Cheri Beasley speaks to Livingstone College during Founder’s Day

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 11, 2022

SALISBURY – A former N.C. Supreme Court Justice and current U.S. Senate candidate participated in festivities Thursday for Livingstone College’s annual Founder’s Day celebration.

The ceremony is a tradition at the institution. It recognizes adversity that accompanied the founding of the historically Black college and the legacy of its founder Joseph Charles Price. It featured comments from his descendants as well.

This year is the second time the college has held the program virtually. It did so in 2021 as well, and in 2020 it held the program before the COVID-19 pandemic began.

“This platform is no longer the new normal, but has become our way of life,” President Jimmy Jenkins said. “And we are grateful for this technology that allows us to connect from a distance.”

Student Government President Justin Wade spoke about the challenges faced by Livingstone’s founders, including their former institution in Concord being burned to the ground by racists. They moved the mission to Salisbury.

“Here we are today, in 2022, all because our ancestors were daring enough to not be intimidated or easily broken by the rough realities of life, but remained determined not to quit,” Wade said.

Cheri Beasley, former chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court and current Democratic U.S. Senate candidate, was the keynote speaker.

Jenkins introduced Beasley by reviewing her achievements, including that she was the first African-American woman to serve as chief justice. Her legal career spans more than 20 years, and when she was elected to the N.C. Court of Appeals in 2008 she was the first Black woman to be elected to the state office without being appointed by a governor.

Beasley said Price defied the times when he became the leader of Livingstone at 25 years old.

“He believed educating the whole person: hand, head and heart,” Beasley said.

Beasley said she knows students at the college have worked hard — whether they are at the beginning or end of their college careers.

“The professors, staff, clergy and Livingstone community will instill in you the values of this great institution, they will pour into you and push you to be your best,” Beasley said. “They will push you, not just for you, but because you are destined to serve.”

The program also featured comments from Price’s descendants. Phillip Sherrill, Price’s great-grandson, and great-granddaughter Susan Price Sherrill Brantley both spoke for a few moments.

“I really want to thank him for his vision and his leadership during the founding,” Brantley said.

The program also featured a performance by the college’s concert choir recorded in front of the college’s Blue Bear statue at the front of its campus and a virtual performance by the gospel choir.

About Carl Blankenship

Carl Blankenship has covered education for the Post since December 2019. Before coming to Salisbury he was a staff writer for The Avery Journal-Times in Newland and graduated from Appalachian State University in 2017, where he was editor of The Appalachian.

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