Iconic Charleston English Teacher N.C. Williams Passes

N.C. Williams and Delaris Risher

By Barney Blakeney

A pillar of the Charleston community passed away June 27. Ms. Naomi C. Williams, or “N.C’’  as she was affectionately called by her peers at C.A. Brown High School and the community at large, was a renowned educator in the Charleston County Public School system for over 35 years. She was 94 years old.

Ms. Williams earned notoriety among students and educators as one of the most capable and effective English teachers in the Charleston area and South Carolina. She taught at Booker T. Washington High School in Columbia and in Charleston at Simonton Elementary School and at Burke and C.A. Brown high schools where she made her mark on the lives of countless students. Many boast that their success in life partly was due to her excellent teaching skills and her relentless efforts in pushing them to be the best they could be in her English class.

Ms. Williams, the daughter of the late Dorsey Williams and Emmie Attles Beamer, was born February 18, 1926 one of eight siblings – John Attles Williams, Bernice H. Green, Herbert N. Williams, Eugene C. Williams, Clarence A. Williams, Alma W. Brown, and Bernard C. Beamer. All preceded her in death.

She was a 1943 graduate of Burke High School. Second in her graduating class, she attended South Carolina State College (University), graduating in 1947 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English. She then matriculated to Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts where she obtained her Master’s Degree in English.

Ms. Williams began her teaching career at Booker T. Washington High School. She then returned to Charleston after her mother became ill and was employed at Burke High School as an English teacher. She later taught English at Simonton Elementary School then moved to C.A. Brown High School where she taught English until she retired in 1982. After retiring she volunteered as a teacher at Charleston Development Academy.

Ms. Williams was known for her “no nonsense” style of teaching. Many students characterized her as being hard but fair. She invested her entire career in making certain her students achieved academic excellence.

Ms. Williams never married or gave birth to children, but was a mother and supporter to her nieces, nephews, grand, great grand and great-great grand nieces and nephews and to her students spanning over four generations.

Ms. Williams was a devout Christian. She grew up in historic Morris Brown AME Church, the church of her parents and her ancestors. She joined the church in November 1950 and was a member more than 70 years. She served on the Deaconess Board and loved Church School where she shared her wisdom and biblical philosophy and principles. She attended church every Sunday and rarely missed service. Members knew that illness and extremely bad weather were the only hindrances to her attendance. She was a great contributor to the church, both financially and in support of the children of the church by providing funding for their education.

Ms. Williams’ contributions to education and the local and state communities have been invaluable. She was dearly loved by all and truly will be missed.

1 Comment

  1. John Brooks, Jr. MD on July 3, 2020 at 1:23 pm

    I was among the fortunate to have had my life influenced and transformed by NC Williams. Her influence has been transmitted to my children with the vigor and enthusiasm she possessed in the classroom . A small but telling characteristic was her insistence on having her students write with a fountain pen NOT a “ballpoint pencil” even on exams. This persists today, 59 years later, as I will preferentially write with one of the many fountain pens I have accumulated over the years. Her demanding standards and academic rigor sustained me throughout my education, career and life. We have lost a giant and an incomparable role model. We are unlikely to see the likes of her again.

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