Voorhees College Honors Its Founder

For the past four years Richard Reid, archivist of Voorhees College, has been conducting research on Elizabeth Evelyn Wright Menafee, the founder of the historically Black educational institution in Denmark, South Carolina. The research has produced a collection of photographs, letters, and other documents relating to Menafee’s effort to establish a school for Blacks in South Carolina.

Menafee was born in Talbotton, Georgia, in 1872. Her father was an African American carpenter and her mother was a Cherokee Indian. She was a graduate of Tuskegee University and after moving to South Carolina wanted to start a school modeled after her alma mater. Menafee traveled to nine different locations in the state before deciding to establish the school which is now Voorhees College on April 14, 1897. The school was founded above a store. She later raised funds for the school to purchase land outside of town. She died in 1906 at the age of 34 and is buried on the campus of Voorhees College.

 

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