The mission of the Clemson Area African American Museum is to collect and showcase the historical and contemporary achievements and culture of African Americans and develop and maintain partnerships with local schools, colleges, and universities. It serves as a resource center for the Greater Clemson Area to engage the local and upstate communities in intellectual discourse about the past, present, and future.

 Board Officers and Members (2009-2012)

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 Mission 

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 Events Leading to the Founding of the Museum 

In 2002 the Pickens County School Board announced that they would be selling a school building in Clemson (then known as the Morrison Annex) located on Butler Street in the historic African American community of Goldenview. The building had originally been constructed in the 1940s as a segregated African American elementary school called Calhoun Elementary.

In 2003 the City of Clemson acquired the Morrison Annex building and property for $100,000 from the Pickens County School District

 

The City of Clemson applied for and received a $1.3 million grant from the South Carolina Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program to refurbish the building for use as a community and cultural center. Work on the building was completed in 2006 and the renovated building was renamed the Calhoun Bridge Center.

 

While these events were taking place, neighborhood meetings were held with local residents to gather suggestions and input into how this building could best be utilized by the community and also honor the students, teachers, and administrators who attended the Calhoun Elementary School.

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Many suggestions came out of these meetings, but the most strongly supported was the creation of an African American museum whose mission  would be to present, preserve and celebrate black history and cultural achievements in the Clemson area.

In August 2007 a diverse group of local residents, graduates from the former Calhoun Elementary School and volunteers from Clemson University joined together to establish the Clemson Area African American Museum (CAAAM)

 

In 2008 a founding Board of Directors and officers for CAAAM was selected, a Constitution and Bylaws for the new Museum was approved by the Board, and Articles of Incorporation were submitted to the South Carolina Secretary of State’s office. The new Museum received IRS confirmation of its status as a 501(c)3 the following year.

 

Several other local non-profits also stepped forward during the construction and renovation of the Calhoun Bridge Center to express their interest in leasing space in the building, and two of these nonprofits – the Clemson Child Development Center and the Arts Center of Clemson – became CBC tenants alongside CAAAM in 2007.

The Calhoun Bridge Center 

As noted above, the Calhoun Bridge Center, earlier served as a segregated elementary school for the Clemson area and was named the Calhoun Elementary School. The original building was constructed in 1948 to serve the growing number of African American families residing in the Calhoun area.

When the Clemson/Pickens County public schools were desegregated in the 1970s, African American students who would have attended Calhoun Elementary were instead reassigned to the Morrison Elementary School. The Butler Street building was converted to a kindergarten and first grade facility and renamed the Morrison Annex School.

 

By the 1990s, both Morrison Elementary School and the Morrison Annex School were fast outgrowing their buildings. On November 16, 1999, ground was broken for a new school named Clemson Elementary, and students and teachers moved into this building in August of 2000.

 

On April 16, 2007, following the completion of renovations on the Morrison Annex, the City of Clemson officially changed the building’s name to the Calhoun Bridge Center

The Founding Board Officers (2008)

President – Matthew Green

Vice-President – William Peppers, Jr.

Chair, Finance Committee – Elouise James

Secretary – Gail Wright

Assistant Secretary – Bessie (Pat) Kemp

President and Treasurer – Matthew Green

Vice-President – Robert Kemp

Secretary – Gail Wright

Members:

Abel Bartley

Julia Bell

Dr. Angela Eckhoff

Elouise James

Dorothy Jones

Bessie Kemp

Dr. Del Kimbler

George Lignon

William Peppers, Jr.

Dr. Mindy Spearman

Dr. Rhondda Thomas

Isaac Wallace

Henry Young

 Board Officers and Members (2012-2014)

President – Paul Elston

Vice-President – Robert Kemp

Treasurer – Larry Walker

Secretary – Angels Hick

Assistant Secretary – Bessie Kemp

Members:

Jamaine Dawkins

Vivian Green

Deborah Hamilton

Abe Isham

Gloria Isham

Dorothy Jones

Maryetta Jones

Dr. Deborah King

Mattie Morris

Diane Perry

Barry Richard

 Board Officers and Members (2014-2019)

President – Robert Kemp

Vice President – Vince Jackson & Pat Kemp

Treasurer – Larry Walker

Secretary – Deborah Hamilton

Assistant Secretary – Julie Ogletree

Accountant – Diane Kincaid

Members:

Cicsley Galloway

Vivian Green

Kendra Johnson

Mia Tensley

Dr. Jody Usher

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