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*The birth of Alberta Grimes in 1910 is celebrated on this date. She was a Black educator.
She was a native of Elyria, Ohio, and received her early education in Kentucky and Ohio. Alberta Tucker Grimes graduated Magna Cum Laude in Biology and Mathematics from Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She earned a Master of Arts Degree in Education from Columbia University in New York City and pursued additional graduate studies at several other colleges and universities. Her career began at Sterling High School, where she became a biology teacher. In 1952, Grimes became the first Black school counselor in Greenville County, and soon afterward, she became the first full-time Black counselor in the state.
She will be remembered fondly for her service to the citizens of Greenville and those throughout the state of South Carolina, but most prominently and significantly for her work in 1965, establishing the Head Start Program in Greenville that became the model program for similar programs throughout the state. She encouraged and nurtured thousands of students whose lives she touched through the years. Many of these students have become outstanding citizens, and prominent local, state, national and international leaders in business, education, religion, human relations, and other areas of endeavor.
Greenville, South Carolinian, will remember her for her contributions to education and for her passion for service. Many recognized this service to others. Some of her awards include Greenville County Human Relations Commission, Greenville Democratic Party, Links, Inc., and The South Carolina Commission on Women. Additionally, she was a finalist for the Jefferson Award in recognition of her extensive community volunteer work.
She was a devoted member of Mattoon Presbyterian Church, a life member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., The Greenville Chapter of Links Inc., a founding member of the Greenville Chapter of The Urban League, The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Young Women’s Christian Association, Palmetto Education Association, National Education Association, League of Women Voters, Democratic Women, South Carolina Appalachian Council of Government’s Aging Advisory Council, and the University of South Carolina Board of Trustees.
She motivated hundreds of young people to pursue college degrees through her counseling position. She raised funds for needy students by asking co-workers and her family for contributions. Grimes was responsible for the establishment of "college nights," which allowed students and parents a preview of more than 20 colleges in the Southeast. Later, she served as a counselor at the Clemson University Branch and the College Transfer program at Greenville Technical College.
Following her official retirement in 1977, Grimes continued to help students complete admission forms and financial aid applications. She also worked as an administrator with Jesse Jackson’s EXCEL project, a student motivational program.
She has held various positions as a leader and organizer of numerous national and local organizations. She was the first African American woman to serve on the University of South Carolina Board of Trustees. She was a charter member of the Greenville Urban League, President of the Democratic Women of Greenville County, and founder of the Greenville Chapter of Jack and Jill of America. In 1980, Grimes received the prestigious Jefferson Award granted to individuals with high ideals and achievements as volunteers in public service. In 1992 she received the Lifetime Service Award from the Greenville County Human Relations Commission.
These and her numerous other awards testify to the outstanding public service she has rendered to South Carolina. Alberta Tucker Grimes died on January 8, 2002.