Celebrating Black History Month – Gilda Cobb-Hunter

by Elysian Magazine

First woman of color to lead legislative caucus when elected S. C. House Minority Leader

Longest serving woman representative in S. C. House of Representatives

When South Carolina was seen as one of the fastest-growing states in the country, all Gilda Cobb-Hunter could see was how growth was coming at the expense of the state’s rural communities. Every day, 35-acres of farmland was being lost to industrial development—and with it were serious ramifications. Gilda set out to ensure that local jobs would not be threatened, or community schools and healthcare become imperiled. It was a courageous step—braver still when she realized she would have to change her career path in education as a middle school teacher and instructor at South Carolina State University if she was going to make a difference.

Gilda left teaching to become a Caseworker for the Orangeburg Department of Social Services and for five years, she worked closely with individuals to give them the assistance they needed to better their and their families’ s lives. In 1985 she became the executive director of CASA Family Services, a position she continues to hold to this day as a Social Work Administrator. An outspoken advocate for equal rights, affordable heathcare, and competitive pay for state employees, she drew no line between Democrats and Republicans when, 30 years ago, she became a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives representing District 66. She worked on both sides of the aisle to secure workforce development programs and ensure that local business would have the right students for the right jobs, increased and improved the level of education and employment in her district as a model for the state. This tireless woman has achieved what she set out to do three decades ago for indeed, she has made a difference.

For Gilda Cobb-Hunter’s full interview click here

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