Remembering Myrtle Beach Community Activist Bennie Swans

The Myrtle Beach Jazz Festival is paying tribute to the life and contributions of Bennie Swans, a local community activist who passed away last Friday night. The 70-year-old had been battling a lengthy illness.

“Bennie was indeed a warrior and a trooper for Civil Rights and community service,” said festival president Mickey James. “Bennie didn’t mind getting in the trenches to fight for justice and liberty for all.”

Swans, who helped with planning the Myrtle Beach Jazz Festival, grew up in Philadelphia and fought in Vietnam. He moved to Myrtle Beach in the early ’80s, became the county Democratic Party chair, worked extensively with the NAACP and helped organize a week-long local commemoration of the life and works of Martin Luther King Jr.

A celebration of life will be held for Bennie Swans at 10 a.m. this Friday, Sept. 25 at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center, hosted by Ocean View Funeral Home. This service will be live streamed; click here to watch.

“His commitment, loyalty, wisdom and legacy will shine forever, and it will be passed on to the next generation,” James added.

Like so many other community events, the Myrtle Beach Jazz Festival has been postponed until 2021 in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The original scheduled dates were in October.

Want to revisit past performances? Head over to our YouTube page. Want to volunteer at next year’s Myrtle Beach Jazz Festival? Click here to find out more. Want to stay connected? Get the latest by following us on Facebook.