Brett Bursey

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Brett Bursey

Template:TOCnestleft Brett Bursey is a South Carolina activist.

Brett Bursey began his life-long career as a progressive activist in 1968 as the SC State Traveler for the Southern Student Organizing Committee. He founded the Grass Roots Organizing Workshop (GROW) in 1975. GROW organized the South Carolina Progressive Network in 1995.

His mentor was Modjeska Simkins, who he met in 1976. He discussed politics extensively until her death.[1]

Progressive kick-off

Progressive kick-off

Keith Grey, Sr., Erniko Brown, Nick Rubin, Tabitha Bayne-Petree, Brett Bursey.


Brett Bursey, director of the South Carolina Progressive Network, calls himself the oldest living Confederate prisoner of war. He says he is still out on bond after he burned the Confederate flag in February1969, during a protest at USC Columbia, in February 1969. [2][3]

Bursey, as a 19 year old USC student also sold Vietcong flags on campus, and was jailed for nearly two years after he attacked a local selective service office and poured paint over records. His best friend, and fellow attacker turned out to be a government informant.[4]

GI Civil Liberties Defense Committee

Circa 1969, Brett Bursey, SSOC-Students for a Democratic Society, Columbia, South Carolina , was listed as a sponsor of the Socialist Workers Party led GI Civil Liberties Defense Committee .[5]

In These Times ad for a National Conference July 30-August 1, 1982 of the FFP

The Communist Workers Party front Federation For Progress put a half-page ad in the "socialist" oriented weekly newspaper, In These Times in the July 14-27, 1982 issue, p. 8, entitled: "A natural follow-up to June 12: A national conference July 30-August 1 at Columbia Un., in New York City".

It was a follow-up conference to the major "anti-defense lobby" march and protest in New York on June relating to the U.N. Second Special Session on Disarmament.

Endorsers of the event included Brett Bursey - Grassroots Organizing Workshop, Columbia, S.C.

King Day at the Dome 2000

James McLawhorn wrote:

As we reflect on South Carolina's image during the first decade of this century, the inaugural King Day at the Dome 2000 symbolizes a landmark movement and monumental achievement in race relations. King Day at the Dome 2000 was significant because it represented a broad-based and diverse coalition of stakeholders who mobilized some 50,000 individuals of various ages, genders and racial, political, religious and socio-economic backgrounds to come together to peacefully protest the flying of the Confederate flag on the State House dome and in the House and Senate chambers.
The idea of mobilizing a diverse coalition to petition the governor and General Assembly to remove the Confederate flag at the turn of the 21st century came from the late civil rights activist and social worker Phil Desilet, who talked at length with me in October 1999 about his vision; thus was planted the seed of King Day at the Dome.
Under the leadership of David Swinton, president of Benedict College and then-chairman of the Columbia Urban League board of directors, a meeting was convened in November 1999 with James Gallman, then-president of the state NAACP; Bishop John Hurst Adams, then-presiding bishop of the Seventh Episcopal District; the Rev. W.E. Givens, then-president of the S.C. Baptist Education and Missionary Convention of South Carolina; and myself, president and CEO of the Columbia Urban League. We unanimously agreed to pursue the event and called a meeting the next month that drew 400 people representing the Assembly of African-American Leaders. This assembly unanimously passed a resolution for a protest and rally for the removal of the Confederate flags from the State House on Dr. King's holiday on Jan. 17, 2000.
After this meeting, the organizing committee was formed consisting of Gallman, Swinton and myself along with Rhett Jackson, United Methodist Church; Bishop Adams; Dr. Givens; Jamie Renda, United 2000; Tom Turnipseed, Center for Democratic Renewal; Brett Bursey, South Carolina Progressive Network; Fred Sheheen, Center for Citizenship; Julia Sibley-Juras, S.C. Christian Action Council; Lonnie Randolph, Columbia branch NAACP; Rev. Dr. E. Gail Holness, Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance; Hemphill Pride II, attorney at law; and John Broomfield, Rainbow Radio.[6]

Spratt award


SC AFL-CIO President Donna DeWitt and South Carolina Alliance for Retired Americans VP Brett Bursey present US Congressman John Spratt, Jr. with a plaque thanking him for his service to the Palmetto State, August 13, 2010.

South Carolina Alliance for Retired Americans

In 2011, Brett Bursey, was South Carolina Alliance for Retired Americans Vice-President.[7]

Labor Party

In 2011 the South Carolina Labor Party and the state AFL-CIO threw their weight behind Brett Bursey, a long-time labor and anti-war activist, for South Carolina House District 69, who will be the Labor Party’s first candidate, after over a decade in existence.[8]

Chair of the South Carolina Labor Party was Donna DeWitt.[9]

South Carolina Progressive Network

Brett Bursey is Director of the South Carolina Progressive Network.

Joseph H. Neal Wellness Center connection

South Carolina Progressive Network August 24, 2017:


Network Director Brett Bursey and CoChair Marjorie Hammock (right) joined Bambi Gadist, Harold Mitchell, Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter and Wilma Garren at the renaming of the HIV AIDS Council's building to the Joseph H. Neal Wellness Center. It's a fitting tribute to a man who worked tirelessly for AIDS funding and advocacy.

Pinckney connection

Bursey was a good friend of Clementa Pinckney’s. And when he came to the state House, he was 23, 24 years old.

The Progressive Network does a lot of policy work and for the Black Caucus, and Clementa was one of our sponsors for a clean elections bill, and he was our spokesperson about the corrupting influence of money on politics for several years.[10]