Saturday, September 7, was both a historical and a most memorable day for former Williamsburg County Treasurer Pearl R. Brown and the residents of Williamsburg County.
The South Carolina General Assembly and the South Carolina Department of Transportation collaborated which resulted in the dedication of a South Carolina Highway 512 Marker honoring Pearl R. Brown. Brown is the first African American county treasurer in South Carolina since Reconstruction and the first African American female elected to a countywide office in Williamsburg County.
The event took place at Bethesda United Methodist Church at 2000 Cade Road, Lake City, beginning at 9:30 a.m., followed by the unveiling of the marker on Hwy. 512 near the intersection of I.M. Graham Road. The finale was back at the church with refreshments and socializing.
Williamsburg County District 2 Councilman Torrance Wilson provided the welcome. The Rev. Barry McFadden, pastor of St. Michael UMC gave the invocation, which was followed by a beautiful solo by Jannie Covington. Greetings and a few laughs came from Kingstree Councilwoman Monica Murdaugh. On behalf of Bethesda UMC, Joyce C. Graham gave the remarks. Brown’s former campaign manager, Vernal Fulton, shared some very historical memories of the experiences beginning in the 1980s including the obstacles and hurdles in campaigning and winning the elections.
This was a day of history and reflections as Senator Ronnie Sabb and Representative Cezar McKnight shared their very impressive interactions with Brown over the years. Retired Williamsburg County Clerk of Court Carolyn Williams shared information on her friendship with Brown and how they were each other’s support system during their careers at the Williamsburg County Courthouse. Waccamaw Head Start Director James Pasley shared some of the history during his interactions with Brown. Brown’s husband, Joseph Brown, Jr. gave honor to his wife and the obvious support and love for her.
The final response and touching message came from Brown as she revealed her love for everyone present and her appreciation for this honor. Her only regret is that her husband, Joe’s name is not on the marker, also. Brown concluded her message with, “Mere words cannot express the gratitude I feel today. Lots of heartfelt love is extended to each of you. Thank you for caring and sharing in my journey. Your presence here today will always be remembered. May God bless each of you.” Afterward, a caravan and a bus transported everyone to the historical unveiling.
Brown retired as Williamsburg County Treasurer on June 30, 2011, having served 28 consecutive years. As treasurer, one of the many accomplishments that she is especially proud of is establishing investment accounts for county and school district funds, which resulted in earning interest in excess of $1,000,000 during her first term in office. In her role as treasurer, she provided internships for high school business education students giving them experience in the financial operations of the county.
As a long-time resident of Williamsburg County, Brown is the fifth child of nine of the late Mr. and Mrs. James W. Robinson. She is married to Joseph Brown, Jr. and they have one son, Terrance and his wife Tunisha, grandchildren Alexander (Zander), Tierra and Dascha, and a great-grandson R. J.
Since retirement, Brown has remained active through her memberships and volunteer services in several civil, community, and religious organizations such as Williamsburg County Disaster Preparedness, American Red Cross, and NAACP. Additionally, as an active member of her beloved church, Bethesda United Methodist, she serves as Chairperson of the Staff/Pastor Parish Relations Committee, a Communion Steward, Finance and the Disaster Preparedness Committees.
Brown serves the SC Conference of United Methodists as a member of the Board of Pensions and Insurance. She is a supportive and dedicated member of the global organization of United Methodist Women. Locally, she serves the Florence District of United Methodist Women as treasurer, as well as the Florence District Board of Trustees of the United Methodist Women. Currently, she is working on the global initiative of the Zambia Water Well Project.
Additionally, she has served as the Chair of the Tomlinson Alumni, Inc. and she was instrumental in the organization securing its 501©3 non-profit status and establishing the bylaws and protocol for operations.
Brown has received numerous awards and recognitions over the years and is appreciative of all of them. She holds most dear the love and support she has received and continues to receive from her family, friends and the community. Based on her early upbringing, life experiences and Christian teachings, she recognizes that her greatest award is the one freely given by the Holy Spirit, a new life in Christ Jesus.
Brown has been honored by:
State of South Carolina
Williamsburg County and numerous civic organizations
A 1992 Delegate to the National Democratic Convention
2008, introduced President Bill Clinton during his visit to Kingstree
2012, received the IMARA Women Magazine Trail Blazer Award
The National Council of Negro Women, Inc. Public Service Award
Life Member of the NAACP
Charter member of THE Voice Newspaper
Past Chair of Tomlinson Alumni, Committee, Inc.