Mr. Frierson is a local historian and community activist from Alcolu, South Carolina. Born in 1952, he was the youngest of six children, holds degrees in Accounting and Business Management, and served honorably in the US Army. He was Treasurer of the Clarendon County Democratic Party and Chairman of Clarendon School District, 3 and has been a lifelong member of Oak Grove Missionary Baptist Church of Alcolu. Mr. Frierson was the lead advocate in the exoneration of George Stinney, Jr., placed the George Stinney “Hope Stone” in Alcolu, and witnessed his exoneration on December 16, 2014. Currently, Mr. Frierson serves as the archivist for the Mayesville Museum and Mary McLeod Bethune Learning Center & Art Gallery. He is the winner of the 2015 NAACP Social Justice Award, the 2018 Award for Civil Rights, as well as the NAACP Lifetime Achievement Award.
Frances Pollock is a composer who is excited by all kinds of music. Her favorite music inspirations are Dolly Parton, Whitney Houston, Francis Poulenc, Joni Mitchell, Missy Elliot, Stephen Sondheim, Jonathan Dove, and Billy Joel. Known for her “bold and bracing” (Baltimore Sun) opera writing, Frances Pollock’s music “pulls no punches and never flinches.” (City Paper).Frances loves watching opera and writing opera. This past season, Frances wrote for Chautauqua Omaha, Opera Omaha, and Bel Cantanti. Frances’ first opera, Stinney, was workshopped in Baltimore in 2015 where it won a Johns Hopkins Diversity Grant and a Best of Baltimore award. It was presented again in workshop in the 2019 PROTOTYPE festival in New York City. It had its world premiere in February with Opera Grand Rapid. Frances has since written opera’s for Washington National Opera (librettist Vanessa Moody) and Chicago Lyric/Seattle Opera (librettist Jessica Murphy Moo). Frances is a founding member of the Venture Studio, Midnight Oil Collective where she is incubating Salt (with wife and best friend Emily Roller.) She holds a Bachelors of Music in composition from Furman University and a Masters of Music in vocal performance from Peabody Conservatory. She is currently completing her doctorate in composition at Yale University.
Hillary Taylor is an ordained United Methodist pastor connected to the Mountain Sky Conference. She presently works as a healthcare chaplain in Greenville, SC. Born and raised in Columbia, she studied psychology and poverty studies at Furman University. After graduating with her bachelors degree, she served as a young adult volunteer in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa and Miami, Florida with Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church. She received her M.Div. at Candler School of Theology, where she became deeply involved with interfaith dialogue, community organizing, and teaching theology classes at Lee Arrendale State Prison. When she is not thinking about restorative justice, conflict transformation, and fresh expressions of ministry for the local church, she loves running with her dog (Lola) and experiencing the outdoors any way she can.
Dr. Hamilton is Associate Professor of English at Presbyterian College where she teaches African American Literature, American Identities, Gender Studies, Southern Studies and Transatlantic modernism, among other courses. She travels “the fragrant path” as a plantswoman, professor, storyteller, and community activist. In her multifaceted lives as a journalist, poet, and literary critic, she has worked at the intersection of race, culture, and environmental awareness with communities at the grass roots including embattled freedman’s towns along the Gullah/Geechee Coast as well as abandoned mill villages in the South Carolina Upstate. She teaches African American and U.S. South literatures at Presbyterian College in South Carolina while also spearheading community gardening initiatives with her horticulturist husband. She is the author of The Goddess of Gumbo: Poems (Word Press, 2006) and Romancing the Gullah, a book of cultural criticism forthcoming from University of Georgia Press in 2023 as well as numerous shorter works. Her works-in-progress include Spinning Dreams and Tangled Histories, an edited collection of essays on class, race, and gender in the Piedmont region’s “empire of cotton,” and a work of creative nonfiction titled The Doctrine of Signatures: A Life With Plants.
Feliccia Smith is a Professor of Management at North Greenville University, where she has served for 15 years. Her area of emphasis is Leadership and Organizational Change. She is passionate about battling inequality and injustice in our society. She currently serves as the Co-Chair of the Community Remembrance Project of Greenville County, which partners with EJI to raise the consciousness of our community on the racial terror and violence, which has created a legacy of racial injustice and bias in Greenville County. Dr. Smith also serves as the Tri-President for the Greenville Interfaith Justice Ministry that follows the biblical mandate of Micah 6:8, which is to DO justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. Her ministry seeks to break down systemic structures that would help build a future rooted in justice for every single person. Feliccia aspires to be a beacon in the legacy of Black Leadership in Greenville.