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Tribute To Amy Surginer Ligon Northrop

Rep. James E. Clyburn

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Mr. Speaker, I rise to pay tribute to Amy Surginer Ligon Northrop on the occasion of her 100th birthday. Born September 28, 1905 in Dixiana, South Carolina, Mrs. Northrop became a successful entrepreneur, owning several businesses, including a thriving beauty shop and a laundromat in Columbia, South Carolina.

Mrs. Northrop, a pioneer among African American businesswomen, attended grade school in Dixiana and St. Ann Episcopal School in Cayce, South Carolina. She received her bachelor's degree from Allen University in Columbia, South Carolina, where she later established a scholarship named after her and her late husband, John. With a boundless thirst for knowledge, she furthered her education at Tennessee State University, South Carolina State University, Almanella School of Beauty Culture, and the Manhattan Trade School in New York.

Broadening her knowledge of life and mankind through travel, Mrs. Northrop was at various times, a resident of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York. With her foresight and vision, she opened a beauty shop in Brooklyn, New York. She relocated to South Carolina in 1935 and opened Amy's Beauty Shop. In 1936, she became a member of the South Carolina State Cosmetology Association and the first clinic for the association was held at her business. When the Columbia Citywide Cosmetology Association was organized in 1938, Mrs. Northrop became one of the charter members.

In 1941, she successfully negotiated affiliation with the National Beauty Culturists League for the Columbia association. She became a state organizer at a national beauticians' convention and organized beauticians throughout the State. Her interest in cosmetology led to extensive travel throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

Mrs. Northrop has received numerous certificates and awards for her outstanding contributions to the field of cosmetology. In 1945, she received the great honor of being the first African American state inspector of beauty shops in South Carolina. A tireless civic leader, Mrs. Northrop founded Gamma Epsilon, a chapter of the Alpha Chi Pi Mega Sorority, whose first members were beauticians from Charleston, Sumter, Kingstree, and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

As an entrepreneur, she was successful in securing the purchase of property on Clark Street in Columbia as a headquarters for the city's beauticians' association. She later helped to secure the land on Fontaine Road where the State Cosmetology Headquarters, the Margarette H. Miller Cosmetology Center, now stands.

Pisgah African Methodist Episcopal Church in Dixiana, South Carolina, where she organized the Youth Church, the Pull Together Club, the National Council of Negro Women, and the NAACP. In 1997, she relocated to the Washington, DC area to live with her niece and nephew, Rose and Edgar Crook, and worships with them at Shiloh Baptist Church. She continues to maintain strong ties to South Carolina, however, and visits as often as she can.

Mr. Speaker, I ask that you and my colleagues join me in saluting Mrs. Amy Surginer Ligon, one of South Carolina's and America's finest citizens, as she celebrates her 100th birthday.