I am heading South to visit North. North, South Carolina. The town my mother is notably from. And this weekend, January 14th 2017, the town of North, South Carolina, will celebrate my mother, her legacy and the fact that this January 17th 2017, on what would have been her 90th birthday, will be the first official ‘Eartha Kitt Day’ in her home state.
My mother always remembered where she came from and would say that she was “just a cotton picker from the south”, understanding that her tumultuous and humble beginnings had given her the foundation and strength to become the person she was. Talking about her young years in the South brought up very difficult memories for her, yet she clung to them as if her life depended on their existence to justify hers.
It was hard for me to listen to those stories, or really understand them, and many times I would get angry and tell her she needed to “let that stuff go!”, wanting to spare us both the pain of reliving it. But, that was never going to be. My mother truly was ‘of the earth’ and that earth, that cotton bearing southern soil, ran deep through her veins.
Visiting the area of her birth, St Matthews Parish, Orangeburg, South Carolina, was not something my mother did many times during her life. I think she only returned three of four times. Physically seeing it, and the rush of old emotions, was, I guess, more than she could handle. I grew to understand that, so, I have only been to that area once or twice. but I felt strongly that sometimes it’s important to come full circle and bring it back
Through the tireless efforts of State Representative Gilda Cobb-Hunter and devoted Eartha Kitt fan, Sheldon Rice, the ‘Eartha Kitt Day‘ bill was passed in 2016. This weekend we will be honoring my mother with a celebration at the North Middle High School, 5pm –8pm, Saturday January 14th. Tickets are $20 and proceeds will benefit The Cooperative Ministry of North, a non-profit 501(c)3 that helps those in the community needing help with utility bills, medication, housing, transportation, etc.
I feel that it is fitting to ‘come full circle’ and return to the North, South Carolina ‘earth’ and celebrate the 90th anniversary of my mother’s birth and shine the light on her hometown.
For more information on Saturday’s event, or to make a donation to The Cooperative Ministry of North, contact Barbara Jeffcoat (803)247-5511 or you can send checks to
North Cooperative Ministry
P.O. Box 83
North, SC 29112
Remember. Treasure. Love. Simply Eartha