Celebrating Black History Month: Today we honor Charleston Native Lucille Simmons Whipper

Lucille Simmons Whipper is a Civil Rights pioneer elected to various state and local offices, such as the State House of Representatives where she was the first black woman ever elected from the Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester area.

Born in 1928, Whipper became a student activist at her high school in Charleston, Avery Institute.

In the late 1960s, Whipper served as an organizer and director of Operation Catch-Up that helped in leading high school students. In 1972, Whipper was appointed to serve as assistant to the president and director of the office of Human Relations at the College of Charleston, where she became the College’s first African American administrator and developed its first affirmative action plan.

She has served for years on the South Carolina Human Affairs Commission and sponsored two important legislation that makes marital rape a crime and requires the monitoring of state agencies’ hiring goals for minorities and females.

She co-founded the Lowcountry Aid to Africa project in 2004, donating money to foundations and organizations helping people and families in Africa affected by AIDS.
She was listed as one of “Charleston’s One Hundred Most Influential since 1670” in the November 2007 issue of Charleston Magazine. In December 2008, she received the Doctorate of Humane Letters from the College of Charleston.

Whipper was married to the late Rev. Dr. Benjamin J. Whipper Sr., and lives in Mount Pleasant. She is the mother of six children and is a grandparent. A stretch of US-17 is named in her honor.

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