AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) – In 2011, Philip Howell made headlines in the Palmetto State as the first white president of an NAACP branch in South Carolina. Many say he brought an amazing vigor – fighting for equality for the area.
“We were glad that he was one of the ones that made the decision that let’s be fair to everybody regardless of their race or color,” Former State, Branch President of the Aiken County NAACP James Gallman told NewsChannel 6’s Shawn Cabbagestalk.
“He always had serving mannerisms about him,” Mae Carroll said. The longtime friend served as one of his caregivers during his illness. He died Saturday due to complications.
“Phil always took the position that he was a civil rights activist,” Gallman added.
The story of the murder of African-American civil rights activist Medgar Evers prompted him to get into race relations. A trip to New York opened the door to the Aiken County NAACP.
“Phil wanted to do something and he said that he had the time to do it. so Phil took time to do it so. He got a new love for the association,” Gallman said.
Caroll shared that his love for severing underprivileged people may have been a result of his childhood. “He was never a person to shun anybody,” she said.
The 69-year-old has mentored youth and rubbed noses with celebrities and those in power like President Barack Obama and the Reverend Jessie Jackson.
“When you knew Phillip Howell and you knew his heart and you knew his work and you know his focus. Phil transcended color and race. Phil transcended to a place of understanding that justice and freedom was a right that everybody should have,” Former Aiken NAACP Past President Rev. Brendolyn Jenkins-Boseman shared.
Now there’s a void left in the community that he cared so deeply for.
“God only takes the best, he got one when he took Phil and it’s so much more that can be said. He’s a good guy, a great guy, and he was my brother,” Caroll shared.
A memorial will be held on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at the City of Aiken Municipal Building.
A home-going service will take place Saturday, March 16 at 12 P.M. at Charity Missionary Baptist Church, 1544 E. Montague Ave., North Charleston, South Carolina.
Burial will take place at Beaufort National Cemetery on Monday, March 25.