Published on September 10th, 2015 | by Millennium Magazine Staff


Columbia SC 63 and Historic Columbia Hosts Washington Author at the Big Apple

COLUMBIA, S.C. — In light of Historic Columbia’s 37th annual Jubilee: Festival of Heritage, Columbia SC 63 and Historic Columbia present a “Reading, Discussion, Book-signing, and Reception” with David Nicholson. Nicholson is the founding editor of the magazine Black Film Review and a former assistant editor of The Washington Post Book World. He is the author of Flying Home: Seven Stories of the Secret City.His current research explores the fascinating life of A.M.E. Bishop W.D. Chappelle, a former resident of the Waverly community. Nicholson is also writing a family history/memoir, tentatively titled “The Simonses of S Street: The Story of an American Family,” which begins with his search for “the African,” his earliest-known ancestor who bought his freedom (and that of his wife and children) in 1820s Laurens County, and follows his lineage through generations of Allen University educators, lawyers, and newspaper publishers in Columbia. Join us Thursday, September 17, 2015, from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. at the Big Apple located at 1000 Hampton Street, Columbia, SC. SCETV’s Beryl Dakers hosts the evening.

“I am excited to have been invited to appear at the beautiful and historic Big Apple, and grateful to Historic Columbia for the opportunity,” Nicholson said. “I’ve made several research visits to the city since 2010, but this is my first chance to share some of my work, work that is inextricably tied to Columbia. I will be reading from my collection, Flying Home: Seven Stories of the Secret City. I’ll also be reading from and discussing an almost-finished biography of African Methodist Episcopal Bishop William David Chappelle, as well discussing a family history/memoir I am writing. It is an added pleasure that my talk occurs on the eve of the 37th Annual Jubilee festival which celebrates these stories, and others, of African Americans who helped make Columbia the great city it is today.”

Flying Home (Paycock Press | ISBN 978-0931181450 | $12.95 paperback) is a collection of stories set in the “real” Washington, D.C., worlds apart from the heroic statues, white marble monuments, and broad, tree-lined avenues. Most of the characters are ordinary working men and women—maids, taxi drivers, janitors, barbers, and handymen. Some are immigrants from the South, as were Nicholson’s grandparents, who left Columbia during World War I to settle in Washington.

In writing about Washington, the city he called home for nearly 50 years, Nicholson wanted to offer a useful corrective to narratives about black life that focus on drug use and crime. Flying Home celebrates the extraordinary in the ordinary, offering glimpses into the heroic lives of ordinary men and women dealing with universal human issues.

Chappelle, the subject of Nicholson’s biography, was a native South Carolinian who was born in Fairfield County in 1857. A rising star of the A.M.E. Church, he was a leader in the 1895 fight against disfranchisement of black voters, twice president of Allen University, head of the Church’s Sunday School Union, and chairman of an A.M.E. delegation that met with President Woodrow Wilson to protest lynching. Chappelle, who died in 1925, was the great-grandfather of comedian Dave Chappelle.

The reading and discussion is a pre-event for the 37th annual Jubilee: Festival of Heritage taking place Saturday, September 19, 2015, 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the Mann-Simons Site located at 1401 Richland Street. The festival is free and open to the public. For more information on both of these events, visit

About David Nicholson

David Nicholson is a former editor and book reviewer for The Washington Post Book World. His stories have appeared in Stress City: A Big Book of Fiction by 51 D.C. GuysKiss the Sky: Fiction & Poetry Starring Jimi HendrixBest Stories from New Writers, and Best African American Fiction 2010. His essays have been anthologized in Black Men Speaking and Speak My Name: Black Men on Masculinity and the American Dream.

The founding editor of the magazine Black Film Review, Nicholson is a graduate of the University of the District of Columbia and of the University of Iowa Writers Workshop. A long-time resident of Washington, D.C., he now lives in Vienna, Va., where he is at work on a biography of A.M.E. Bishop William David Chappelle and a family history/memoir, “The Simonses of S Street: The Story of an American Family.”

Praise for Flying Home

This is a fine collection of stories . . . full of people you come almost instantly to recognize and care about; barbers, and taxi drivers, maids and tough guys. Older men and women, long married couples, folks with the best intentions and hopes—writing with consummate ease, with the language of his characters so convincing you feel as though you are in their presence, eavesdropping on their conversations. This isn’t just the African American experience in our new and changing capital city, it’s the human experience, rendered with the grace and wisdom of our best writers.

—Robert Bausch, author of Far As the Eye Can See

The book of the summer for me is David Nicholson’s newly published Flying Home: Seven Stories of the Secret City. Nicholson writes beautifully about the lives of Washingtonians, past and present, who rarely get a voice in American fiction. The heart of D.C. still beats in these short stories.

—George Pelecanons, author of The D.C. Quartet

About Columbia SC 63:

To raise awareness and understanding of a truly pivotal chapter in American history, Columbia, South Carolina has joined several other Southeastern cities to commemorate 50 years since the height of the Civil Rights Movement. Comprising a diverse coalition of community leaders, educators, students, residents and others, Columbia SC 63 will explore remarkable accounts of strength, determination and sacrifice that define how and why “Our Story Matters” – historically and for the future – to South Carolina and to our nation. For more information about activities and events associated with this initiative, please visit

About Historic Columbia Foundation:

In November 1961, a small group of individuals intent on saving the Ainsley Hall House from demolition officially incorporated as the Historic Columbia Foundation. Over the next five decades the organization, which was founded on the premise of preservation and education, would take on the stewardship of seven historic properties in Richland County. Today, the organization serves as a model for local preservation efforts and interpretation of local history. Visit or find us on TwitterFacebookInstagram or YouTube for more details.



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