South Carolina Progressive Network

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South Carolina Progressive Network is a coalition of organizations and individual activists from across the state who have joined forces to promote social and economic justice in the Palmetto State. Now celebrating 20 years of organizing, the Network was created in 1995 as a tool to engage South Carolinians in their communities and in their government. At its core, the Network is about connecting people to each other and to resources designed to leverage the work of progressive organizations and promote sound public policy.[1]


In 1976, Modjeska Simkins became a mentor for the Grass Roots Organizing Workshop in Columbia (GROW). GROW founded the South Carolina Progressive Network in 1995 that carries on Modjeska's work and has their office in her historic home in downtown Columbia.[2]

"Our guy on the inside"

South Carolina Progressive Network March 31, 2017:


Our guy on the inside, John Crangle, will offer his weekly legislative briefing today at 5:30. The campaign finance scandal looms large; hear John's take on latest developments. He'll also have updates on bills we are tracking.

SNYC booklet

In 2018 South Carolina Progressive Network published a booklet, HISTORY DENIED: Recovering South Carolina's Stolen Past by Becci Robbins. Its content is a substantive introduction to the Southern Negro Youth Congress (SNYC) and the vanguard radical labor organizing among interracial youth in the severely segregated South between 1937 and 1949. Specifically, this tells of a landmark Congress convened in Columbia, South Carolina in October of 1946.

This event had in active participation such Freedom Movement notables as local South Carolina youth leaders in addition to Paul Robeson, Herbert Aptheker, Dorothy Burnham and Louis Burnham, Esther Jackson and James Jackson, Louise Patterson, Sallye Davis, Jack O'Dell, South Carolina's Modjeska Simkins and the Congress' Keynote Speaker, Dr. W.E.B. DuBois, who gave a speech, BEHOLD THE LAND, which "has been a must read' for all young activists ever since".[3]

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.

14th annual spring conference

The South Carolina Progressive Network, a statewide coalition of political and social groups concerned with social justice issues, hosted its 14th annual spring conference April 2010 in Columbia.

The noon to 5 p.m. meeting at the Booker T. Washington Cultural Arts Center, 2611 Grant St., is free and open to the public.

From noon till 2:30 p.m., network co-chairs Rep. Joseph Neal, D-Richland, and Donna DeWitt will lead discussions on strategies and tactics for advancing progressive policies. Those attending the 3-5 p.m. session will hear from progressive candidates and learn about shaping strategies for winning elections.[4]

"Charleston 5"

Gathered in the union hall and parking lot on East Bay Street, the dockworkers of International Longshoremens Association (ILA) Local 1422, mostly African American men, celebrated their hard-fought victory in the case of the Charleston Five. Elijah Ford, Peter Washington, Jr. and Ricky Simmons were freed Nov. 13, 2001, and Kenneth Jefferson and Jason Edgerton were freed the previous Thursday.

All five union dockworkers, four African-American and one white, pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor and paid $309 in fines and court fees. Their attorneys told the World that the workers were making no admission of guilt.

They spent nearly 20 months under house arrest following the riot by 650 heavily armed state troopers who brutally attacked the 150 workers walking on an ILA picket line the night of Jan. 19, 2000. The dockers had been protesting Nordana Shipping Companys use of non-union labor, a brazen attempt to break the union and force down the wages and benefits earned by the ILA dockers.

No worker is going to sit idle while they take our jobs away, said Frank Jenkins, a second-generation dockworker. This is the strongest union in the state of South Carolina. Weve built a good life for ourselves and our families. We can afford to send our children to college. South Carolina Progressive Network (SCPN), a multiracial and multi-issue organization was holding its monthly meeting in the Local 1422 recreational room. Kenneth Riley, president of Local 1422 and himself a SCPN member, thankedd the group for their staunch support. You were there from the beginning, he said. We couldnt have won this victory without the backing of groups like the Progressive Network.

The Progressive Network is building a strong coalition movement in South Carolina, said Torreah Cookie Washington, chair of the Charleston branch of the Progressive Network.[5]


2017 leaders included Shannon Colley Herin, Katie Schulz, Sarah Keeling, Carol Singletary.[6]

Executive Committee

The SC Progressive Network’s Executive Committee is elected by the Board, which is comprised of a representative from each member organization, with members serving two-year terms. The Committee meets every other month in person or by conference call. The full Board gathers twice each year for statewide retreats and conferences.


Chair Emeritus

Vice Chairs



Member at large

Midlands Regional Coordinator

Lowcountry Regional Coordinator


Communications Director