth duet in a series, which began last year.
This is a free event. Registration is requested to help with planning at The Sophia Institute under events.