All Press Releases for January 14, 2021

Thomasena Stokes-Marshall Celebrated for Dedication to Her Community

Ms. Stokes-Marshall contributes to various local organizations following her tenure with the Mount Pleasant Town Council

    MOUNT PLEASANT, SC, January 14, 2021 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Thomasena Stokes-Marshall has been included in Marquis Who's Who. As in all Marquis Who's Who biographical volumes, individuals profiled are selected on the basis of current reference value. Factors such as position, noteworthy accomplishments, visibility, and prominence in a field are all taken into account during the selection process.

Born in the Snowden community of Mount Pleasant, South Carolina in February of 1943, Ms. Stokes-Marshall relocated with her parents, Irving and Rebecca Stokes to the Bronx, New York City at the age of five. Starting at the age of eight Thomasena was taught by her parents to be responsible for taking care of her two younger brothers while her dad worked two jobs and her mom operated her hair salon business.

From elementary through high school, Thomasena attended the New York City Public School system. In 1982 she received her Bachelor's Degree in Public Administration and Community Organization from the NYU, Herbert Lehmann College. She worked for five years as a Correction Officer for the New York State Department of Corrections and joined the New York City Police Department in 1968. Thomasena served as a NYC Patrol Officer for ten years and was promoted to detective in 1978 and assigned to the Community Affairs Division, where she specialized in, Community Organizing, the Senior Citizen Robbery Unit, Police Athletic League programs and events planning until her retirement in 1991. During her tenure with the NYPD, Ms. Stokes-Marshall received awards from the New York City Police Department, the Police Athletic League, the Bronx Borough President and a countless number of community groups, organizations, churches, and state and local agencies.

In 1993, Thomasena and her husband, Claude Marshall, returned to her hometown in Mount Pleasant, SC. Deaidra Bailey was her only child and has had a heavenly life with God since 2002. He left her son Clarence Jones for which she is grateful.

After returning to her place of birth, in an effort to become familiar with her hometown communities, Ms. Stokes-Marshall volunteered with Meals on Wheels, the local chapters of the Kiwanis and Rotary International while also attending monthly town council meetings. Recognizing the lack of minority representation on the town council, she made the decision to run for a seat on the Mt. Pleasant Town Council in 1996, but was unfortunately defeated by just over 300 votes. Though defeated, she was not deterred, seeking office again and winning in 1998. She is proud to be the eyes, cars and voice for the Town of Mount Pleasant residents.

Over her four-term tenure between 1998 and 2015, Ms. Stokes-Marshall achieved much for her community. She is most proud of becoming the first African American to break the glass ceiling by being elected as a Council Member to serve Mount Pleasant town residents for 17 years. Thomasena spearheaded a five years movement that resulted in the Town Council's decision to purchase land where the Senior Citizen Service Center was constructed and opened in October 2008. To help make people aware of the threats posed by the increasing amount of residential and commercial development within the African American Gullah Ogeechee peoples' community, as well as other communities, Thomasena founded the Annual Sweetgrass Cultural Arts Festival Association as a nonprofit organization in 2002.

In 2005, Stokes-Marshall partnered with the Avery Research Institute and the College of Charleston to facilitate plans for documenting and recording "Bin Yah, There's No Place Like Home," a DVD focusing on the negative impacts and threats posed by the increasing residential and commercial development in the Town of Mount Pleasant and the surrounding Gullah Geechee people's communities. In 2006, South Carolina's Former Governor, Jim Hodges designated the Sweetgrass Basket making an art form as the state of South Carolina's Official Art Craft.

In 2008 the Sweetgrass Cultural Arts Festival Association partnered with the College of Charleston, The New York Museum of African Arts, SC Arts Commission, SC National Heritage Corridor, National Park Service, Avery Research Institute and the Humanities Council to produce, "Grass Roots": The Enduring Art of the Lowcountry Sweetgrass Basket exhibition and DVD.

In 2009, an effort to help preserve the history and legacy of the Gullah Geechee people's ancient sweetgrass basket making art form, Ms. Stokes-Marshall established and implemented the first Sweetgrass Basket Making Summer Camp for boys and girls to help ensure that the ancient sweetgrass basket making history and art form will be continued by future generations. The primary purpose and function of the summer camp aims to teach the history of the Gullah Geechee people and the art of sweetgrass basket making to the next generation.

Throughout her time on the council, Ms. Stokes-Marshall affiliated herself with various organizations, including East Cooper Habitat for Humanity, East Cooper Meals on Wheels, the Charleston International African American Museum, Mount Pleasant Affordable Housing Task Force and Creative Sparks, to name a few. After retiring from the town council, she has continued to contribute as an active member of the Sweetgrass Cultural Arts Festival Association.

Furthermore, Ms. Stokes-Marshall has provided her wealth of knowledge as a board member for Housing for All Mount Pleasant, the Thomasena Stokes-Marshall Senior Service Center Association, and the East Cooper Medical Center Women's Advisory Board, the Medical University of South Carolina Senior Mentoring Program and the African American Settlement Community's Historic Commission.

Thomasena attributes her passion for working with and helping people to her parents, who instilled a solid foundation for her to become responsible for her two younger siblings at an early age of eight. She is motivated and driven by her strong belief in God and good morals, values and principals instilled by her parents and two of her Yorkville Vocational High School teachers. Mrs. Campbell and Mrs. Offer for their teachings and guidance that continues to inspire and motivates Thomasena to live by the Golden Rule: to always do unto others as she would have them do unto her.

Ms. Stokes-Marshall is proudest of her achievement to become the first African American women to be elected to serve on Mount Pleasant Town Council and has enjoyed the opportunity to be the eyes, ears and voice elected to serve and represent the Town of Mount Pleasant residents.

In light of her myriad accomplishments, Ms. Stokes-Marshall was honored with the Community Service Award from the Raleigh Institute and an Outstanding Service Award from the South Carolina Electric & Gas Company in 1999. She has additionally accepted two Preserving Our Place in History Awards, three South Carolina Top Events Awards from the South Carolina Tourism Society, a Distinguished Service Award from the Phillip Community Civic Association, East Cooper Community Civic Association, Outstanding Service Award, two Aging in Place Gift of Giving Award, the Women Who Impact Preservation Award from the Historic Charleston Foundation, and the Charleston Magazine, Gift of Giving Award. Looking forward, Ms. Stokes-Marshall intends to remain involved and engaged within her community, especially with the African American Settlement Community Historic Commission, Affordable Housing for All, Board of Directors and the Medical University of South Carolina Senior Mentoring Program.

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