On October 3, the University and the School of Music lost a dear colleague and friend, Frankie Goodman. Frankie was a founding member of the School of Music’s Center for Southern African American Music (CSAM). Formally launched in October 2002, with a celebratory concert in the Koger Center featuring the Hallelujah Singers, the Huspah Baptist Church, and famed Gullah artist Jonathan Green, CSAM’s mission was to shine a spotlight on the deep and rich contributions that southern African American musicians have made to music history.
...it was really Frankie that got all of us—faculty from African American Studies, English and Music in the room together that first day. It was her passion and dedication and her magnetic personality that was the driving force behind CSAM.
Julie Hubbert, School of Music Faculty
As many current and former music faculty remember, however, the launch of CSAM was several years in the making and instigated largely through the efforts of Frankie Goodman. It was Frankie who first brought together faculty from across campus and arts advocates from the city of Columbia, to discuss the possibility of starting a center devoted to African American musical traditions. “As I look back on it now,” notes music history faculty member Julie Hubbert, “it was really Frankie that got all of us—faculty from African American Studies, English and Music in the room together that first day. It was her passion and dedication and her magnetic personality that was the driving force behind CSAM.” Along with CSAM’s first co-directors, former School of Music professor Willie Strong, Head Music Librarian Jennifer Ottervik, and long-time university administrator Carl Wells, Frankie played a central role in establishing and nurturing CSAM from the beginning.
After its launch in 2002, Frankie worked closely with Ottervik, who had been quietly collecting materials for an archive--recordings, photos, sheet music and memorabilia that documented African American musicians and musical life in the state and region. “Jazz historian John Chilton had written a book about the contributions of famous musicians from the southeast—virtuoso trumpeters Jabbo Smith and Cat Anderson, and legendary guitarist for Count Basie, Freddie Green—to the history of jazz. That’s how I got involved with CSAM,” remembers Hubbert. “I found film footage and the only musical recording of the influential Jenkins Orphanage Band from Charleston in the university’s Fox Movietonews collection, a film now a part of the Library of Congress’s National Film Registry. But I would not have been inspired to do this research had it not been for Frankie.”
“Frankie was larger than life with a heart to match. She did so much to expand the musical culture of the School of Music and she will be greatly missed.”
Dean Tayloe Harding
As much as Frankie loved the contributions CSAM was making to uncovering new chapters in jazz history, she was even more interested in fostering the study of Black sacred music traditions, spirituals and gospel especially, and the music of the Civil Rights movement. “Frankie loved to sing,” Hubbert recalls. “She encouraged everyone she knew to use their voice to praise God, celebrate life and build community.” Frankie was emphatic that CSAM promote African American music as a living tradition through performance and educational outreach. To that end, she helped conceive and coordinate one of CSAM’s first student-based performance works in 2004, “In Dis Here Skin: A Celebration of African American Sacred Music in South Carolina, 1670-1900.” In the early years of the center, and until her retirement in 2016, Frankie served as the CSAM Educational Outreach coordinator, working exhaustively to promote African American musical traditions in local schools, churches and community centers. She often enlisted the help of School of Music students including alumni Cecilia Teasdale (BM, Mued) and Kevin Simmonds (Ph.D., Mued) who made frequent visits with her to sing and perform in area schools. Many remember her compelling advocacy of Black sacred music and Civil Rights songs especially. Notes long-time friend and colleague Scott Price, “Frankie was a force of nature. And she was dear to so many people in her life.” Adds School of Music Dean Tayloe Harding, “Frankie was larger than life with heart to match. She did so much to expand the musical culture of the School of Music and she will be greatly missed.”
Before she formally came to the School of Music in 2004, Frankie had pursued her musical interests as an associate with the Center for Black Music Research at Columbia College in Chicago. She had several other careers as well. For many years she was the Coordinator of the Ted Mimms Foreign Language Learning Center on campus. Having served in the U.S. Air Force overseas, where she met her husband Max, she spoke Japanese; she was also a licensed mortician, and a registered nurse. Her beloved husband Max passed away in 2011; Frankie is survived by her three children Kendra, Kritina and Jerome and her wonderful, adorable grandchildren whom she loved so very much.
“Frankie always worried that she didn’t have the academic credentials to properly advocate for CSAM,” Hubbert recalls. “But no credentials could substitute for what she brought to the SOM. She, more than any of us here, brought CSAM to life and helped to bring African American music into our curriculum. She was a just a wonderful, one-of-a-kind human being and I will miss her with all my heart.”
Remembrances of Frankie will be observed as follows:
Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021 | 2 - 5 p.m.
Bostick-Tompkins Funeral Home
2930 Colonial Drive
Columbia, SC 29203
Sunday, Oct. 10 | 1 p.m.
Bostick-Tompkins Funeral Home
2930 Colonial Drive | Columbia, SC 29203
The family are asking that attendees wear anything bright blue in honor of Frankie.