South Carolina Arts Commissioner, activist and filmmaker Charles T. “Bud” Ferillo Jr. was honored Oct. 20 by South Carolina Humanities with a Governor’s Award in the Humanities.
Ferillo’s leadership on behalf of public education and civil rights make him one of South Carolina’s top advocates for social justice. In 1970, at age 24, he managed Congressman Jim Clyburn’s first political campaign and, the same year, led the floor fight to delete a school segregation plank from the State Democratic Party’s Platform at its state convention, which historian Jack Bass called the “high water mark of segregationist politics in the South Carolina Democratic Party.” Ferillo served as Chief of Staff to two Speakers of the House and Deputy Lieutenant Governor in Governor Dick Riley’s second Administration, helping to draft and pass the 1984 Education Improvement Act. Ferillo’s 2005 documentary, Corridor of Shame, won six national awards for documentary filmmaking and drew international media attention to the problems of education among our poorest school districts. A Vietnam veteran, senior member of the S.C. Arts Commission, and filmmaker, he now coordinates the South Carolina Collaborative for Race and Reconciliation at the University of South Carolina. Bud Ferillo is never on the sidelines, but can always be found in the front ranks of civic engagement and visionary leadership in South Carolina.
Also receiving awards were Betsy Newman, an award-winning documentary and web content producer for South Carolina ETV, and the late John Stringer Rainey, (posthumous award) an attorney and political and philanthropic fundraiser from Camden.
Newman is a documentary producer and web content developer for South Carolina ETV, specializing in making programs on the history and culture of South Carolina. To date she has produced 12 documentaries about the Palmetto State. A South Carolina native, Newman worked for many years in New York City as an independent producer and media educator. She is currently the project director of Between the Waters, a virtual tour/interactive website about Hobcaw Barony, funded by NEH and South Carolina Humanities. She has been nominated for two Emmy Awards and is the recipient of a CINE Golden Eagle. Her documentary, “The Education of Harvey Gantt,” screened in July 2016 at the March on Washington Film Festival at the National Museum of American History.
Rainey (1941-2015), late of Camden, S.C. but a native of Anderson, S.C., was a practicing attorney who also served as chairman of the board of Greenville-based Easlan Capital, Inc., a real estate development firm. He was also active in other business and in civic and political affairs. He served on and chaired a variety of boards, including the South Carolina Board of Economic Advisors, the Palmetto Economic Development Corporation, National Wildlife Federation Endowment, Brookgreen Gardens, and the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, among many others. He was a trustee of the ETV Endowment of South Carolina for more than 20 years and served as both President and Chairman. Rainey was the executive producer of several documentary films, including Corridor of Shame and South Carolinians in WWII. He has received many honors and awards, such as The Order of the Palmetto and the South Carolina Wildlife Federation’s Conservationist of the Year. By Presidential appointment, he was a member of the Board of Visitors of the United States Military Academy at West Point. A 1962 graduate of the University of Virginia, (BA in History), where he also was a Distinguished Military Graduate from Army ROTC, he also held law degrees from the University of South Carolina (JD, 1965) and Georgetown University (LLM in Taxation, 1969).
Established in 1991, the Governor’s Awards in the Humanities recognize outstanding achievement in humanities research, teaching, and scholarship; institutional and individual participation in community-based programs that promote public understanding of ideas and issues related to the humanities; excellence defining South Carolina’s cultural life to the nation or world; and exemplary support for public humanities programs. From 1991-2015, 71 awards have been presented. S.C. Humanities is completing its 43rd year as the state-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
To learn more about the Governor’s Awards in the Humanities and to see a list of the previous 71 recipients, visit South Carolina Humanities website.