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Released December. 21, 2018

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Gamma Gamma Lambda Chapter
P. O. Box 5244
Greenville, South Carolina 29607

Alpha Phi Alpha Greenville Foundation
P.O. Box 5263
Greenville, SC 29606-9998
(864) 735-0880

Contact: Allen Cook &  Furman Jackson,
Telephone: (864) 441-9067

AGF selects Harris as 2019 MLK Citizenship Award Winner
Mrs. Pearlie Harris is named this year's award winner


Mrs. Pearlie Harris
2019 Martin Luther King, Jr. Citizenship Award Winner

Greenville, South Carolina - Alpha Phi Alpha Greenville Foundation along with Gamma Gamma Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha has selected Pearlie Harris as the 2019 Martin Luther King, Jr. Citizenship Award winner. The award will be presented at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship Gala on January 13th at the Melvin and Dottie Younts Conference Center on the campus of Furman University. The Gala will start at 3 PM and features dinner and entertainment from the local community.

In addition to presenting the winner of this year's award, the Gala serves as a lead event for MLK Activities in Greenville and at Furman University. Programs are planned from January 13th to February 16th of this year. Here is list of events for this year.

Born in 1936 in Hendersonville, North Carolina, Pearlie was the third of four children and the only girl. After the family moved into a log cabin in rural Saluda, North Carolina, Harris spent summers singing with the Billy Graham Crusade in Montreat. After high school, she attended Barber-Scotia College where she majored in education and landed her first job teaching fifth grade in Beaufort. It was there in 1960 she met her husband, a Marine drill instructor at Parris Island.

In 1963, they moved to Greenville so Harris could care for her ailing mother. Both their sons were born here and reared in her husband's religion, which she confessed, is how she came to be a Catholic. In the Upstate, Harris taught at the Washington Middle School and then at Burgess Elementary. Both were segregated, she said. Later, Harris taught at Sara Collins Elementary and then in the gifted program. While working and raising her sons, she pursued a graduate degree, earning her master's from Furman University in 1983.

After 37 years of teaching, she retired. She wanted to find a way to help her community and extend her personal mission of faith, help, and hope. And just days later, she said, she was drafted by a friend to be a volunteer at St. Francis, working first at the reception desk and then on the internal review board assessing clinical trials. She served as Eucharistic minister and on the St. Francis Foundation Board sharing her wisdom and community knowledge. In 2009, she was approached to serve on the Board of Directors for St. Francis Health System where she became the first woman and the first ethnic person to serve as chair of the board.

On October 20, 2011, a family that had a lot of history with St. Francis donated a building and named it The Pearlie Harris Center for Breast Health.

Over the years, along with volunteering at St. Francis, Harris has served on the boards of the Urban League of the Upstate, the Greenville Symphony Guild, the Greenville Chorale and the Greenville County Museum of Art where she spent hundreds of hours at the museum as a docent, sharing her love of art with children. A congregant of St. Mary's Church in Mauldin, she's a member of the Catholic Fellowship and the South Carolina Council of Catholic Women Historians and was named the 2010 South Carolina State Catholic Woman of the Year. She has served as chair of the American Heart Association's Go Red campaign, a volunteer at the BMW Golf Tournament and a member of the St. Mary's School PTA.

In addition to the vast support she has lent St. Francis, she has been instrumental in leading the Greenville Mardi Gras Gala, a signature event which raises thousands of dollars for critical needs throughout the Upstate; has served on the board of St. Joseph's High School for more than a decade; served two years as President of St. Mary's Woman's Club and has given leadership to various boards including Operation Shoe Horn.

Currently, she is on the Board at Center Stage and Greenville County Museum of Art. She is the President of Unity Health on Main and vice president of the Greenville County Youth Orchestra.  

We are proud to include her with more than thirty winners of the MLK Citizenship Awards in the 40 years of the MLK Gala's history. Please join us as we honor Mrs. Harris's accomplishments and the great legacy of Dr. King's life and message at this year's Gala. The Gala also raises funds for the Luke H. Chatman Scholarship, which is given proudly to Greenville High School students annually for four years.


Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., the first intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity established for African-Americans, was founded at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York on December 4, 1906. The Gamma Gamma Lambda Chapter was chartered on August 24, 1941, in Greenville, South Carolina under the Umbrella of the National Organization and the first African-American Greek-Letter Alumni Chapter in the Upstate of South Carolina.

Established in 2012 as a public 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempted organization, Alpha Phi Alpha Greenville Foundation's mission is to aid the poor and disadvantaged and help them toward a life of self-sufficiency. Our programs address teenage pregnancy prevention, college preparation & awareness, educational scholarships, youth leadership development, and other similar programs. We serve the Upstate area of South Carolina and are affiliated with the Gamma Gamma Lambda Chapter of ΑΦΑ in Greenville, South Carolina.

Gamma Gamma Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. was chartered on August 24, 1941. The Chapter was chartered as third Alumni chapter in SC under the Fraternal administration of Bro. Ray W. Logan, 16th General President and Bro. Jos. H.B. Evans, General Secretary. For more than seventy years, and under the Umbrella of the National Organization, Gamma Gamma Lambda Chapter set as her objective to carry out the mandates of "Manly Deeds, Scholarship, and Love for All Mankind".

First of All, Servants of All, We shall Transcend All