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The Center For Creative Partnerships, Partners are comprised of Authors, Civil Rights Activists, Educators, and Museums professionals. Together we can provide advisory counseling, educational lectures series, develop social justice symposia, & much more. 


Michael Allen

Michael Allen began his public career with the National Park Service in 1980. He has served as a Park Ranger, Education Specialist, and Community Partnership Specialist for The Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor/Fort Sumter National Monument and Charles Pinckney National Historic Site. In 2014, he was a lead team member on The NPS Special Resource Landmark Study exploring the history and legacy of The Reconstruction Era in American History, resulting in, by Presidential Proclamation, Reconstruction Era National Monument (2017). In December 2017, Michael Allen retired from the National Park Service after 37 and half years.

He played a major role in the National Park Service's Gullah-Geechee Special Resource Study which led Congress in 2005, through the leadership of Congressman James E. Clyburn, to pass the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Act establishing the first and only African American National Heritage Area in the Country.  He served on the South Carolina Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee; was a founding Board Member of the International African American Museum and was former Vice President of the South Carolina African American Heritage Commission.


His honors include the Historic Preservation Governor's Lifetime Achievement Award (2013); SC State University Distinguished Alumnus Award (2014); Robert G. Stanton Award, named the first African-American director of the National Park Service; Lifetime Achievement Award from the South Carolina African American Heritage Commission; Governor’s Order of the Palmetto. He currently serves as the Chair of the Advisory Board for Reconstruction Beaufort and as Community Preservation Specialist at SC State University where he received a degree in History Education.

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Ian Holt

Author; screenwriter; film producer at Alt Productions with partners, Michael Alden and Michael Kuciak.  Ian is the co-author with Dacre Stoker of the international bestseller Dracula The Un-Dead, the official sequel to Bram Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula, with over 2 million copies sold worldwide; Best Seller Lists in the U.S.;  #1 in France, Germany, and Spain; nominated for Best First Horror Novel by The Thriller Awards. He contributed to renowned Fulbright scholar, Professor Radu Florescu's book, In Search Of Frankenstein, and has written comedic bits for Doctor Dre and Ed Lover's hit show, Yo! MTV Raps and for their top-rated New York radio show on HOT 97, LA's KKBT The Beat, and NY's Power 105.1, where he was a recurring character of The Renaissance Man.  His new supernatural thriller, Cursed, starring Mickey Rourke and Lindsay Lohan, was inspired by the Black Lives Matter Movement. His company has acquired the rights to the life story of  Harlem Globetrotter, Andrew Johnson, about how the Globetrotters became the first NBA all-Black team. (B.A. New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, where he studied with Stella Adler)


Andrew Hugine

Educator, academic administrator and advocate for STEM education for minorities, he is currently serving as the 11th President of Alabama A&M University. Hugine began his career as a high school teacher of mathematics at Beaufort High School in Beaufort, South Carolina, and served as a Graduate Teaching Assistant and Assistant Professor of Institutional Research at Michigan State University. His other positions included Director of the Special Services Program, Director of the University Year for Action Program, a Research Fellow, Assistant and Director of Institutional Self-Study, Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs, Professor of Mathematics, and Interim Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. From 2003 to 2008, Hugine served as the 9th President of South Carolina State University, his Alma Mater. Recognizing his many accomplishments, he was named the 2019 HBCU Male President of the Year.  Other honors include honorary chair of the salute to education centennial celebration of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity; included in the 2012 Stellar Alumni Calendar of the South Carolina State University; Educator Award by the Southern Company and Essence Magazine;  included in the Noteworthy news section of the national publication, Diverse Issues; recipient of commendation for commitment to education by 100 Black Men of America; featured on cover Omega Psi Phi National Publication, the Oracle, winters of 2005 and 2006, the first university president ever to be so recognized; Teacher of Year for South Carolina State University; and listing in the publications, Outstanding Young Men in America, Personalities of the South and Marquis Who’s Who. (Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Mathematics, South Carolina State University; Ph.D. in Higher Education and Institutional Research, Michigan State University.)

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Janet Kozachek

Janet Kozachek hails from Princeton Junction, New Jersey, where her rural formative years were spent drawing and writing in nature. Her subsequent education was unusually eclectic, having traveled, worked, and studied in Europe, China, and the United States.  Her Master of Fine Arts Degree in Drawing and Painting is from Parsons School of Design in New York, where she also studied poetry with J.D. McClatchy. Her Certificate of Graduate Study in Chinese Art from the Central Academy of Fine Art (CAFA) in the People’s Republic of China included the study of Chinese poetry and painting.  Her undergraduate study at Rutgers was in science (biology) and art. 


In addition to her painting, Janet Kozachek is a well-known mosaic artist and was the Founding President of the Society of American Mosaic Artists.  Her work is in a number of museums and private collections, and she was the recipient of the award for excellence in drawing from Art Fields (2019), a Puffin Foundation Award, a National Endowment for the Arts award, a Heritage Foundation Award, and a Humanities Council Award.  Her poetry and illustrations have been published in Undefined magazine, the journal Ekphrasis, and Local Life.   Ms. Kozachek is the author of The Book of Marvelous Cats, My Women, My Monsters, A Rendering of Soliloquies – Figures Painted in Spots of Time, and the soon-to-be-released A Book of Bothersome Cats. My Women My Monsters won an Honorable Mention award from Concrete Wolf Press and was published in 2020 by Finishing Line Press. 


When not writing, drawing, or painting in her studio in Orangeburg, South Carolina, Janet Kozachek finds joy in cooking, gardening, and handcrafting ceramic musical instruments.


Ms. Kozachek is represented by the Artisan’s Center in Walterboro, SC.

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Gianmarc Manzione

He is a poet, author, journalist, professor, and podcaster whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The Paris Review, The Southern Review, Raritan, The Southeast Review, Euphony, Kestrel, The Cape Rock, and many other journals. 


His nonfiction book, Pin Action: Small-Time Gangsters, High-Stakes Gambling, and the Teenage Hustler Who Became a Bowling Champion, was based on his story for The New York Times, "When Thugs and Hustlers Ruled Dark Alleys," published by Pegasus Books, represented by the Defiore and Company literary agency, and optioned for film by Gold Circle Films. His poetry collection, This Brevity, was published by Parsifal Press. He has taught English, creative writing, and American literature at the University of South Florida, the University of Tampa, and the College of Central Florida. 


Manzione is the Editor of Bowlers Journal International (BJI), the oldest monthly sports magazine in the United States. There, he founded The Bowlers Journal Podcast, which has addressed topics ranging from the Black Lives Matter movement and the importance of diversity in sports to interviews with nurses on the frontlines of the battle against COVID-19, FOX Sports broadcasters such as Rob Stone and Dave Ryan on how they have navigated the challenges a 100-year pandemic presents their industry, professional athletes on friendship, faith, facing adversity and coping with grief and loss, and much more. His award-winning features for BJI have included stories on Vietnam veterans, athletes who coped with disability through membership in the American Wheelchair Bowling Association, communities that rallied in support of victims of school shootings and their families, and many other topics. 


Manzione is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Manhattan College. He earned bachelor's degrees in English and philosophy and later graduated from The New School with an MFA in creative writing/poetry.


James M. McQuilla

Mr. McQuilla has a dynamic 30+ year history as a sales professional, management executive, and entrepreneur. As a Senior-Level Executive, he has verifiable year-after-year success in achieving revenue, profit, and business growth objectives within start-up, turnaround, and rapid change environments. His multi-faceted career includes such industries as higher education, insurance, medical and pharmaceutical sales, residential construction, federal government contracting, and non-profit leadership. Mr. McQuilla has extensive experience requiring a deep understanding of critical business drivers in multiple markets and industries. As the Chief Executive Officer of Professional Buyers Advantage, LLC, Mr. McQuilla built a multi-million dollar government contracting firm that amassed more than 300 prime contracts over a ten-year period.  Currently, James serves as the President of the Orangeburg County Chamber of Commerce.


James has served on many community and state-wide boards and commissions and was appointed by two different South Carolina State Governor to leadership roles as a College Board of Trustee member (The Citadel) and was nominated as a Commissioner to the South Carolina State

Board of Higher Education.

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Cynthia Goodloe Palmer

Executive Director of the Veterans of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement, Inc., since 2012, coordinator for the organization since 2005. Cynthia worked at Jackson State University as the Resources and Media Technology Manager for the Dr. Margaret Walker Alexander National Research Center. She also serves as the Secretary for the SNCC Legacy Project Board of Directors.

Cynthia was the Executive Director for the 2014 Freedom Summer 50th Anniversary Reunion in Jackson, MS, and served on the 2013 50th Anniversary Committee for the Commemoration of the murder of Medgar Evers. She was the Operations Director for the 2011 Return of the Freedom Riders 50th Anniversary Reunion (Jackson, MS). In addition,  Cynthia also served on the committee for the 2015 50th Anniversary of the Bridge Crossing Jubilee in Selma, Alabama.  Cynthia is a recording artist, songwriter, and producer and has recorded and self-produced 5 CDs. 


She has traveled extensively to Africa, Brazil, England, Holland, Canada, Alaska, France, Germany, and several Caribbean islands.  In 2000, Cynthia founded the Canton Gospel Music Association (CGMA) located in her hometown of Canton, MS.  Since 2006, this organization has awarded 145 music scholarships to up-and-coming musicians.


Lawrence Pijeaux, Jr.

Lawrence J. Pijeaux, Jr., Ed.D. began his tenure at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (BCRI) in July 1995. The Institute brings to life both the anguish and the accomplishments of the long march to freedom through interactive, multi-media exhibits along with an impressive archive and oral history collection that records first-hand accounts from hundreds of the Movement’s courageous followers and celebrated leaders. A native of New Orleans, Louisiana, Pijeaux received his Bachelor of Science Degree from Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; a Master of Arts in Teaching Degree from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana; and a Doctor of Education Degree from the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg. He has completed post-graduate work at The Getty Leadership Institute for Museum Management on the campus of the University of California in Berkeley. 


Under his leadership, BCRI achieved full accreditation from the American Association of Museums (now the American Alliance of Museums) in July 2005. The Institute received two consecutive national awards presented at the White House by First Lady Laura Bush for community service—the Coming Up Taller Award in 2007 and the inaugural National Medal for Museum Service in 2008. In April 2007, the Institute was named an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution. In addition, the Institute was recognized as the 2009 Alabama Attraction of the Year.


His past work experiences include serving as a museum and public school administrator, college instructor, secondary school teacher, lecturer, and consultant. He has received numerous honors including the Reader’s Digest American Hero in Education Award, the Smithsonian Institution’s Award for Museum Leadership, the Association of African American Museums’ Service and Achievement Award, the National Sorority of Phi Delta Kappa, Inc., Award for Civic Service, and the Alpha Phi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Educational Leader of the Year Award. The Honorable Bob Riley, former Governor of Alabama, appointed Pijeaux to the boards of the Alabama School of Mathematics and Science and the Alabama Bureau of Tourism and Travel. He was named Tourism Executive of the Year in 2006 and was inducted into the Alabama Tourism Hall of Fame in 2014. 


On March 8, 2010, Pijeaux was nominated by President Barack Obama to serve on the National Museum and Library Services Board. The United States Senate confirmed his nomination on June 22, 2010.


He has served on the boards of several professional organizations including the Association of African American Museums, the American Association for State and Local History, the American Alliance of Museums, the Alabama Museums Association, the Association for the Study of African American Life, and History, and the Southeastern Museums Conference. Pijeaux is a past president of the Association of African American Museums.


Dr. Lawrence J. Pijeaux, Jr. retired from his position at BCRI on June 30, 2014.


Eric Powell 

Archivist and Director of the Salley Archives of the Orangeburg County Historical Society. After college at UC Irvine and UCLA, he became a Vice-President of Information Systems of a large mid-west electronics distribution corporation managing a worldwide computer network. As a Consultant, he specialized in computer usability working with various clients in Beverly Hills, CA. 



Bakari Sellers

Bakari Sellers made history in 2006 when, at just 22 years old, he defeated a 26-year incumbent State Representative to become the youngest member of the South Carolina state legislature and the youngest African American elected official in the nation. In 2014, Sellers won the Democratic nomination for Lt. Governor and is widely considered to be a rising star within the Democratic Party and a leading voice for his generation.


Sellers earned his undergraduate degree from Morehouse College, where he served as student body president and his law degree from the University of South Carolina. He has followed in the footsteps of his father, civil rights leader, Dr. Cleveland Sellers, in his tireless commitment to public service while championing progressive policies to address issues ranging from education and poverty to preventing domestic violence and childhood obesity. In addition to his impressive list of early accomplishments, Sellers served on President Barack Obama's South Carolina steering committee during the 2008 election. That coupled with his uncommon ability to reach across the aisle and get things done has led to numerous accolades including being named to TIME Magazine’s "40 Under 40" in 2010 as well as 2014’s “The Root 100” list of the nation’s most influential African Americans.


Sellers has been a much sought-after public speaker and has provided political and social commentary and analysis on many major national news outlets. He has served as a featured speaker at events for the National Education Association, College Democrats of America National Convention, NAACP, and the 2008 Democratic National Convention and, in 2007, delivered the opening keynote address to the AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington, DC.


Sellers is a CNN contributor and practices law with the Strom Law Firm, LLC in Columbia, SC.



Andrew Silver

Andrew has over 25 years of experience in property development, both commercial and residential

He has completed projects ranging from $1 million-$500 million dollars and specializes in a multifaceted and diverse approach to the art of regeneration, redevelopment, imagineering, and development.


Andrew’s ability to blend vision with technical and financial skills has made him a successful leader in the field of development



Walt Tobin

President of Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College since June 2011. He was educated in the public schools of Richland County in South Carolina. Prior to accepting the presidency, he served as interim president/chief executive officer at Denmark Technical College and vice president for academic affairs/chief academic officer at Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College. His previous work experiences included math instructor, assistant principal, principal, and middle school director in public schools throughout the state of South Carolina. He is an active member of his community and has served on the boards of numerous non-profit organizations, currently: South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, Orangeburg County Chamber of Commerce (Chair), Orangeburg County Development Commission, the South Carolina Center for Fathers and Families, the Liberty Fellowship (AGLN) and the St Matthews Rotary. He is married to Kim Kim Foster-Tobin and they are the parents of twins. (B.A. Clemson University in math teaching; M.Ed. and Ph.D. University of South Carolina in Education Administration. He completed post-doctoral study at the Harvard Institute for Educational Management.)

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