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TO EXPRESS THE PROFOUND SORROW OF THE MEMBERS OF THE SOUTH CAROLINA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES UPON THE DEATH OF ABELLE NIVENS, OF AIKEN COUNTY, AND TO EXTEND THEIR DEEPEST SYMPATHY TO HER FAMILY AND MANY FRIENDS.
Whereas, the members of the South Carolina House of Representatives were deeply saddened to learn of the death of Abelle Nivens, of Aiken County, on April 4, 2008, at the venerable age of ninety-one; and
Whereas, Ms. Nivens, who in her youth attended Bettis Academy, an Edgefield County boarding school for African American children, was the youngest of ten children born to a hard-working teacher mother and brick mason father; and
Whereas, already teaching as she attended college, the ambitious young Abelle Nivens earned a bachelor's degree from South Carolina State College and a master's degree from Columbia University in New York City. At a time when it was difficult for an African American to get ahead in the teaching profession, she left New York and returned to her home State to continue what became a successful teaching career spanning seventy-three years, working first with the Aiken County public schools until retirement and then in 1978 opening her own school in Graniteville, which she operated until recent years when her health began to decline; and
Whereas, called Minnie Palmore House after her mother, the school served toddlers through second graders who respected and adored their head teacher, who was known as warm and caring but also big on discipline. As one of her former students attests, "Teaching children was her heart. She believed that every child could learn....She was just one of those persons born to teach"; and
Whereas, not one to neglect her civic duty, Abelle Nivens enthusiastically served her county and community through Girl Scouts, Tau Gamma Delta Sorority, the National Educators Association, and Valley Fair Baptist Church, where she was clerk for forty years; and
Whereas, she leaves two daughters, Celillus "Dot" Spell of Orangeburg and Lauminnia Nivens of Aiken; eight grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and a host of other relatives and friends; and
Whereas, Abelle Nivens was held in high esteem for her labors on behalf of her students and her community. Her loyalty and devotion to her family, friends, and State were admired by all who knew her, and she will be missed. Now, therefore,
Be it resolved by the House of Representatives:
That the members of the South Carolina House of Representatives, by this resolution, express their profound sorrow upon the death of Abelle Nivens, of Aiken County, and extend their deepest sympathy to her family and many friends.
Be it further resolved that a copy of this resolution be forwarded to Celillus "Dot" Spell for the family.
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