Growing Up in Pendleton SC in 1950s and 60's
Sandra Gantt of Pendleton, SC
Sandra Gantt Shares Her Memories Of Growing Up In Pendleton South Carolina
Pendleton SC Town Council woman Sandra Gantt was asked to speak to the Leadership Pendleton Class of 2009. She was asked to tell how it was to grow up Pendleton. I was so glad that I was able to hear Sandra's talk. She was so interesting and enlightening. I asked Sandra if she would share her memories as part of this series I was doing on Squidoo. Sandra was kind enough to give her consent and share some wonderful photos as well as her speech.Thank you, Sandra for sharing your story with us.Note: This is a scroll down web page so please read and scroll and continue until you can no longer scroll.Sandra Gantt's last Town Council meeting was November 7, 2011. A reception was given in honor of her 14 years of serving on the council. See pictures below. Sandra was also honored to be the Official Christmas Tree Lighter as well as the Grand Marshall for the Christmas Parade in 2011.Update 2012 - Sandra was re-elected to Town Council and once again serve the town in this very important position. Sandra is truly "making a difference" Thank you, Sandra.Photo Credit: Photo provided by Sandra Gantt. All photos used on this page are the property of Sandra Gantt and are not be copied without her permission.
Important Pendleton South Carolina Links - A small historic town nested in the foothills of Upstate South Carolina
Pendleton SC is a wonderful place to live and a great place to visit. Come see us!
- Town of Pendleton
Town of Pendleton SC Website. Sandra serves as a member of the Pendleton Town Council.
- Pendleton Historic Foundation
Pendleton Historic Foundation works to preserve two historic homes in Pendleton SC: Ashtabula and Woodburn
- Pendleton District Commission
The Pendleton District includes what is now Anderson, Pickens, and Oconee Counties in upstate South Carolina.
- Pendleton Happenings
A bulletin board, of sorts, to keep you informed as to what is going on around town.
- Jane Edna Hunter
Click this link to learn more about Jane Edna Hunter and her contributions. Sandra is related to her and her story is amazing.
Sandra Gantt's Story of Growing Up in Pendleton - In the 1950s and 1960s South Carolina
We were in the days of segregation - that means to the few who are too young to remember, black people, or colored people as we were called then, were not allowed to partake of the privileges we have today. The national anthem did not apply to people of color because we were not in the land of the brave and the home of the free. In fact we were thought to be less than the animals in some households.We had to drink water from a "Coloreds Only" water fountain and that was hard to find. Our water drinking was done at home or in a cafe that catered to "Coloreds Only".If we went to any other restaurant our place was at the back door of that restaurant where we placed our food order. Eventually, they let us in the front door but we had to stand at a corner of the counter and place our orders because we were not allowed to sit down. I often wondered how was it that if we were not good enough to come in and sit down in those restaurants - how could there not be a problem with us cooking the very food that we could not enjoy.
Sandra Gantt remembers Ben Keese - and the Keese Barn and "the hundreds"
Of course, we had our own places that we could eat in without a problem. There was a cafe right next to Ben Keese's antique store on West Queen Street and a caf right up the street. On Belmina Street there was a small restaurant with a barber shop attached to it run by Mr. Jack Bell. The hot dogs and hamburgers were a real treat for us.Speaking of Ben Keese... I was raised to call him Uncle Ben Keese because both of his wives (who were sisters) were aunts to my Mother. He was a frugal but shrewd businessman.As a child, I remember him in church, (Kings Chapel AME) where he was an assistant minister, sitting in the pulpit wearing these bright white cat eyed women's glasses perched on his nose, reading the scripture. I thought this was the funniest sight I had ever seen and as you could imagine I did not pay attention to the scripture he was reading.His antique store was known all across the upstate and you would always find white people purchasing his antiques. He traveled to Philadelphia, where he had a home, a few times during the year and returned with a new load of furniture. He owned a lot of property in Pendleton and was always bailing out someone who had gotten into financial trouble. He was a legend in his own way.
Photo: The picture is of Sandra's mother's parents and her mom and her sister and her brother in her granddad's lap and cousins.
Ben Keese Barn - Years after it was a popular place of business
Keese Barn in Pendleton
After years of trying to restore the old Ben Keese Barn, the Foundation for Black History and Culture in Pendleton SC had to tear it down. The building was owned by the Pendleton Foundation for Black History and Culture who had great hopes of restoring this historic building. However, it was beyond repair.
Photo: Courtesy of Jerry Sloan
Sandra Gantt Remembers Public School in Pendleton SC
It was the time of Segregation
Back to how it was then...at the drug store soda fountain, we were not allowed to sit down - we stood at a corner of the counter until we were recognized or until everyone else that was white had been served. One time a young black woman, that had moved to the North, came home for a visit and went to the soda fountain where she proceeded to placed her bottom on the stool to place her order. Well you guessed it - she was refused service. They went so far as to remove the stools from the soda fountain to prevent it from happening again. Talk about overkill! I was told by Mr. Robert Thompson that when he was a young boy, we were not allowed to order a Coca-Cola. It seems that was a forbidden drink for people of color.The schools were separate with all black teachers trying their best to give us an education with used books and equipment.Can you imagine the first day of school and getting your books for the year to find that they had been written in and torn from the previous owners? It was a rare thing to get a new book for school. Can you imagine teaching science classes with only 1 bunson burner in the whole school?It took a student sit-in a few years after I graduated from high school to correct this injustice. The school district had the money but because no one had ever stood up to the superintendent and said enough is enough they did not bother to hand over new supplies.
Sandra Gantt remembers the Pendleton Movie Theatre - and other businesses around Pendleton SC
All that changed on the day of the sit-in when the students, in an orderly fashion, refused to go to class and demanded that they be heard. In the next few days, truck loads of new books, supplies for art and science classes along with all the other things that had been "not given" to our school suddenly appeared. My hat is off to those courageous students!At the movie theater in Pendleton - yes there was a theater - and all over the South, we had separate entrances to go into the building and that entrance lead to the balcony where we viewed the movie. Our concession stand was at that entrance also. Now that I look back over it - the balcony was a better place to view a movie than down on the floor. But I am getting off track.Shopping in Pendleton and elsewhere was a separate issue also. I remember going to Hunter's store and entering through the back door where we stood and waited until every white person would be waited on. It seemed that we were invisible at times.I remember going to Welborn's 5 & dime store and feeling like they really, really, really, did not want me there. The truth of the matter is that the only reason we were there in Welborn's 5 & dime store was because Brown's 5 & dime up the block did not have what we were looking for at the time.Brown's 5 & Dime, bless their hearts, had a candy counter with chocolate covered peanuts and other goodies. The owners never made you feel like a third class human being because basically they were kind people.Going to the doctor's office found you going in the back door to a separate waiting room with very old magazines, if you were fortunate that visit, and to your separate examining room. If you had an appointment for 8 am you would be lucky if they got to you before lunch. If lunch time came the office closed and we had to come back after lunch.
Civil Rights Act of 1964
Ah! but life took a turn for the better.The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was signed into law on July 2, 1964 by President Lyndon Johnson. The bill was introduced by President John F. Kennedy in his civil rights speech of June, 11, 1963 in which he asked for legislation "giving all Americans the right to be served in facilities which are open to the public - hotels, restaurants, theaters, retail stores and similar establishments "as well as" greater protect in the right to vote".This piece of legislation in the United States outlawed racial segregation in schools, public places and employment. It also enforced the constitutional right to vote. It was conceived to help African Americans.Now, things did not change overnight.It took Dr. Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks and many others who fought and lost their lives in order for us to receive the freedoms we have today.We have the freedom to go to the movies and sit anywhere we want. We have the freedom go into the grocery store's front door and purchase our groceries without waiting for all the white people to complete their purchases. We have the freedom to sit down in restaurants and soda fountains all over the world without any repercussions as long as we have money to pay for these privileges. We have the freedom to go into any store to shop and not feel like a criminal - that is unless you have sticky fingers. We have the freedom to drink water from any public water fountain we want to with looking for the "Colored Only" sign.I could not wait to get my voter registration card and vote for the first time. This was progress - a privilege that we were denied because of the color of our skin. I still take the opportunity to vote every time there is an election.When I first moved back to Pendleton, election time came, I gave them my voter registration card. At that point I was asked if I had married and I said yes, then I was told that I needed to change my last name to my husband's by this person at the poll. I guess you know what I said - very politely. Imagine, he was still trying to control me after not seeing me for 20 or more years. Did I change my last name - NO!
Barak Obama Elected President of the United States of America
I never would have imagined back during the time of my growing up I would see a man walk on the moon or even yet a Black man actually get the nomination from a political party to run for President of these United States of America.The next amazing thing I witnessed was that same Black man actually won the race and has become the President of these United States of America. He won because people (black, white, brown, and every color of person) came together for a common cause and put race behind. They believed in the man and what he represented "change".Dr. Martin Luther King had a dream that one day this nation would rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal".Now the feeling has changed in the Black community -any one of us can run for any political office in the country if we so desire. Some of us even win these offices.
Black Culture and Consciousness - Available on Amazon
Book Available on Amazon About Black Heroes - Click the link below to go to Amazon.
If you don't want this book, please search for another title from Amazon
Heroes in Black History
The Pendleton Community Center
Does this mean that we have finally arrived? I doubt it but it is a very large step.In the years that passed, we have the freedom to attend any school we choose if we have the grades, money, and determination .The Black community of Pendleton has produced State Legislators, owners of franchises, lawyers, doctors, and just about any other profession there might be. We have forged ahead because of and in spite of the injustices we experienced.The Pendleton Community Center is where our children can go during the summer and have recreational activities and a meal each day. These children are taught arts and crafts and are provided a shelter from the streets and the dangers that lurk there for young children. After all, it was founded on the concept of providing these things for children of the community.The center is a meeting place for many clubs and organizations. The center has held many plate sales, fish fries, yard sales and reunions. Politicians find this a place where they can present their platform to the Black community. It was a shame that someone thought so little of the center that they defaced the interior. This will not stop progress - just a set back.
Pendleton Community Center
Sandra Gantt stands with the new marker for The Hundreds at Pendleton Community Center - The Hundreds marker was dedicated at the 2012 Grits and Gospel by Pendl
Sandra Gantt's Three Most Favorite Books Available on Amazon - Just click the link and you will be taken to Amazon where you can order or search for something e
Sandra said that she these are just a few of her favorite books:
- The Color Purple
- Waiting to Exhale
Pendleton Memories - A Series
Pendleton South Carolina
Squidoo has been the perfect forum to promote our little town and now it is allowing others to record their precious memories of growing up in this small historic town located in Upstate South Carolina.If you grew up in Pendleton and would like to become a part of this series, please let me know by using the contact link located in my profile (upper right). Your memories must be written in a Word Document and accompanied by at least 5 photos in JPEG format.Betsy Johnson, Curator for Pendleton District Commission, shared these words:These memories are a precious resource that can provide a picture of our town for future generations. With the permission of the writers, hard copies of the Pendleton Memories Series will be donated to the Pendleton District Commission's Local History Archives. The Pendleton District Commission will preserve these stories and make them available for those wishing to learn more about our town.The mission of the Pendleton District Commission is to collect, preserve and promote the rich history of Anderson, Oconee and Pickens counties and to promote economic development through tourism in the region.
Kate Salley Palmer writes about blacks in the American Revolution
Kate Salley Palmer is from Clemson SC just a few miles from Pendleton and writes wonderful childrens books. This is one of them and there are a good many more that I highly recommend for young and older readers.
Sandra Gantt is a very talented vocalist - Here she is singing at Grits and Gospel, a fundraiser for Pendleton Pride In Motion
Sandra is so good to share her wonderful talent!
Sittonbull says that Sandra Gantt sings "At Last" better than Etta James - Here is Etta
One of these days I will get a video of Sandra singing "At Last".