Bakari Sellers keynote speaker at Livingstone College Founder’s Day program

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 25, 2021

SALISBURY – Livingstone College will celebrate Founder’s Day on Friday with a virtual program premiering at 10 a.m. on its official YouTube channel.

The annual program celebrates the life and legacy of one of its founders and first president, Joseph Charles Price, and is held in February, the month in which Price was born. The speaker for the occasion will be attorney Bakari Sellers, son of a civil rights activist and a rising star in the Democratic Party.

Sellers made history in 2006 when, at just 22 years old, he defeated a 26-year incumbent state representative to become the youngest member of the South Carolina State Legislature and the youngest African American elected official in the nation. In 2014, he won the Democratic nomination for Lt. Governor in South Carolina. He has also worked for U.S. Rep. James Clyburn and former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin.

Sellers was born into an activist family. He has followed in the footsteps of his father, civil rights leader Cleveland Sellers, in his commitment to public service while championing progressive policies to address issues ranging from education and poverty to preventing domestic violence and childhood obesity.

Sellers earned his undergraduate degree from Morehouse College, where he served as student body president, and his law degree from the University of South Carolina.

He is the author of the New York Times best-selling book “My Vanishing Country: A Memoir,” which has been described as part memoir, part historical and cultural analysis – illustrating the lives of America’s forgotten black working-class men and women.

He also hosts the Bakari Sellers Podcast, a twice-a-week show that’s part of the Ringer Podcast Network that addresses politics, race, sports, media and more.

Sellers currently practices law with the Strom Law Firm, LLC in Columbia, where he heads the firm’s strategic communication and public affairs team, recently adding diversity, equity and inclusion consulting to the list of services offered. He is also a political contributor for CNN and other major national news outlets.

He was named TIME Magazine’s “40 Under 40” in 2010 as well as “the Root 100” list of the nation’s most influential African Americans in 2014.

Sellers is married to Ellen Rucker-Sellers and father to twins Sadie and Stokely.

The program will also present honorary doctorate degrees to three ministers who have committed their life work to the mission of the AME Zion Church, the founding denomination of Livingstone College. The recipients are Rev. O. Lacy Evans, Tony Henderson and Rev. Bernardo Ngunza, who will each receive an honorary Doctor of Divinity from the college.

Evans, a native of Fayetteville, is presiding elder of the Louisville District, Kentucky Conference of the AME Zion Church. Henderson, a native of Los Angeles, is the pastor of Spottswood AME Zion Church in Denver, Colorado.

He once served as pastor of the historic Mt. Lebanon AME Zion, the childhood church of Price.

Ngunza, who is from the central African nation Angola, has dedicated his service to spreading the AME Zion faith throughout Angola that has resulted in the rise of the South Angola Annual Conference of the AME Zion Church.

“For the first time in our college’s history, our Founder’s Day program will be virtual,” said Livingstone president Jimmy Jenkins. “We see this as an opportunity to welcome more people, locally and abroad, to join us in celebrating Livingstone’s first president and his legacy.”

In lieu of the ceremonial march to the mausoleum on campus, where a memorial ceremony is usually held, the college will hold a moment of silence. A member of the Price family, Susan Sherrill Brantley, great-granddaughter to Price, will also bring greetings.