Damon Lamar Fordham was born in Spartanburg, SC on December 23, 1964 to Anne Montgomery and was adopted by Pearl and Abraham Fordham of Mt. Pleasant, SC the following year. He received his Master’s Degree in history from the College of Charleston and the Citadel, and his undergraduate degrees at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. He currently teaches United States and African-American History at Charleston Southern University in Charleston, SC and has taught US History and African-American Studies at the College of Charleston. He was a weekly columnist for the Charleston Coastal Times from 1994 to 1998, as well as the author of Voices of Black South Carolina-Legend and Legacy (Charleston: History Press, 2009), True Stories of Black South Carolina (Charleston: History Press, 2008), Mr. Potts and Me (Evening Post Books, 2012), a semi-autobiography based on his father’s folk tales, and coauthor of Born to Serve-The Story of the WBEMC in South Carolina in 2006. He conducted research for the book Sweetgrass Baskets and the Gullah Tradition by Joyce Coakley in 2006. For three years he taught GED classes to inmates at the Charleston County Detention Center through the Trident Literacy Association, resulting in 28 inmates getting their high school equivalency diplomas.
Additionally, he wrote the articles “The Spartanburg Sit-Ins” and “The Impact of Martin Luther King’s Assassination on Spartanburg” in the book South of Main by Beatrice Hill and Brenda Lee, and entries for “Willie Lynch, “John Tales,” and “The Hag” for The Greenwood Encyclopedia of African-American Folklore for the University of Missouri Press in 2006. His interviews with the survivors of the Orangeburg Massacre appear in Cecil Williams and Sonny DuBose’s Orangeburg 1968. He also wrote entries for The Malcolm X Encyclopedia for the University of Southern Mississippi Press in 2001.
He has also appeared in the Turner South Network Commercial My South Speaks, 2006, the History Channel Documentary All for Liberty, 2005. He has served as a commentator for the British Broadcasting Company documentary The Real Amos and Andy, and the South Carolina Educational Television documentaries All the Children of All the People, Where Do We Go from Here, and Africans in America-A South Carolina Perspective. On radio he was a commentator for WPAL-FM in Charleston, SC,
co-host for PM Urban Edition, WPAL-FM, and a commentator, Roots Music Karamu, South Carolina Educational Radio Network. He has also spoken at The University of California at Berkeley in 2013, G.L. Roberts Collegiate and Vocational School in Ontario, Canada, in 1999, and the University of Memphis in 1998.
A member of Friendship AME Church, he served as the President of Charleston chapter of the Association for the Study of African-American Life and History. He has won the Charleston Post and Courier’s Golden Pen Award in 2015, the Charleston Martin Luther King Award in 2014, the Black Student Union of the College of Charleston Faculty Award in 2002, the Key to the City of Spartanburg, SC in 2001, the Excel Award at the College of Charleston in 1999, the Outstanding Alumni Award, from the Wando High School African-American Club, Mt. Pleasant SC, in 1998 and the Outstanding Young Man of America, 1997. His motto is Educate yourself to lead yourself, for if you wait on others to show you the way, you will wait for a long time.