Literary Landmark: Arthenia J. Bates Millican Home

Sumter, S.C.

Dedicated June 1st, 2019

Partners: South Carolina State Library, South Carolina Academy of Authors, Friends of South Carolina Libraries

The Arthenia J. Bates Millican Home (also the AJBM Foundation site) was designated a Literary Landmark on June 1st, 2019 in honor of the American poet, essayist, short-story writer and educator. Bates Millican (June 1, 1920 – December 13, 2012) was born Arthenia Jackson in Sumter, South Carolina. She studied under poet Langston Hughes, later becoming his protegee.

Bates Millican taught at schools in the South Carolina public school system, including Westside High in Kershaw from 1942–45 and Butler High School in Hartsville from 1945–46. From 1947 to 1949 she was chair of the English Department at her alma mater, Morris College in Sumter. After she retired from teaching in 1980, she continued writing and took up public speaking.

Her work was critically acclaimed for its depiction of the lives of rural African-Americans in the South, and compared to the likes of Paul Laurence Dunbar, Zora Neale Hurston, and Thomas Hardy. Bates Millican's published writings include Seeds Beneath the Snow (1969), The Deity Nodded (1973), and Such Things from the Valley (1977).

During the dedication ceremony, a Literary Landmark plaque was unveiled and attendees celebrated the release of Bates Millican's The Bottoms and Hills: Virginia Tales. 


Dedication ceremony footage and photos

AJBM Literary Foundation