African American Faculty and Staff Coalition

Together We Can

Putting truth into action

Dr. Joseph E. Heyward, former provost, and Dr. Lee A. Vickers, former president of Francis Marion University, signed the charter agreement that established the FMU African American Faculty and Staff Coalition on February 24, 1995. Our purpose is to stimulate and enhance cultural awareness, to promote professional development and welfare among faculty, staff, and students.

Our goals include:

  • Increasing morale and communication among members
  • Creating an atmosphere of community for FMU African American faculty, staff, and students
  • Serving as a liaison between the administrative personnel of FMU and the African American faculty and staff
  • Examining the university’s efforts in recruitment and retention of African American faculty and staff, and recognizing we play a vital role in contributing to the educational growth of minority students

Our motto, “Together We Can” puts truth into action.


We feel that we have a responsibility to provide guidance, support and financial assistance to qualifying FMU African American students.

With the support and encouragement of President L. Fred Carter, the FMU Administration, our ardent members, and faithful supporters, we are able to award four named scholarships. Given the assistance of generous donors we’ve been able to increase the number of our scholarships.

Recognized AAFSC Scholarships:

  • Dr. Joseph E. Heyward Endowed Scholarship Fund
  • Dr. Dorothy M. Harris Graduate Student Scholarship Fund
  • Ms. Rebecca S. Lunn Scholarship Fund
  • Dr. Leroy “Pete” Peterson Endowed Scholarship Fund
  • Mrs. Joyce M. Durant African & African American Studies Endowed Scholarship Fund
  • Mrs. Yvonne G. Davis Community Service Endowed Scholarship Fund
  • Dr. Alfreda Campbell-Wilson Endowed Scholarship Fund
  • Mrs. Linda M. Sullen Endowed Scholarship Fund
  • Mr. Carlton Sellers Endowed Scholarship Fund
  • Mr. Steven Sims Endowed Scholarship Fund
  • Bishop Donald Jackson – Young Gifted and Blessed Scholarship
  • Ms. Yvette Hammonds Pierce Graduate Fellowship
  • Mr. H. Vashon Brown Endowed Scholarship Fund

Dr. Bernard E Powers, earned M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in American history at Northwestern University and in 2018 retired as professor emeritus of history at the College of Charleston. Currently Powers is the founding director of the College of Charleston’s Center for the Study of Slavery in Charleston. He has presented papers at conferences and reviewed books and manuscripts for journals and presses. His work appears in book chapters and in scholarly and popular periodicals. He edited the 1999 ASALH Black History Month Kit entitled “The Legacy of African American Leadership for the Present and the Future.” His article “Community Evolution and Race Relations in Reconstruction Charleston, S.C.” was included in the Century of Excellence Centennial Volume 1900-2000 of The South Carolina Historical Magazine (July,2000). A recent book chapter is “Churches as Places of History: The Case of Nineteenth Century Charleston, South Carolina,” in Interpreting African American History and Culture at Museums and Historic Sites (2015). Powers is the author of Black Charlestonians: A Social History 1822-1885, (1994) a Choice Magazine Outstanding Academic Book for 1995. He was an associate editor of the Encyclopedia of South Carolina (2006). Most recently he co-authored We Are Charleston: Tragedy and Triumph at Mother Emanuel(2016). His current research examines African Methodism in South Carolina. Bernard Powers has appeared in documentary films, including recently the PBS production, “African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross” and “Emanuel: the Untold Story of the Victims and Survivors of the Charleston Church Shooting.” Powers has been extensively involved in public history and has served as a consultant for historic sites. He is the founding past president of the Charleston Branch of ASALH. He was also president of the South Carolina Historical Association and of the Advisory Board of the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture. He is an emeritus trustee of the Historic Charleston Foundation and a former member of the City of Charleston Tourism Commission. Powers served as interim president of the International African American Museum (IAAM) in Charleston.

Register to Attend

AAFSC Cultural Conversations Registration

Join the Coalition

The AAFSC is committed to the advancement of our organization through an increase in membership and the encouragement of participation among our current members. We invite you to join us because together, we can:

  • Educate all people about the rich culture, history, and accomplishments of African Americans.
  • Increase morale, fellowship, and communication among our members through special events, educational seminars, and professional development.
  • Initiate opportunities and special projects for African American students that will aid in their development as scholars and future leaders.
  • Commit to the advancement of undergraduate students through scholarship funds.

Annual membership dues are $25.00 and may be paid by check, cash or money order.  Please make payable to “FMU AAFSC”.


AAFSC Diversity Award

The Diversity Award was established in February 2009 to honor a permanent, full-time employee of Francis Marion University who works diligently to promote ethnic understanding and diversity across the FMU campus.  The award recognizes the faculty and staff member’s commitment to diversity at the University and community at large.  This award, which carries a beautiful plaque, is presented at the annual AAFSC Banquet/Gala.The following criteria have been established:

  1. The recipient must be a full-time permanent employee of Francis Marion University
  2. The recipient must have demonstrated exceptional commitment to promoting diversity for a sustained period of time, exercising sound judgment and character in their work. Community service activities will also be considered.
  3. New nominations are required each year. Nominations may be made by any administrative, faculty, or staff member at FMU. Self-nominations are not accepted.
  4. Nominations must meet the established deadline and should be made on the nomination form. Supporting materials, such as campus involvement, service on committees, and community activities should be included with the nomination form.
  5. Nominations will be judged by a committee appointed by the President of the Coalition.
  6. Past winners will not be eligible to receive the award a second time.

Past Winners:

  • 2010 – Dr. Rebecca Lawson
  • 2011 – Dr. Louis Venters
  • 2012 – Ms. Angela Crosland
  • 2013 – Dr. Rhonda M. Brogdon
  • 2014 – Ms. Yvonne Davis
  • 2015 – Mrs. Crystal L. Graham
  • 2016 – Dr. Will Wattles
  • 2017 – Mr. Jason H. Owens
  • 2018 – Dr. Ruth A. Wittmann-Price
  • 2019 – Dr. Shayna A. Wrighten
  • 2020 – Dr. Erica James
  • 2021 – Dr. Daniel Brauss
  • 2022 – Ms. Latasha Brand
  • 2023 – Dr. Charlene Wages
  • 2024 – Dr. Christopher Barton

Current Officers


Dr. Todd Couch

Associate Professor of Sociology

Office: FH 238
Phone: 843-661-1917

Vice President

Donald Jackson

Accountant - Accounts Payable

Office: SAB 103
Phone: 843-661-1128


Demetra Walker

Demetra T. Walker

Dean of the Library,
Associate Professor

Office: Rogers Library
Phone: 843-661-1300


Linda Sullen


Office: SAB 111
Phone: 843-661-1396


woman smiling

Tamara Law

Assistant Professor Reference/Instruction Librarian

Office: Rogers Library
Phone: 843-661-1302