Activist, community leader Higgins, dead at 78

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Charleston native, community leader and former St. Johns and Wallace school principal Leonard Higgins, Sr. passed away Tuesday after prolonged illness.

Higgins was known for his leadership as president of the Maryville/Ashleyville neighborhood association and he was instrumental in the removal of an adult-oriented video store on St. Andrews Boulevard in West Ashley.

He also played part in the creation of an expansion of the West Ashley Bikeway.

Charleston mayor Joe Riley called Higgins "a distinguished and gentle man," saying he had "a strong dedication to the neighbors who lived around him and to the betterment of the City of Charleston for every resident. His service was tireless and genuine. We will miss him and his advocacy."

Rep. Wendell Gilliard called him a father-figure. "I learned a lot from him as a politician, including that helping those in need is helping yourself. He was a leader, he was a visionary and he always cared about those who were less fortunate," he said.

Higgins was 78 years old and his survived by his wife, three daughters, a son, as well as several great- and grandchildren.

Funeral services are scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 14, at 1 p.m. at Emanuel AME Church on Fifth Avenue in Maryville. The wake service is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 13 at 4 p.m. That service is also being held at Emanuel AME Church.

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