College of Arts and Humanities

“Call My Name” 5K run returns in February to support stories of African Americans in Clemson University history


A 5K run to support the ongoing research of “Call My Name,” which documents and shares the stories of African Americans in Clemson University’s history, returns for a second annual race in February.

The run organized by Rhondda Robinson Thomas, the Calhoun Lemon Professor of Literature at Clemson, is scheduled for Sunday, February 18, from 8-10 a.m. Runners will gather in the Carillon Garden before running a route that guides them past sites of significance for Black history at Clemson, including Sikes Hall, Fort Hill, and the Woodland Cemetery, Andrew P. Calhoun Family Plot, and African American Burial Ground.

Three women smile after completing the first Call My Name 5K run in 2023.

“We look forward to seeing participants from last year again and welcoming new people to this family-friendly event that highlights an important part of Clemson history and honors Black people whose lives and labors have helped to ensure the university’s success,” Thomas said.

Registration for the “Call My Name” 5K can be completed at the run’s official website. Those who register by January 31 will receive a commemorative race T-shirt. All participants will receive a pamphlet that includes information about significant sites along the route, the Black Heritage Trail Project, and a person associated with one of the seven generations of “Call My Name.” This year’s 5K will also feature food trucks and a Black History Exhibit designed by Shelby Henderson and Nick McKinney, members of the “Call My Name” Coalition. The run is sponsored by the College of Arts and Humanities and Clemson Athletics.

“Our department’s collaboration with Dr. Rhondda Thomas and the Call My Name Project holds importance in aligning with our vision,” added Jordy Kirr,  Clemson Athletics Assistant AD for Personnel Engagement and Development. “The upcoming 5K event provides us with an exciting opportunity to sustain our support. Anticipation is high among our staff and student-athletes, many of whom are eager to participate on race day.”

The “Call My Name” project was started by Thomas shortly after she arrived on campus in 2007 and learned that the institution was built on land that was the former Fort Hill Plantation of John C. Calhoun. She began to unearth the stories of seven generations of Black people at Clemson, beginning with those who were free and enslaved during the antebellum period.

Her work spawned the book “Call My Name, Clemson: Documenting the Black Experience in an American University Community” and led to transformative research into Clemson’s campus history, including the discovery of hundreds of unmarked graves at the Woodland Cemetery, Andrew P. Calhoun Family Plot, and African American Burial Ground.

More information about her ongoing research is available at

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