Berkeley Electric is proud to recognize two of its own for their pioneering efforts as the cooperative celebrates Black History Month this February. Isaac Shine blazed a trail for African-Americans when he became the nation’s first black electric cooperative board chairman. Shine was elected to Berkeley Electric’s board of trustees in 1979 and was selected as chairman in 1984. He served as chairman until he lost his battle with cancer in 1994. As only the second African-American to be chosen to serve on the cooperative’s board at the time, Shine was also a leader in the community working at the Charleston Naval Shipyard and as the Administrative Board Chairman at Wesley United Method Church.
The cooperative is also proud to recognize former employee, Lewis Jenkins. Jenkins was not only the first African-American lineman hired at co-op but he was also the first African-American policeman in Berkeley County. He was hired as a groundsman in 1942, shortly after the cooperative was incorporated. Jenkins retired in 1983 after serving the co-op’s members for 41 years.
As a community-minded electric cooperative, Berkeley Electric feels that it is important to share the accomplishments of these pioneers and add their stories to the rich cultural heritage of African-Americans in the Lowcountry.