Monthly Archives: June 2013

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New PBS film “Homegoings” to Be Screened in Columbia

Features South Carolina native and legendary Harlem funeral director Isaiah Owens

Columbia — The South Carolina African American Heritage Commission will host a screening of the new PBS film “Homegoings,” which explores the rich and significant custom of burials and funerals in the African American community, at 5 p.m. Thursday, June 13, in the auditorium of the South Carolina Department of Archives and History on Parklane Road. The story is told through the eyes of Isaiah Owens, a legendary undertaker of the historic Harlem neighborhood in New York City, who is a native of Branchville, South Carolina. Owens felt that undertaking was his “calling,” having had an interest in dignifying and respecting the departed since early childhood in Branchville. See the trailer for the film, which will have its broadcast premiere on the POV series later in the month, here.

Owens will attend the screening on June 13 and will receive a Concurrent Resolution from members of the state legislature. He will also address the audience about his “calling” and the funeral traditions of African Americans. Also during the evening, a panel of notable funeral directors from across the state will discuss, among many topics, how funerals have evolved from grieving events to somber celebrations. Serving on the panel will be:

• Chris Leevy Johnson of Leevy’s Funeral Home in Columbia
• James Flemming of Flemming Funeral Homes in Chesterfield
• Rep. Anne Parks of Parks Funeral Home in Greenwood
• Herbert Fielding of Fielding Home for Funerals in Charleston
• Samuetta Marshall (coroner of Orangeburg County) of Shuler-Marshall Funeral Home in Holly Hill

Anyone interested in attending the June 13 screening is encouraged to RSVP to 843-917-3350. “Homegoings” was produced and directed by Christine Turner, and will be broadcast nationally on PBS stations on the award-winning POV (Point of View) series on Monday, June 24, 2013 at 10 p.m. (Check local listings.) Visit for more information.

Media contacts for the June 13 screening:
Dawn Dawson-House
SC Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism

Jannie Harriott
South Carolina African American Heritage Commission

This event is a collaboration with POV, PBS’ award-winning nonfiction film series.

This program is sponsored by The Humanities CouncilSC, a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities; inspiring, engaging and enriching South Carolinians with programs on literature, history, culture and heritage.