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NPR Arts & Life

York County Celebrates Its Own

York County Culture & Heritage Museum
Charlotte Arts Journalism Alliance

The ceremony celebrated three York County residents. There was civil war women’s historian, Pat Veasey, retired Winthrop professor, Joe Zdenek, and history loving radio DJ, Allan Miller.

“I think we get the opportunity to gain the experience of other people’s challenges by knowing history” Miller says. “And if we don’t know where we came from we don’t know where we are going. Somebody said that in history I am sure.”

Miller led an effort to erect historical markers in Rock Hill that note the city’s significant events, people, and their achievements.

There’s a marker for Vernon Grant, the illustrator of the Snap, Crackle & Pop cartoon characters for Rice Crispies cereal.

Then there are some for important events.  Perhaps the most significant was the 1961 sit in at McCrory’s Five and Dime.

“The activity we evolved around McCrory’s made it fashionable to  accept the fact that we had some unrest some civil rights unrest in downtown Rock Hill” Miller says.

He thinks the markers encourage some important conversation.

“Up until that time I think people were really nervous about doing it. But whenever we aired our laundry on main street everybody else said ‘well, it’s okay to talk about it.’ These men deserve their credit because they were civil rights pioneers.”

The award ceremony was followed by a performance by country musician Darrell Scott.

 “He’s a culture icon within himself in terms of what he’s written about, who has recorded his work,” says Mary Lynn Norton, Community Relations Manager at the York County Culture & History Museums. “He’s definitely a keeper himself in terms of how he has preserved culture through the lyrics of his songs.”