Black history gala to honor “unsung heroes”

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) – The life and legacy of a Myrtle Beach woman that worked to preserve African-American history lives inside her daughter every day. Mary C. Canty, for whom the Mary C. Canty Recreation Center is named, was a mentor, friend, and mother to many people in Myrtle Beach.

“My mother gave birth to eight children, but she has hundreds,” said Canty’s daughter Cookie Goings.

“She mentored people in the city of Myrtle Beach, visitors to the area, and really anyone she came in contact with.”

Goings said her mother used nothing but a napkin to sketch the drawing for the Canal Street Recreation Center and she wanted to leave behind a legacy that would strengthen the community.

After her passing in 2015, the Canal Street Recreation Center was renamed the Mary C. Canty Recreation Center. This change recognized her tireless efforts to keep African-American history alive, while serving and being a leader to all people in the community.

“All I’ve known my entire life is her being involved in organizations and creating opportunities to serve others,” said Goings.

In serving others, Canty wanted to honor local “unsung heroes” while they were still alive. She left behind a list of people to be honored at an annual black history gala, and this year, four people on that list will be recognized: Councilman Wayne Gray, Ann Futrell, Ramon Sessions, and Frank Clark.

The gala takes place on Feb. 17 at 6:30 p.m. at the Mary C. Canty Center. To attend, RSVP by Feb. 8 to April Johnson at