MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — As Myrtle Beach continues to celebrate Grand Strand Freedom Week, those involved are paying tribute to Bennie Swans, one of the week’s biggest advocates.

Swans died in 2020, but his legacy remains on the Grand Strand. He was a community activist, a veteran and the former chairman of the Horry County Democratic Party.

Swans’ wife, Marcella, said Bennie wanted to make sure that Martin Luther King Day was recognized in Myrtle Beach, so he went to the city council to make it happen. Now, years later, it’s a week-long event.

“I’m so overwhelmed, I’m so thrilled, and I know Bennie would be to see that this has grown so much and has reached so many people, and it continues to reach so many people,” Marcella Swans said.

Marcella said Bennie was a driven, thoughtful, caring man who always looked out for his community.

“He was always concerned about people’s condition, minority’s conditions and how to improve them and bringing those tools and those individuals, those organizations to the community so they could empower the community through knowledge,” Marcella said.

Marcella said though she thinks change has come a long way since they moved here but that there is more that needs to be done.

“We have made progress in Myrtle Beach, and I think continuing to work together and look at issues that affect the community, we’re going to grow even more,” Marcella said.

Grand Strand Freedom Week continues this week. Upcoming events can be found here.