AIKEN (AP) — Barbara Morgan served as the solicitor for South Carolina’s Second Judicial District for nearly 20 years. In early 2009, she left that post, but her plan wasn’t to slow down and take it easy.
“I didn’t retire,” Morgan said. “I got the opportunity to renew, refresh and restore. I didn’t really have a bucket list, but there were times in the middle of the night, when I was preparing for a trial involving the death penalty or a serious murder, that I would think, ‘OK, if I ever have the time, what am I going to do?'”
Morgan wanted to make things, and she wanted to learn. She took classes at USC Aiken in such subjects as documentary photography, painting and drawing. She also helped friends with home remodeling projects, sewed, refinished furniture and designed and built a barn.
In addition, Morgan explored movie making and social media.
“I like to be creative,” Morgan said. “For the documentary film ‘Edgewood: Stage of Southern History,’ I was responsible for all the props.”
“It was very similar to working on a trial. You have a schedule and you prepare. You coordinate with the cast and production crew, and you make sure everything is done correctly. You’re telling a story, but it’s with pictures, not words.”
Morgan also traveled internationally. She went to Japan and The Gambia in West Africa.
In Japan, Morgan was a team leader in Rotary International’s Group Study Exchange program.
“Japan was my birthplace, but I left when I was less than a year old,” Morgan said. “When I returned, I got to see the culture that I had experienced only through my parents and people I had met on American soil.”
Morgan journeyed to The Gambia with her husband, the Rev. Fred Andrea, who is the senior pastor of Aiken’s First Baptist Church. They went there to visit their daughter, Sarah Andrea, a Peace Corps volunteer.
“It’s fascinating country,” Morgan said. “West Africa is where most of the slave trade came (from), and many of the cultural things we see in South Carolina are from there originally.”
Morgan also participated in the Diversity Leaders Initiative program, which is conducted by Furman University’s Richard W. Riley Institute of Government, Politics and Public Leadership.
“It was very powerful,” said Morgan of her experience, which included interviewing and filming ex-convicts, who discussed their struggles.
Earlier this year, Morgan, 59, became the president of the Rotary Club of Aiken.
“My goal is to continue the legacy of our club which is ‘Service Above Self,'” she said. “One of our most exciting projects is Rotary Readers, and we have expanded it this year. It was at East Aiken School of the Arts to begin with, and now it is there and at Aiken Elementary School. We know anecdotally that it’s a powerful program, and we also have the statistics to prove that it really makes a difference.”