Gloria C. Hines takes office as Mayor of Darlington

The swearing in ceremony for Mayor Hines was presided over by Marvin I. Lawson, Judge of Probate for Darlington County. Photos by Jana E. Pye

The swearing in ceremony for Mayor Hines was presided over by Marvin I. Lawson, Judge of Probate for Darlington County.
Photos by Jana E. Pye

By Jana E. Pye, Editor,

History was made on Tuesday, January 5, 2016 as Gloria Cheeseboro Hines was elected mayor of the City of Darlington – making her the first woman and the first African American to hold this office.

The swearing in ceremony for Mayor Hines was held at City Hall in the newly renovated courtroom at 5:00 p.m. Attendees filled the room and hallways to be within earshot of the ceremony that included prayer, music, two speeches and a rousing poem written especially for the occasion.

Steve Williams, poet. Photo by Jana E. Pye

Steve Williams, poet.
Photo by Jana E. Pye

Mistress of Ceremony was Jannie Lathan, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Greater Darlington Chamber of Commerce.

Posting of the colors was provided by Darlington High School JROTC under direction of DHS JROTC Army Instructor, SFC (RET) Leroy Williams.

After the Pledge of Allegiance, a welcome was provided by Howard Garland, City Manager for the City of Darlington.

“I want you to understand the historical significance of this occasion,” said Garland. “This used to be our council meeting room. We met twice in here in the last 41 years. So, understand this passing of the torch. Our last council meeting was in the old council chambers. Our new council with new mayor and council members is in the new council chambers. There is some significance there. I think anyone can understand that how small and how cramped that other building was. Although we may feel cramped now for most meetings we should be okay. On behalf of the 90 full time and 35 part time employees with the City of Darlington and our department heads, I want to welcome you this historic and significant day and thank you so much for your attendance. On behalf of Mayor Hines and all our new council, don’t be strangers. Please come back.

Invocation was provided by Rev. Dr. Krystal Sears, Pastor of Bethel AME Church.

Howard Garland, City Manager for the City of Darlington. Photo by Jana E. Pye

Howard Garland, City Manager for the City of Darlington.
Photo by Jana E. Pye

“Let us pray. God our Father, maker and redeemer of all things. Judge along then in everything in our all in all. We acknowledge you, God. We acknowledge your orchestrating hand on this historic and monumental moment. Oh God we come needing you this hour We ask you now God that you take Mayor Gloria Cheeseboro Hines, annoint her from the crown of her head to the soles of her feet. Bless her God in such a way that she have clarity of thought. That every decision made before your good and for your people’s good, God. Father we ask that you strengthen her she’s able to discipline and correct when she needs to, but show compassion and love when necessary. Merciful God we ask that you grant her wisdom like you gave Solomon. Like you give her mercy like you gave David. Oh God, that you grant her strength and courage like you did Paul. Oh God, we lean on her to be our mayor and our leader. So God, we ask you now that you give her wisdom and strength and leadership like you gave Moses. Father, she needs you. City council needs you. Bless the works of her hand, bless her, God, in such a way, that whatever she stands in the need of you would give it to her before she arise to the day. Grant her favor, Father. Grant those that must follow her and work with her, grant them followship. Bless those people in care around her to have honesty, God, and integrity and will tell her the truth with respect and sincerity. Oh God, bless all of them in such a way that there be no dirty deeds behind closed doors – nor deceit behind closed doors. Oh God, that we all come together in unity and in love. Father, we ask that you bless them all that you bless our mayor that she be for all people of all backgrounds, all races, all creeds, Oh God, that she be for the rich and the poor, for the family and the individual, God, that she be for the person that is religious and those that are not at all. She will see the good of this place. Bless her as she leads us with innovation, community development, and growth. Now God, we ask that you bless this place – that the decisions that are made here be for the good of the people. Bless her. Bless our mayor. Bless the city council people. Oh God, bless the police officers. Those that are in healthcare, bless us all Father in the name of Jesus we ask it all. Amen.

Hannah Stanley, former director of the Greater Darlington Chamber of Commerce sang the National Anthem.

Jannie Lathan provided recognition of special guests in attendance from the area and state, including elected officials.

S.C. Senator Gerald Malloy, District #29 was on the program to give remarks, but was unable to attend as he was with Jennifer Pinckney, the widow of slain South Carolina Sen. Clementa Pinckney in Washington D.C. to attend President Barack Obama’s address regarding gun safety.

In Sen. Malloy’s absence, remarks were given by longtime civil rights activist – Charles T. “Bud” Ferillo, who produced the South Carolina rural schools documentary “Corridor of Shame” and “A Seat at the Table: Pathways to Reconciliation” produced by South Carolina Educational Television.

Ferillo recently hosted a race relations meeting as part of a Boot Camp for former and new council members of the City of Darlington organized by City Manager Howard Garland.

“What a privilege it is to be called on, even at the last moment, for a dear friend who represents this district so honorably in the South Carolina state, where it was once my privilege to be the Chief of Staff and deputy Lt. Governor of SC. I spent 13 years in the state house and have many fond memories I’m so happy to be here today because I had a personal invitation to be here from the mayor elect. She took time from her family over the holidays to invite me to attend this most important day in the life of this community. It is my privilege the remarks I would like to give to you, are remarks that I think may be familiar to all of you, I hope; they were written over a century ago by James Weldon Johnson:

Lift every voice and sing
Till earth and heaven ring,
Ring with the harmonies of Liberty;
Let our rejoicing rise,
High as the listening skies,
Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.
Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us,
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun,
Let us march on till victory is won.

Today we celebrate not race but a victory of unity. A victory over the division of the past, victory and the possibilities of the future of One Darlington. Darlington Strong. I got to bed every night wearing a big old t-shirt my girl sent me from Charleston that says Charleston Strong. That is where I am from originally; I grew up one block from Mother Emmanuel. I took my place in that basement from 1961 to 1962, to make signs and sandwiches to walk and sat in my father’s movie theaters. In 1961 and 62. Charleston strong. Amazing Grace. It grows from the families who suffered so much. What message do they speak to us today? From on high.

Darlington you must be as one. Put aside the bitterness of and heartbreaks and disappointments of the past and be proud. To both races…get over it!”
At this point, the audience broke into applause.

“This is a new day a new day begun. And God has given it to us and the hope of one woman. The first African American happens to be the first woman elected mayor of this city. I went on the road today to a new kind of community.

It was my privilege to mange in 1970 the first campaign of James E. Clyburn, I believe you’ve heard of him. He stands today along with Gerald Malloy and President of the United States to speak out against gun violence in America. Violence that is striking at the heart of the youth, the innocent, the unprotected, in communities that have drifted apart. The message that we try to learn in this country a generation ago in the beatings of Rodney King televised all over the country, divided unnecessarily but did divide policemen departments from their community. Those lessons have been forgotten. And now we must relearn them and be brave about that, and be assertive about that and consistent in our approach. We can’t let the fears which are real ,and the dangers that are real – what is our job to build one. So I am privileged to be in this beautiful room and asking you I ask you to join me in wishing from the bottom of our hearts for a successful administration in this building for Gloria Hines remarkable career of public service, she’s been at it a long time. She didn’t start yesterday. Thank you.”
A stirring oration by poet Steve Williams highlighting the life of Gloria Cheeseboro Hines. Williams, a native of New York City now residing in Georgetown, S.C., is a former educator and school administrator and author of two books, “If You Don’t Push, Nothin’ Moves” and “Ebony Effects.”

A musical selection by Minister Derrick Bull and his choir followed.

The swearing in ceremony for Mayor Hines was presided over by Marvin I. Lawson, Judge of Probate for Darlington County.

“I, Gloria Cheeseboro Hines, do solemnly swear, that I am duly qualified, according to the constitution of this state, to exercise the duties of the office to which I have been elected and I will to the best of my abilities discharge the duties that are and preserve, protect and defend the constitution of this state and of the United States as Mayor of this City of Darlington I will equally, fairly, and impartially to the best of my ability and skills exercise the trust proposed in me and will use my best endeavor to preserve the peace and carry into effect according to the law the purposes for which I have been elected so help me God.”

Following the official swearing in, Mayor Hines shared an address to the over 200 people in attendance. See sidebar for Mayoral Address.

A second musical selection was provided by Minister Derrick Bull and his choir.

Benediction was given by Rev. Dr. Krystal Sears.

Miss Anisha Green of Hartsville sang “America the Beautiful.”

Minister Derrick Bull and his choir provided two musical selections. Photo by Jana E. Pye

Minister Derrick Bull and his choir provided two musical selections.
Photo by Jana E. Pye

See below for photo gallery, Mayoral Address, and copy of Gloria’s Poem by Steve Williams.

Mobile users, please click link to view photo gallery: Hines takes office as Mayor Photos are available for purchase.

Gloria C. Hines’ Mayoral Speech

(January 5, 2016)

To Sen. Malloy, other state officials, County Council members, City Council members and most importantly, the citizens of Darlington. How very delighted I am to be here today and to have the great privilege and opportunity of sharing with you and being with you tonight. I’m truly humbled by the trust and responsibility you have afforded me as the new mayor of this great city – a city I proudly call, the Pearl of the Pee Dee.

Now, I’m sure each of you is aware of the challenges that we face in our city. I realize the challenges are many and the tasks are tough, but with God on our side we will meet those challenges, overcome those valleys and climb those hills that some would say are insurmountable. Though we have challenges, rest assure – we are not alone. There are many communities all over this nation with similar challenges. But as Carlyle once said – “Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand.” Tonight, what lays clearly at hand for those of us in leadership is Darlington.

As a native daughter, I’ve lived here all my life and many of you have known me all my life. Perhaps that’s why you voted for me. You know that I love this city, you know that I’m honest but most of all, you know that I’m fair. I never compromise my integrity to pay for expediency and I have no favorites. As Marian Wright Edelman so aptly put it her wonderful book, “The Measure of Our Success”

‘Race and gender are shadows, but character, self-discipline, determination, attitude and service is the substance of life.’

As your new mayor, my only allegiance will be to do what’s best for Darlington. I will work with the new council and in the spirit of unity and mutual respect; there is nothing that can stop us from achieving progress for the people of Darlington – for they are the ones who trusted us and gave us this mandate to govern, and it’s to them that we cannot and must not fail.

Now I would be remiss if I didn’t recognize the great African-American pioneers who helped to pave the way for me on this historical occasion; I’m talking about Shirley Chisholm, Ella Baker, Fannie Lou Hamer, Carol Mosley Braun, Barbara Jordon, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth and Barack Hussein Obama . . .just to acknowledge a few.

Locally, I must also recognize our first African-American senator in this district, Senator Gerald Malloy. He is someone I greatly respect and admire for his vision and leadership. Senator, the City of Darlington will be calling on you!!!

In closing, I’d like to say how proud I am of the people of Darlington. You’ve proven that you’re willing to light a candle rather than curse the darkness, to turn a corner, to not allow our past to bleed into our present and poison our future.

A great part of our growth is exposing ourselves to people who challenge us to see new ways at looking at the world. Tonight, you’ve taken the first by believing in me, but I can no more do it alone than Dabo Swinney or Deshaun Watson can do it alone – I need your help. Just as all of South Carolina is pulling for Clemson, let us pull together for Darlington because, believe it or not, we’re all on the same team. You expect great things from me and I expect great things from you. None of us can rise to low expectations. Let us turn to each other and not on each other. And remember this…by the yard – it is hard, but inch by inch- anything’s a cinch!

Thank You

Gloria’s Poem

By Steve Williams ©2016

Picture a woman of sixty-five
Who seems twice as young and so alive
Give her a job in a city she’s proud of
Working for people she truly loves
Give her two children – the joy of her life
and an unconquerable spirit to overcome strife
Gather together her family and friends
Celebrate with her a new life begin
Color her character honest and fair
Then paint her happy, to be the new mayor

Because success is not about what we accomplish
but what we overcome, return with me to yesteryear
and I’ll tell you something about your new mayor

Come back with me to yesteryear
when she was eight and without fear
See daddy and her as they sit at the table
Paint him strong and color her able
Look at him helping her with nouns and verbs
or pitching batting practice after work
Giving prayers and faith to her along with bat and glove
so she would not strikeout when life throws her curves

Look at her mama, Mrs. Cropsy Cheeseboro –
a woman fully grown
Taking the rhythms of her pots and pans,
adding a melody and creating a symphony of leftovers
to nourish her daughters dreams
Taking a mess of life, spicing it up,
stirring it round
and boiling it into a stew
Taking an onion, a carrot and a potato,
waving her mind, and making it do what it do

Fast-forward with me to 1968
as she graduates from high school
and moves on to South Carolina State
Look at her pursuing her destiny
but running into tragedy as she loses her dad
See her press on to graduate in “73”
Six years later, earning another degree
Getting married, raising a family,
but once again fraught with adversity
with the loss of her husband

But through it all, she kept her faith –
because faith is the oil that takes the friction out of living
Through it all, she “leaned not unto her own understanding
but in all her ways acknowledged Him
and He directed her path”
She heard the Still Small Voice of God
telling her to increase her servitude
so she served in her local church before
branching out to serve her community
For six years, she attended City Council meetings
and served on the Council for ten more
deleting the “under” from privileged
erasing the “dis” from advantaged
improving and
writing good prescriptions for what was ailing her city

Pretty soon, the whispers of those who
wanted her to run for mayor got louder
and despite the odds and the cost,
in 2010 she ran for mayor of Darlington but lost

She hated to lose but losing for her
was simply a set-up for a comeback
Like her mama, and her mama before her,
she’d come from a long line of head-wrapped
strong black women
Women like Sojouner Truth –
who once cried out in so many words – don’t play me cheap!,
“For I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And Ain’t I a Woman? I have born 13 children, and seen ‘em mos’ all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard me! And Ain’t I a Woman!”

So in 2015, this strong black woman found the
strength to go on, the faith and the courage to try
Ignoring the obstacles of can’t,
the echoes of impossible
and all of the resistance,
she picked herself up,
dust herself off
and went the distance
Forgetting who she was
where she was from
and what she could not be,
she fought the good fight
ran good race
and got the victory
Proving that if you get knocked down in life,
try and land on your back
because if you can look up – you can get up!

Oh, if you can get knocked down
and not be so defeated
that you no longer wish to try
If you can see your problems
as a God-ordained opportunity
cleverly disguised as an obstacle
for you to rise up to meet it
If you can take life broken wings,
then you could learn to fly
If you can withstand the pain of being
a 60-year-old man, but your name is still – “boy”
If you can govern your tongue
and discipline your disappointments
without losing one minute of joy, nor your historical mind

“If you want anything bad enough to go out and fight for it
to work day and night for it,
to give up your time, your peace and your sleep for it
If all that you dream and scheme is about it
and life seems useless and worthless without it
And if you gladly sweat for it,
and fret for it, and plan for it
and lose all your terror of the opposition for it
If you simply go after that thing that you want
what all of your capacity, strength and sagacity
faith, hope, confidence and stern pertinacity
If neither cold, poverty, famine, nor gout,
sickness nor pain of body and brain
can keep you away from that thing that you want
If dogged and grim you beseech and beset it,
with the help of God, you’re gonna get it!”

Darlington, say hello to your new mayor!

Author: Duane Childers

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