Bernie Wright named interim director of Penn Center

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Bernie L. Wright will serve as interim director of Penn Center is one of South Carolina’s most important African American historical sites.

Wright was hired as the interim director, to replace Marion Burns, who died in August. Wright has been on the job now since Sept. 20.

Wright 74, is from Orangeburg but was born and raised in St. Matthews in Calhoun County. His primary focus on the Penn Center, he says is to make buildings more modern and update the center’s history and culture programs. concentrates on the rich history that is The Sea Islands and the Gullah Geechee culture of Black Lowcountry residents.

It isn’t Wright’s first time with Penn Center. He served as executive director from 2002-2007. Before coming to Penn, he spent his entire career with the Farmers Home Administration, a loan agency that was part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He is also a former advisory board member of the center.

A nationwide search will be carried out by the center’s board of directors to find a permanent director. “I just came on board to steady the ship in the meantime,” Wright said. 

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