Jobman Caravan: Philip Simmons (1997) | ETV Classics

Hosts Bill Terrell and Patricia Bennett meet on the fourth floor of the SC State Museum at the site of a Philip Simmons gate which is part of the museum’s permanent collection to talk about the life of the renowned artist. They meet up with him later in Charleston to view his workshop and to talk about how he is passing skills to the next generation to continue the art and craft. 

On his 85th birthday, the crew films the celebration in the new Simmons Garden at St. John’s Reformed Episcopal Church. Simmons talks about how he started working as a blacksmith and then later transitioned into being an artisan. Relatives Joseph Pringle and Carlton Simmons each apprenticed to him in their early teens and presently continue the tradition. 

The Caravan takes viewers to the Charlotte Afro American Cultural Center, to talk about how important it is to know your culture as a part of knowing yourself and later there is a segment on the importance of Jazz to Black youth. 

Caravan hosts move on to Spartanburg to learn about the roles that lack of transportation and education as well as drug and alcohol addiction have in contributing to economic disparity in the area.

Side Notes:

  • When Philip Simmons retired, he turned the business over to Joseph (Ronnie) Pringle and Carlton Simmons (Philip's nephew).  They formed Simmons Blacksmith Shop, LLC in 2006 to continue the craft as it had been taught to them.
  • In addition to the Simmons gate at the SC State Museum, there is also a section of gate that can be viewed on the 3rd floor of the Richland County Public Library on Main Street, Columbia, SC.
  • Philip Simmons died June 22, 2009. View the Philip Simmons Foundation website.