January 2008

Nathaniel Abraham, Sr.

Community Leader

Nathaniel Abraham, Sr. has devoted his life to making a positive impact on the Black community. His message has been clean and consistent: “The minority community needs a voice – A strong and resonant voice that’s not afraid to right that which is wrong, fight injustices and champion the causes of the underprivileged. Remember, if we are afraid to tell the truth, we don’t even deserve freedom.” He has used the voice of the print media to promote the Black community politically, educationally and economically.

The fifth of eleven children born in Holly Hill to Edward and Mary Abraham, he moved to Orangeburg as a young child. He graduated from Wilkinson High School in 1952, and enlisted in the U.S. Army. Abraham served in the Korean War as a paratrooper. He received an honorable discharge in 1959, and enrolled in South Carolina State College to pursue a degree in Business and Accounting. He transferred to Benedict College in 1964 to continue his education and work with the Palmetto Times.

The 1960’s were a time of great social unrest. Working with Modjeska Simpkins and the Richland County Citizens Committee, Abraham used the power of the press to publicize issues affecting the Black community. In 1968, Abraham was sent to Orangeburg by Ms. Simpkins to serve as a liaison between civil rights leaders and the students fighting for social change. History would later recall this event as the “Orangeburg Massacre”.

During the 1970s, Abraham worked as the Director of Development at Voorhees College in Denmark to ease campus unrest and increase Voorhees’ public and private revenues. He also served as an unofficial advisor to many political leaders, including U.S. senators, representatives, governors, mayors, etc.

In the 1980s, Abraham went back into the newspaper business and founded a newspaper called the Palmetto Post, now known as the Carolina Panorama. Over the years, he has founded many other publications, including the Progressive South Magazine, the Palmetto Times in Greenville, Tri-Country Sentinel in Myrtle Beach, Southern Views Magazine and the Progressive American Magazine. Affectionately called the “Dean of Black Publishers in South Carolina,” he has also worked with and trained the majority of the state’s Black newspaper publishers.

Abraham has won many awards during his career, including The Columbia Urban League’s Whitney Young Award, the Key to the City of Columbia and the Regional and National Minority Media Cornerstone Award from the U.S. Department of Commerce. Abraham was married to the late Jean Abraham for 44 years. He has three children, Natalie, Nathaniel Jr. and Tenita.