Catherine Fleming Bruce

Catherine Fleming Bruce is engaged in transformational politics, global ethics and norms, and historic and cultural preservation. Bruce is the author of The Sustainers: Being, Building and Doing Good through Activism in the Sacred Spaces of Civil Rights, Human Rights and Social Movements, winner of the 2017 University of Mary Washington Historic Preservation Book Prize, and its first African-American awardee. UMW’s Historic Preservation Center annually awards a prize to an author whose book has the most potential for having a positive impact on historic preservation in the United States. This year’s book prize jury focused on books that broke new ground or contributed to the intellectual vitality of the preservation movement. “The Sustainers took an authentic, grassroots approach to beginning a conversation about the tangible preservation and intangible meanings of African American sites,” said Michael Spencer, director of the Center for Historic Preservation. The Sustainers included sites that were chosen to convey a powerful message about connections between history and contemporary society, such as the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail, the Audubon Ballroom and recent Black Lives Matter memorials. These are particularly effective in communicating with today’s generation of social activists and preservationists, according to the jury.

Bruce’s additional publications include ‘The globalization-friendly public sphere: contrasting paths to moral legitimacy and accountability’ in Public Sphere Reconsidered: Theories and Practices (2012). Bruce served as an observer during the United Nations World Summit for the Information Society in Geneva Switzerland and in Tunis, Tunisia. She was presented in 2016 with the Key to the City of Columbia, Mississippi for mutual disaster relief efforts between that city and the City of Columbia, South Carolina. She was active in an Occupy Wall Street variant in her state, in which arrested activists brought to court and settled Occupy Columbia v. Nikki Haley, (former South Carolina Governor, now US Ambassador to the UN) to protect the constitutional right to protest defended by Edwards v. South Carolina in 1963. 

An alumna of Agnes Scott College, with a BA in English, Creative Writing and Art, Bruce received her Master of Arts in Mass Communication and Information Studies at the University of South Carolina, and pursued doctoral studies there in mass communication, philosophy and ethics, international relations and international law. She has worked in public television, taught Benedict College and Claflin University, has and continues to work with statewide public interest non-profit organizations. She lives in Columbia, South Carolina.