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The Irresistible Ones

April 17, 2014

By: Mary Anne Fitzpatrick

This year we have been commemorating the integration of the University of South Carolina.  We have had numerous programs, lectures, films and visiting artists.   On April 11, we dedicated a commemorative garden beside the main entrance gates to our university.  Pearl Fryar, the noted topiary artist, designed his living sculpture in honor of the three students who led the way--- Robert Anderson;   Henrie Monteith, and James Solomon. 

Professor Nikky Finney, the John H. Bennett, Jr. Chair in Southern Letters and Literature, in the Department of English and an internationally recognized poet, wrote a poem which was carved in granite at the site.

THE IRRESISTIBLE ONES

 ROBERT ANDERSON         HENRIE MONTEITH          JAMES SOLOMON


 They arrive knocking at Osborne’s great garnet door. They want to study

mathematics, join the debate team, and sing in the choir.  They are three in a sea of

six thousand. With each step they pole vault shards of doubt, sticks of dynamite, and

stubborn hate mail.  With them arrives the bright peppermint of change.  The new

laws of the new day can no longer resist these three irresistible ones, in a sea of six

thousand, stepping through a door now garnet and black.

 

Nikky Finney 2014

Finney, whose father served as the first African-American justice of the S.C. Supreme Court since Reconstruction, said she hopes the garden will become “a place where you can possibly change your heart. I know it’s going to take a heart change before we get to the next step up.”

Read Previous Posts By Dean Fitzpatrick.