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      School named in memory of former slave, statesman

      Officials with Florence School District One held an open house Sunday for the Alfred Rush Academy on Ashby Road in the Quinby community of Florence.

      The school houses students in the district's Montessori program and alternative school.

      Alfred Rush was a former slave who rose to become a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives during Reconstruction.

      Rush represented Darlington County for two terms from 1868 to 1876

      He was assassinated in 1876 about one-half miles from his home in the Effingham community of Florence County.

      Rush's family says they are overjoyed that the district has honored the memory of their loved one.

      "Today is just an exciting day to honor my great-great-great-great grandfather. We're so proud of his many accomplishments. What he stood for, his vision as it relates to a quality education," said Terrance Smith, Rush's relative.

      The motto for the Alfred Rush Academy is "Making the Right Choices."

      District administrators believe the school will make a difference in the lives of its students as Alfred Rush made a difference in his community.