The Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture will be hosting The Roberta Williams Day of Recognition Reception. Ms. Roberta Williams is a native of Downtown Charleston and daughter of former Avery Student John Harley Williams (c/o 1949 Avery Normal Institute). Ms. Williams has created a legacy for greatness through excellence in sport (basketball), community outreach, and serving as a source of inspiration for all she comes in contact with.
Roberta Williams is a 1976 graduate of Burke High School, and a 1980 graduate of South Carolina State University. She had a successful college career playing women’s basketball with the Lady Bulldogs, leading them to the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women Division II National Championship in 1979. She also won MVP tournament honors when she helped her team to a runner-up finish in 1978 and went on to be drafted into the Women’s Basketball League by the San Francisco Pioneers in 1980. In 1998 She was inducted into the South Carolina State University Hall of Fame as she was recognized as a member of the AIAW and also the MEAC Hall of Fame.
In 1999, Williams returned to Charleston after a successful career as the all-time leading scorer in women’s basketball history at South Carolina State University having scored over 2,200 points and is the only basketball player-man or woman- to have their jersey (No. 11) retired. On June 9, 2018 Roberta Williams was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tennessee as a “Trailblazer of the Game” of the WBL, the first Women’s Professional Basketball League in the US. Ms. Williams is the proud mother of two children, Travis Ford, and Kris Bennett and has worked as a substitute teacher for over 20 years in Charleston County Schools and currently works at Charleston Drug and Treatment Center as a Recovery Assistant and Substance Abuse Specialist. After being inducted into the Women’s Hall of Fame as a Women’s Basketball Trailblazer of the Game the Mayor of the City of Charleston, John Tecklenburg declared September 11th as Roberta Williams Day in the City of Charleston.
In an effort to continue highlighting black stories along with recognizing the lifelong impact that the Avery Research Center has had on the descendants of its students, a reception in her honor will reconnect her family with the Avery, showcase her achievements, along with honoring her in a space centered on black achievement.