On the passing of Thomasena Stokes Marshall

S.C. folk arts, political pioneer passed away Jan. 7

Official Statement from the S.C. Arts Commission

The South Carolina Arts Commission expresses its sadness after learning that Thomasena Stokes Marshall passed this past weekend.

Most notable among her many accomplishments is a successful run for a seat on town council in Mount Pleasant that made her the first and only Black member of the council in 186 years (per the Post & Courier). She appeared on the S.C. Arts Commission radar as founder of the Sweetgrass Cultural Arts Festival Association. The group was honored with the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award in 2017 (Hub coverage), and Marshall collaborated with the SCAC on that. The relationship led to the organization participating in FOLKfabulous@TheFair with McKissick Museum and also a Folklife & Traditional Arts Project grant from the SCAC in support of a sweetgrass basketry summer camp.

The SCAC extends warm and sincere condolences to the surviving members of Marshall’s family with gratitude for her achievements and hard work on behalf of a cherished traditional art form important to our state.

South Carolina Arts Commission News Release, Media Contact: Jason L. Rapp, Communications Director. jrapp@arts.sc.gov or 803.734.8899