Jennifer Disney, Ph.D
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Jean Belcher was born October 3, 1931 in Spartanburg, South Carolina and grew up in Inman, South Carolina. She graduated from Inman High School as the valedictorian in 1950, then earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Furman in 1953, graduating magna cum laude. After college Jean began her career as a school teacher at Laurel Elementary School in Greenville. On June 18, 1954 Jean and Posey Belcher married at Inman First Baptist Church. The young couple soon moved to Durham, North Carolina, where Posey attended seminary while Jean taught elementary school. While in seminary Posey served a small rural church where Jean established a children's choir, the first of any kind at the church. Following seminary Jean and Posey moved to Mobile, Alabama for a two-year pastoral internship, then to Barnwell, South Carolina where Posey pastored First Baptist Church. Jean was active in the church music program and became the first director of the 4-year Sunday School Department. For a period of fifteen years, Jean stepped away from her teaching career to raise her four children. She returned to teaching in 1972 at Barnwell Elementary School, working primarily with “unfortunate children not ready for first grade." In 1978 the family moved to Walterboro, South Carolina where Posey was pastor of First Baptist and Jean continued her career as a teacher. She was named Teacher of the Year for Black Street for the year 1993-1994. After retiring in 1994, the couple returned to Barnwell where Jean remained active in numerous organizations. The Belchers' four successful adult children are testimony to their parenting philosophy: "Parents should challenge children to strive for excellence, to persevere in the tasks given them, and to make education a top priority, but to realize that no one reaches perfection. Children are equally special, but different. Parents should remain united, working together to benefit their children."
Oral History | United States History | Women's History
Belcher, Jean Orr, "Interview with Jean Orr Belcher" (2015). South Carolina Mother of the Year Oral History Archives. 26.