FOUNDER’S WEEK 2016 “It’s been four months since [Bond] passed, but I still can hardly talk of him without crying,” said Sellers. “That giant of a man … my mentor and my friend. “As much as I love and respect that honorable man, Barack Obama, I hope people will say I’m more like Julian Bond than Barack Obama,” he said. After graduating from Morehouse with a degree in African American studies, Sellers earned a J.D. from the University of South Carolina School of Law. Then, unfazed by the lure of big cities and even bigger money, he returned to his hometown of Denmark, S.C., population 3,426, where the median income is $18,000. “I went to serve,” he explained. “I went to do what a Morehouse Man should. I went where I was most needed,” he said, as he listed great Morehouse Men who had preceded him. “None of these men intended to be great men,” he continued. “They were like you—intelligent and energetic and studying. But when history asked who will go, they
answered, ‘Here am I, Lord. Send me.’” Sellers also answered the call. He made history when, at age 22, he became the youngest African American elected official in the nation’s history. He was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives, serving 2006 to 2014, and also was one of the youngest state representatives in the nation. Sellers, who is currently an attorney with the Strom Law Firm, LLC, of Columbia, S.C., represented the 90th District in the lower house of the state legislature and has served as a member of the South Carolina Legislative Black Caucus since 2006. He has worked for U.S. Congressman James Clyburn and former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin. He also has had extensive leadership experience working for the Democratic Leadership Council and Obama for America. He has been featured in Politico, and Time magazine listed him as a rising star of American politics in its “40 Under 40” listing. Despite giving up his seat to bid
unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor in 2014, Sellers has continued to be a voice for social justice and equality. He appeared regularly on cable news after the shooting of Walter Scott, a black man fatally shot by a white North Charleston police officer following a daytime traffic stop in April 2015. Three months later, Sellers joined CNN as a commentator on race, politics and legal matters. After his Founder’s Day Convocation speech, Sellers was given the Presidential Award of Distinction by President John Silvanus Wilson Jr. ’79. “I have rarely given the Presidential Award of Distinction,” said Wilson, adding that few have been exemplars of all five of the College values: acuity, agency, integrity, brotherhood and leading a consequential life. “At this moment, and at this time, I have such a man,” he said of Sellers. Yet, Sellers insists that his work is not done. “There is still a crown above me,” he said. “My head is still bare, I still have inches to grow and work to do.” n
SHARING THEIR STORIES As part of the Founder’s Day celebration, the Journalism and Sports Program sponsored the “Rising Stars in the Media” event, bringing back four recent graduates to discuss their work in the media. Pictured are: (l-r) David Dow ’12, production secretary at CBS’s “48 Hours”; Donovan X. Ramsey ’10, freelance journalist and Demos fellow; Ron Thomas, program director; Mark Anthony Green ’10, “Style Guy” fashion columnist for GQ magazine; Malcolm “Max” Tyler ’13, senior researcher and writer for ESPN the Magazine, and Jovan Davis ‘16, who directed the event.
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