(Georgetown, SC) – The Gullah Geechee Chamber of Commerce announces the formation of the Gullah Geechee Leadership Institute and the hiring of James Felder as Lead Advocate for the organization.
“We are excited to move our community advocacy to the next level with the formation of the Gullah Geechee Leadership Institute,” states Marilyn Hemingway, CEO/Founder of the Gullah Geechee Chamber of Commerce, “It doubles the excitement to have an individual with the experience and knowledge of James Felder to help launch our organization and to provide a greater focus on environmental, energy, cultural appropriation and other issues impacting our community.”
Organized as a separate independent organization, the Gullah Geechee Leadership Institute will serve as a policies and issues education resource for the Gullah community with a mission to develop leadership advocating for policies and issues positively impacting the Gullah community.
Serving as Lead Advocate, James Felder, a native of Sumter, SC has a long civil and voters’ rights history in the state of South Carolina. After returning to the state in 1967, Felder directed the SC Voter Education Project (VEP) and during an eighteen-month period coordinated a statewide registration drive placing more than 200,000 Blacks on the voting rolls.
In November 1970, Jim Felder along with I. S. Leevy Johnson and Herbert Fielding, were the first Blacks to be elected to the South Carolina Legislature since Reconstruction. In 1973 he was appointed the first Black Assistant Solicitor in South Carolina. He is the past Vice Chair of the South Carolina Department of Youth Services.
Jim is the past president of the Columbia Branch NAACP. He served on the Board of Trustees at Allen University. He is a member of the National Bar Association, the American Business Law Association, and the SC Black Hall of Fame.
He is the author of numerous books including: “I BURIED JOHN F. KENNEDY”, 1994; “CIVIL RIGHTS IN SOUTH CAROLINA”, May 2012. His third book, “The Making of an AME Bishop”, describes the process of becoming a Bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal Church was released July 2016. His most recent book, “THE LIFE AND TIMES OF Dr. LUNS
C. RICHARDSON”, former president of Morris College in Sumter, South Carolina for an historical 43 years, was released in May 2019.
During his military tour of duty, 1962-64, he was selected to head the casket team that bore the body of the late President John F. Kennedy during those “four dark days” in November 1963. He received the Army Commendation Medal for his performance
He holds a BA Degree from Clark Atlanta University and a Juris Doctor from Howard University School of Law. He also earned a Master of Laws from the Atlanta Law School and holds the Doctorate of Humane Letters from the College of Charleston.