Son of Nathaniel and Ellen Felder-Pearson, a pioneer in the Civil Rights Movement of Clarendon County, founder of the Clarendon County NAACP. Hammet Pearson was was a force. A strong man, direct and often serious - yet loved by many. He endured much from a young age; at 15 he loss his father,then became a financial caregiver for his mom, and siblings before strting his own family. The fight for civility and oppression of the deep south, laws created to oppress - Jim Crow. "Mr. Hammett," as he was called was well-known and well-liked throughout Manning.
AWARDS - South Carolina Resolution by Representative Alex Harvin
HOBBY Baseball. Hammett was a World Series lover. He managed a baseball team and was an umpire for games held at Davis Station.
CHILDHOOD HISTORIC PERIOD Born at the onset of the reinforcement of southern political separation and oppression, the laws of Jim Crow. Hammett's father passed prior to his 15th birthday (before 1910) so he was left to care for his family including his older brother Levi, and sisers, Katherine and Lucille and his mother Ellen. He didn't attend school, but learned ways to navigate as an entreprenuer, a farmer who owned land, harvested and sold crops.
PROFESSION Entreprenuer, a farmer. Hammett acquired many acres of land for his family. The Pearson farm grew tobacco, cotton, corn, vegetables and fruit. The farm housed a barn that was plentiful of cows, pigs and chickens. Off season Hammett freelanced and traveled to northern cities as a laborer on shipyards; Newport News, VA and Baltimore, MD. He did what was needed to support his family.
MEMBERSHIPS Founding member of the Clarendon County, NAACP, YMCA, Trustee, Stewards Board and Sunday school class Leader at Mt. Zion AME Church.
MOTTO "Strive hard to reach the top because if you don;t get to the top, dammit you won't hit the bottom."
Son of Nathaniel and Ellen Felder-Pearson. Hammett was reared in the church from an early age. He was a man possessing Abahamic type faith, filled with the spirit of God. He served faithfully as a membver of the Trustee Board, Stewards Board, Sunday School and as a class Leader. Family and communiy were pillars of his life.
Hammett's father Nathaniel Pearson passed away when Hammett was an early teen. He was required to support his Mother and siblings financially and was unable to attend school like most boys his age. That sense of responsibility would follow him throughout his life. He was joined in Holy matrimony to Viola Waiters-Pearson, four children were born from this marriage. Viola passed away in 1929 from complication of child birth. On September 28, 1933 he married Annie Charlotte-Richbourg Pearson. Charlotte and Hammett were married for 44 years until his passing, in 1977.
Struggle was not foreign to Hammett, he'd been struggling to survive for his whole life. As a teen family provider, a husband with a family, a farmer who couldn't get loans and as a black man navigating the oppression of the deep south, living through Jim Crow.
Hammett and his brother Levi were very close, they loved and cared for one another and one another's family. When their children had to walk nine miles to school daily, while their white counterparts were provided bus transportation they took action.
The Pearson brothers with infuriated and recruited neighboring Manning families to file the first lawsuit that would take years to resolve. Hammett was an organizer, he helped mobilize families to start the petittion. As a fiery man, he advised his brother to document his name as the petitioner. His rationale, "If I get arrested, you may not be able to get me out of jail, but you you get arrested I will be able to get you out of jail." And so, Hammett supported his brother to stand in the light as the brothers forged forward together in the fight for civil righs that led to the Supreme Court decision of Brown v Board of Education.
The brothers were threatened, denied loans and harassed by whites around Clarendon County, but they were relentless and in 7 years their initial case resulted in the landmark case.
FULL STORY on how the Pearson Brothers from Clarendon County helped make education and civil rights history -
- Levi Pearson v. Clarendon County Board of Education - 1947 - denied due to a newly formed rule that taxes must be paid. Levi's taxes were not.
- Briggs v Elliott - 1952
- Brown v Board of Education Supreme Court Landmark case - May 17, 1954
Hammett 's struggle is over and his legacy as a husband and father, civil rights leader and activist will forever a catalyst with the work and light shown through their hard work to provide adequate education for their children. The work that evovled to the Supreme Court landmark case, Brown v Board of Education.
SEPT 8, 2004 - REPRESENATIVE CLYBURN OF SC
Levi Pearson was a small ClarendonCountyfarmer. He responded to Reverend DeLaine's request and sued the School Districton behalf of his three children who were walking those nine miles to school each day. His decision was met with dire consequences. The local bank refused to provide him credit to purchase farming equipment and supplies, and other farmers refused to lend him equipment. Shots were fired into his home and he was ostracized by his neighbors. Despite these actions, Pearson continued with his suit. But in 1948, the United States District Court dismissed Pearson's suit finding that although his farm was partially in Clarendon School District One, his house was situated in School District2 and therefore he did not have standing. Although his legal case was dismissed, Pearson continued to fight against segregation and later became President of the local NAACP chapter. In spite of extreme hardships, he never left his land.