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EUTAWVILLE -- The 8th annual South Carolina Heritage and Humanities Festival will be a special and memorable one for the Town of Eutawville, the County of Orangeburg, and the State of South Carolina. Scheduled to be held at the Eutawville Community Center at 3 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019, the annual Festival is set to accommodate a capacity crowd at no cost. From its inception in 2012, Byron Brown, Founder of the Festival has endorsed free admissions.

“While we have had seven consecutive years of excellent success in bringing people of various backgrounds to share their gifts, their talents, their skills, their creativity and their expertise with one another in embracing unity across economic, political, religious, and racial lines, the festival continues to grow rich in diversity,” Brown said.

The festival will feature the Dr. Maya Angelou Poetry Contest. Middle and high school students from across the state will compete in the contest by performing a dramatic reading of "Still I Rise" by the poet. In this statewide competition, students will be besting it out by trying to grab the 1st-, 2nd-, and 3rd-place cash awards. Judges for the contest includes a superintendent, a retired principal, a minister, and two educators from Orangeburg, Dorchester and Colleton Counties.

Increasing diversity and promoting a multicultural society has always been an aim for the festival. In fact, of the past seven keynote speakers and to include this year’s speaker, the festival would have showcased two white keynote speakers, a county official — Mr. Johnny Wright, Orangeburg County Sheriff Leroy Ravenell, a Christian minister from Saluda, a female—the granddaughter of South Carolina legendary Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, and a former Los Angeles Rams football player — Dr. Darius McCarthy.

Dr. Richard Woolf, a native of Mesa, Arizona has been selected to deliver this year’s keynote address. Woolf is the United States’ Vice President of Professional Standards for the Federation of State Board of Physical Therapy.

“In closing the gap of racial divides, it is a wonderful gesture to have a white Republican from Arizona and a primarily group of African-American Democrats from South Carolina to sit under one roof and celebrate the successes of all people," Brown said. "This notion is in perfect alignment with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s dream of everyone sitting down together and fellowshipping at the table of brotherhood/sisterhood.”

Governor Henry McMaster echoes this sentiment to the Festival attendees in his welcome letter: “Our state, and our nation, boast an extraordinarily diverse range of cultures thanks to the countless individuals who left their homes for a new life in a distant locale. Through open communication, native traditions have been shared and, with genuine acceptance, assimilated in our daily lives.”

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