Curry Receives Genealogy Book Award |



Dr. Walter B. Curry Jr., founder of Renaissance Publications LLC and graduate of South Carolina State University, received the 2022 International African American Historical and Genealogy Society Book Award in the Regional Genealogy category for his publication titled “The Awakening: The Seawright -Ellison Family Saga, Vol.1, A Narrative Story.

The award was presented during the virtual International Society of African American History and Genealogy Book Awards Ceremony at the African American History and Genealogy Society Conference held October 12-15. Winners were honored for their outstanding publications that accurately examine and describe African American history and genealogy in a wide variety of genres both fiction and nonfiction, for adults and young readers.

“The Awakening: The Seawright-Ellison Family Saga, Vol.1, A Narrative History” is a collection of stories about the descendants of two families who share a common ancestor, Martha Kitchings Seawright Ellison, born into slavery, in 1849, in Aiken County, South Carolina. The book includes the stories of Curry’s great-grandfather, Robert L. Seawright, cousins ​​Ulysses Kitchings and Floster L. Ellison Jr., all of whom lived in the community of Sawyerdale in western County. of Orangeburg.

Robert, who moved to Columbia during World War II, was employed at Pacific Mills as a skilled laborer. While employed at Pacific Mills, Robert was part of a mobilized workforce of skilled workers who made military uniforms for soldiers.

Ulysses served as principal of Sardis School, an African-American Rosenwald school in Salley.

Floster, inspired by the civil rights movement, co-founded the Palmetto State Barbers Association to organize African-American barbers across South Carolina, made history as the first African-American barber inspector in the State of South Carolina. Floster worked alongside noted social reformer and civil rights activist Modjeska Simkins to enter the South Carolina Department of Mental Health hospital system, which allowed Floster to rewrite history, becoming the first director of social services at Crafts Farrow State Hospital (South Carolina Lunatic Asylum) in 1965.

The book features the story of Salley native Tommy Ellison who went on to a legendary career in gospel music, affectionately known to his fans in Orangeburg and across the country as “Mr. Gospel Superstar. The book also includes an appendix section that features the local history of the Sawyerdale community, the Palmetto State Barbers Association, Tommy Ellison & The Five Singing Stars, and the family churches located in West Orangeburg County, Oakey Spring Missionary and Antioch Missionary Baptist Church of North.

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