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New mobile guide highlights ‘hidden gems’ of SC’s African-American history

Among featured sites in the guide: McLeod Plantation
Among featured sites in the guide: McLeod Plantation Provided photo

In 1936, the Green Book guided African-American travelers to safe harbors and welcoming establishments across the United States.

Now, the Green Book of South Carolina mobile guide – debuting today, April 30 – will guide tourists of all races and cultures to more than 300 historically significant African-American sites in the Palmetto state.

“Our guide acknowledges the early experience for African-American travelers, but also shares the promise of what African-Americans can find in South Carolina today,” said Dawn Dawson-House, director of corporate communications at the S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism and a key adviser to the Green Book of South Carolina project.

The Green Book of South Carolina is the first mobile web travel guide to African-American cultural sites across the state, created by the S.C. African-American Heritage Commission.

The purpose is to increase awareness of the state’s African-American tourism destinations and encourage travelers to become immersed in compelling stories of African-Americans in South Carolina.

“We want travelers to discover the under-told and hidden gem-type stories,” Dawson-House said.

The free mobile travel guide includes hundreds of listings, sites on the National Register or designated with a state historic marker. It covers every county in South Carolina and includes churches (including brush arbors and praise houses), schools, cemeteries, homes and more.

Among the sites in Columbia are places residents might pass daily without realizing their historic significance – like the former Kress Building (now Cowboy Brazilian Steakhouse) on Columbia’s Main Street, where Civil Rights sit-ins occurred. Or the marker designating the site of the former Blossom Street School near the Carolina Coliseum, or the former Florence C. Benson Elementary School at 226 Bull St. in Columbia.

Some places are more well known, such as the Mann-Simons Site, maintained by Historic Columbia, and Historic Brattonsville in McConnells.

Among other sites in the guide around the state:

▪ Bertha Lee Strickland Cultural Museum, Seneca

▪ Southern African-American Heritage Center, Cheraw, Olde English District

▪ Penn Center, St. Helena Island

▪ Redcliffe Plantation, Beech Island

▪ Waverly District, 1400 block of Harden Street in Columbia

▪ Bethel AME on Sumter Street in Columbia

Each entry includes a narrative defining the historic significance of the site, images and directions on how to reach it.

“With the Green Book of South Carolina mobile travel guide, the S.C African-American Heritage Commission is introducing a game changer for cultural tourism to South Carolina,” said S.C. Sen. Vincent Sheheen, who championed the project in the Legislature. “This is one of the first statewide mobile travel guides to African- American heritage and cultural destinations to be produced by a state anywhere in the U.S., and it is positioned to increase even further the $2.4 billion annual economic impact of African-American tourism in our state.”

Members of the S.C. African-American Heritage Commission have volunteered hundreds of pro bono hours on the Green Book of South Carolina project. It has generated excitement within the commission as well as in the public.

“It resonates with people,” said Louis Venters, an associate professor of history at Francis Marion University and a member of the commission.

“This will be something easy to use, something that will bring this rich heritage to life,” Venters added. “You can take it with you anywhere you go.”

No matter where travelers are in South Carolina, the mobile guide can direct them to an historic African-American site.

“It’s not just the places where people are already primed to go,” Venters said. “This guides them to find the hidden gems.”

African-Americans have played a vital part in South Carolina history. “Black history needs to be at the forefront if you want to tell the whole story of who we are,” Venters said. “The diverse experience of black people in South Carolina has to be a part of the discussion.”

The South Carolina African-American Heritage Commission, founded as a council in 1993 as an affiliate of the S.C. Department of Archives and History, is tasked with identifying and promoting the preservation of historic sites, structures, buildings, and culture of the African-American experience in South Carolina.

The commission is made up of about 30 volunteer professionals from the fields of historic preservation and interpretation, education, tourism marketing, business development and the arts.

“The richness of South Carolina is related to the diversity of our citizenship, and it’s incredibly important that we acknowledge the role that the African-American community has played in the development of our state,” said former S.C. Governor Jim Hodges, who established the council as a commission in 2001. “It’s made South Carolina a richer place in terms of our culture, and it’s made it a special place to live. The Green Book of S.C. mobile travel guide will enable visitors and residents to explore the rich history of South Carolina in a convenient way.”

Commission members spent many hours making sure the information in the mobile guide is complete and accurate.

“We want to make sure we send people to the right sites and that the stories we tell are are completely accurate and as compelling as they can be,” Venters said.

Some sites are simply markers, and visitors need to use their imagination to envision the history.

“They can get a sense of place but they can’t see it with their eyes,” Venters said. “So the description we provide needs to be good enough to carry the visitor there to experience it.”

While it’s an invaluable guide for today’s travelers, it’s also preserving history for future tourists.

“The appeal is not just to the generation before us, but for generations after us, to understand the full story of South Carolina,” Dawson-House said.

How to access the Green Book of South Carolina

The mobile guide is free.

Web: www.GreenBookofSC.com

Social media:

▪ Facebook: @GreenBookofSC

▪ Twitter: @GreenBookofSC

▪ Instagram: @GreenBookofSC

▪ Pinterest: @GreenBookofSC

▪ Google+: Green Book of South Carolina

▪ Hashtag: #GreenBookofSC

Sampling of sites in Green Book of South Carolina

There are more than 300 historically significant African-American sites in the Palmetto state that are listed in the new guide. There are nearly 50 sites in Richland and Lexington counties, among them:

Saluda Factory: The Saluda Factory, built in the 1830s, was one of the first textile manufacturing plants in the state. It was operated by slave labor and the main products were brown shirting and a colored cotton fabric used in making clothing for slaves. The factory was burned in February 1865, but was rebuilt of wood after the war. Today all that remains are the granite foundations and the sluices used for diverting river water to power the mill. The ruins are located on the grounds of Riverbanks Zoo, which has erected a Saluda Factory Interpretive Center nearby.

Bethel Baptist Church: Bethel Baptist was founded by black members of Sandy Level Baptist Church in 1884. Slaves attended Sandy Level, but departed when they wanted to organize their own church. The first meeting took place at a brush arbor. In 1892, the members built a frame sanctuary. For a number of years, Bethel School supplied the educational needs of blacks during the years of segregation. A new sanctuary was built in 2003.

A.P. Williams Funeral Home: The A. P. Williams Funeral Home was built between 1893 and 1911 as a single-family residence. In 1936, Bessie Williams Pinckney and her son Archie Preston Williams II converted part of the building to a funeral home with a residence on the second floor where they lived. Archie Preston Williams II was a leader in the city’s black community who ran for election to both the Columbia City Council and the state legislature in the 1950s. He was an officer in the Columbia Chapter of the NAACP for 22 years.

Allen University Historic District: Allen University was founded in 1881 by the African Methodist Church and is named in honor of Richard Allen, the founder of the denomination. The school was established for the education of blacks in South Carolina. The campus is composed of five historic buildings: Arnett Hall, named for Rev. Benjamin W. Arnett, Coppin Hall, the Canteen, Chapelle Administration Building, named for William David Chapelle, a former president, and the Joseph Simon Flipper Library.

Alston House: Built around 1875, this one-story Greek Revival cottage was used as a residence and business in the late 19th century by Carolina Alston, an African-American businesswoman. Alston acquired the property in 1888, but might have leased it earlier. She operated a dry goods business. In the essay “Negro Business Men of Columbia, South Carolina,” included in the Negro in Business edited by W.E.B. DuBois in 1899, Alston was reported as being in business for 22 years and renowned for the quality of her establishment. She served both black and white customers. Alston sold the property in 1906.

Benedict College: Benedict Institute was founded by the American Baptist Home Mission Society in 1870 for the training of black Baptist ministers and teachers. Benedict was named for Rhode Island abolitionist Stephen Benedict and renamed Benedict College in 1894. Dr. J. J. Starks became the first black president in 1929. In 1937, a branch of the NAACP was started on the campus. The campus has several historic buildings including: Morgan Hall (1885), Pratt Hall (1902), Duckett Hall (1925), Antisdel Chapel (1932) and Starks Center (1937).

Bethel AME Church: Bethel AME Church was organized for blacks in Columbia in 1866 just after the Civil War. In 1921, Bethel moved to Sumter Street. It was built in the Romanesque Revival brick style. John Anderson Lankford, who is one of the first registered black architects in the United States, designed the structure. Bethel has played a major role in the black community including serving as a place for civil rights meetings in the 1960s.

Bible Way Church of Atlas Road: The church was founded and organized in 1963 by Elizabeth “Mother” Simmons, Andrew C. Jackson and 11 other adults and their children. The first church was called “the Little Red Church.” In 1966, the first church burned and services had to be held in Atlas Road Elementary School. Jackson became the first pastor and eventually, the bishop. Bible Way was dedicated in 1967. The church has grown to more than 10,000 members.

Big Apple/House of Peace Synagogue: The House of Peace Synagogue was built in 1907-1909 and located 100 yards to the south of its present location. This building was sold in 1936 and moved. Shortly thereafter, it became a popular African-American nightclub known as The Big Apple. A dance by this name originated here and soon swept the country. It is immortalized in the Tommy Dorsey song, “The Big Apple.”

Blossom Street School: Blossom Street School, at the corner of what was then Blossom & Gates (now Park) Streets, was built in 1898 as the first public school in Columbia south of Senate Street. A frame building, it was originally a school for white children. Blossom Street became a school for black children in 1929 and was renamed Celia Dial Saxon School in 1930. Saxon was educated at the Normal School at the University of South Carolina during Reconstruction. She taught in Columbia schools for 57 years. Saxon School closed in 1968 and was demolished in 1974 as a result of USC campus expansion.

Carver Theatre: Carver Theatre is important for its association with Columbia’s African-American community in the early to mid-20th century. Built c. 1941, it is the only theater still standing that was built exclusively for African-Americans in Columbia. During the days of Jim Crow segregation, the theatre provided entertainment to African-Americans, including movies, weekly talent shows, and special shows on Saturday mornings for children.

Early Howard School Site: On this site stood Howard School, a public school for blacks established after the Civil War. By 1869 there was a two-story frame building large enough for 800 pupils. Partially funded by the Freedmen’s Bureau, the school reportedly was named for Oliver O. Howard, first commissioner, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands. For years the only public school for blacks in Columbia, Howard was moved five blocks NW in 1924.

Fair-Rutherford House and Rutherford House: The Fair-Rutherford House stood here from c. 1850 until it was demolished in 2004. Built for Dr. Samuel Fair, it passed through several owners before 1905, when William H. Rutherford (1852-1910) bought and enlarged it. The Rutherford House was built in 1924-25 for Carrie Rutherford, daughter-in-law of W.H. Rutherford. Her son Dr. Harry B. Rutherford, Jr. (1911-1980) and his wife Dr. Evaretta Sims Rutherford (1910-1978) were prominent educators. The house was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.

First Calvary Baptist Church: First Calvary Baptist Church descended from African-American congregants who left First Baptist Church following the Civil War. These founding members, like many African-Americans at the time, sought greater autonomy by breaking from white-controlled churches. The congregation of First Calvary first organized under a brush arbor and later met in the home of Celia Mann, now the Mann-Simons Cottage. The congregation built a permanent home, a frame structure, on Richland St. c. 1870. They remained at that location until building a new stone sanctuary at Pine and Washington Streets in 1950.

Florence Benson Elementary: The Florence C. Benson Elementary School was built in 1953-55 as Wheeler Hill School to serve African-American students of the community and as a replacement for the overcrowded Celia Dial Saxon Negro Elementary School. An equalization school, it is both an example of the government’s efforts to maintain “separate but equal” school systems for blacks and whites and one of the last remnants of a segregated black residential area. The school served 270 students in the first through sixth grades. In 1958 it was re-named in honor of Florence Corinne Benson, a former teacher at the school.

Good Samaritan-Waverly Hospital: Good Samaritan-Waverly Hospital, created in 1938 by the merger of two older hospitals, served the black community of Columbia for 35 years. It merged Good Samaritan Hospital, founded in 1910 by Dr. William S. Rhodes and his wife Lillian, and Waverly Hospital, founded in 1924 by Dr. Norman A. Jenkins and his four brothers. The hospitals competed for the same doctors, nurses, and patients for several years. By the mid-1930s the Duke Endowment and the Rosenwald Fund recommended a merger of the two hospitals to improve the quality of health care.

Harden Street Substation: The Harden Street Substation was built in 1953 to employ the Columbia Fire Department’s first African-American firemen and to serve the predominately African-American Waverly community. Designed by Heyward Singley, a prominent local architect, the new substation was a state-of-the-art facility at the time, and a concrete step toward the integration of the Columbia Fire Department. The department integrated after the NAACP threatened to sue on behalf of WWII veteran Clarence Mitchell who was denied employment because state law prohibited blacks and whites from working together in public buildings.

Harriet M. Cornwell Tourist House: The Harriet M. Cornwell Tourist House in Columbia was listed in the National Register as part of the Multiple Property Submission “Segregation in Columbia.” From c. 1940 to c. 1960 during the era of segregation, the Harriet M. Cornwell Tourist Home served as a place where African-Americans could find lodging and one meal a day. While no sign advertised the house as a tourist home for blacks, the house and its address were advertised nationally in publications titled, The Negro Travelers’ Green Book and the International Travelers’ Green Book.

Heidt-Russell House: This house was built about 1879 by William J. Heidt, builder and contractor who managed Heidlinger’s Steam Bakery. The Heidts lived here until 1912. Mary E. Russell bought the house in 1919. Edwin Roberts Russell (1913-1996) spent his early years here. A research scientist, he was one of the few blacks directly involved in the Manhattan Project to develop the atomic bomb. Educated at Benedict College and Howard University, in 1942-45 Russell helped separate plutonium from uranium at the University of Chicago. He returned to Columbia to teach at Allen University.

I. DeQuincey Newman House: Isaiah DeQuincey Newman, Methodist minister, civil rights leader, and state senator, lived here from 1960 until his death in 1985. Born in Darlington County, he attended Claflin College and was a graduate of Clark College and Gammon Theological Seminary. Newman was a major figure in the Civil Rights Movement in S.C. In 1943 he helped found the Orangeburg branch of the NAACP. As state field director of the S.C. NAACP, he advised governors and Congressmen on improving housing and medical care in S.C. In 1983 Newman became the first black member of the S.C. Senate since 1888.

James M. Hinton House: This is the site of the home of James Miles Hinton, businessman, civil rights pioneer and minister. Hinton moved to Columbia in 1939 and was elected president of the Columbia branch of the NAACP. He was president of the state conference from 1941 through 1958, as it grew from 13 chapters to 80. Hinton helped overthrow the all-white Democratic primary in S.C. and helped plan strategy for Briggs v. Elliott. He was often threatened, was kidnapped from Augusta in 1949, and had shots fired at his house in 1956. Hinton was later pastor of Second Calvary Baptist Church in Columbia.

Kress Building: This building, constructed around 1935, housed a Kress “five and dime” store with a lunch counter that served whites only. It was one of eight places in Columbia that saw student protests and sit-ins during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.

Ladson Presbyterian: In 1838 First Presbyterian Church of Columbia organized their African-American members into a separate but affiliated congregation. In 1874 the Ladson members severed ties with First Presbyterian Church and joined the northern Presbyterian denomination. In 1876 the first African-American minister of Ladson, Rev. Mack G. Johnson, D.D., was hired. Johnson, a former slave, was educated at Howard University and served Ladson until his death in 1921. After a fire destroyed the Ladson Memorial Chapel on October 31, 1895, the congregation began raising funds to build the building that stands today.

Mann-Simons Site: Although only one house stands today, the Mann-Simons Site was a collection of commercial and domestic spaces owned and operated by the same African-American family from at least 1843 until 1970. The cottage was the home of Celia Mann and her husband Ben Delane, among the few free blacks living in Columbia in the two decades before the Civil War. Three Baptist churches in Columbia (First Calvary, Second Calvary, and Zion) held services in the basement of the house until their sanctuaries were built. Mann’s daughter Agnes lived here and descendants of her second husband, Bill Simons, owned the house until 1960.

Matilda A. Evans House: Dr. Matilda A. Evans, a black physician, public health and civil rights advocate, lived here from 1928 to 1935. A graduate of the Schofield School in Aiken and Oberlin College, Evans received her M.D. from the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1897. She moved to Columbia and founded the first black hospital in the city in 1901, in a house at Taylor Street and Two Notch Road. Taylor Lane Hospital & Training School for Nurses burned in 1914. Evans soon opened St. Luke’s Hospital & Training School for Nurses, which closed in 1918.

Matthew J. Perry Courthouse: Matthew J. Perry, Jr., lawyer, civil rights pioneer, and jurist, lived in a house on this site as a youth, the house was torn down in 1997. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II, then graduated from S.C. State College in 1948. After graduating in the first class of S.C. State’s Law School in 1951, Perry practiced law in Spartanburg, specializing in civil rights cases. Perry returned to Columbia in 1961 as chief counsel of the NAACP. For 15 years he tried numerous civil rights cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1979 he became the first black U.S. district court judge in S.C.

Modjeska Simkins House: For 60 years, this house was the home of Modjeska Monteith Simkins, social reformer and civil rights activist. She was educated at Benedict College, then taught high school. As Director of Negro Work for the S.C. Anti-tuberculosis Association, Simkins was the first black in SC to hold a full-time, statewide, public health position. She was a founder of the S.C. Conference of the NAACP. As the secretary of the conference, Simkins hosted many meetings and planning sessions here, for cases such as Brown v. Board of Education. In 1997 the house was acquired by the Collaborative for Community Trust, it was transferred to the Historic Columbia Foundation in 2007.

Nathaniel J. Frederick House: Nathaniel J. Frederick, educator, lawyer, newspaper editor and civil rights activist, lived here from 1904 until his death in 1938. This house was built in 1903 by Cap J. Carroll, a prominent businessman and city official whose daughter Corrine married Frederick in 1904. Frederick, who was educated at Claflin College and the University of Wisconsin, was admitted to the S.C. bar in 1913. He argued more cases before the Supreme Court of S.C. than any black lawyer of his day. Frederick was principal of the Howard School 1902-18 and president of the State Negro Teachers Association. He edited the Palmetto Leader, the major black newspaper in S.C., 1925-38.

North Carolina Mutual Building: The North Carolina Mutual Building was built in 1909 by the N.C. Mutual and Provident Association, a black-owned life insurance company with an office here until the mid-1930s. Built as a two-story commercial building, with a third story added after 1927, it was part of the Washington Street business district, an important part of Columbia’s African-American community. This building had stores on the first floor and professional offices on the upper floors. The Palmetto Grand Lodge owned the building from 1927 to the early 1940s. The N.C. Mutual Building was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1995.

Pine Grove Rosenwald School: Built in 1923, the Pine Grove School is a wood-frame, one-story rectangular gable-front building with a V-crimp tin metal roof. The layout of the Pine Grove Rosenwald School is a variant of the typical Rosenwald two-room schoolhouse. The common characteristics of this school plan included the orientation of the building, light colored paint schemes, and large banks of tall narrow windows. These particular elements were aimed at providing proper ventilation and optimal natural lighting inside the school, features that many early-20th century African-American schoolhouses lacked.

Randolph Cemetery: Randolph Cemetery was established by a group of African-American civic leaders in 1872 and expanded in 1899. They named the cemetery for Benjamin Franklin Randolph, an African-American who was assassinated by white men while campaigning for the Republican party in Abbeville County in 1868. It is not clear whether Randolph was buried on the property since the cemetery was established after his death, but a monument to his memory is located at the entrance. The cemetery also includes the graves of eight other African-American members of the SC General Assembly and numerous other leaders of Columbia’s African-American community in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Richard Samuel Roberts House: Richard Samuel Roberts, a photographer who documented Columbia’s black community, lived here from 1920 until his death. Roberts, a self-taught photographer, moved his family from Florida to Columbia and bought this house for $3,000. He was a full-time custodian at the main Columbia post office and used an outbuilding on his property for his photography studio. From 1922 to 1936 his studio was downtown at 1119 Washington Street. Roberts often advertised in the Palmetto Leader, the leading black newspaper in S.C. Some of Roberts’ best photographs were published in 1986 in “A True Likeness: The Black South of Richard Samuel Roberts.”

Robert Weston Mance House: The Robert Weston Mance House, built in 1903, stood at the corner of Pine and Hampton Streets before it was moved to Heidt Street in 2008. A two-story American Foursquare frame house, it was built for grocers Thomas J. and Ida Roberts, whose store was next door. Rev. Robert W. Mance acquired the house in 1922 and lived here while he was president of Allen University. After his death, Dr. Robert W. Mance, Jr. lived here until 1957, and was a superintendent of Waverly Hospital and a civil rights activist. A new dormitory project here resulted in the relocation of the house.

Sidney Park CME Church: Sidney Park CME Church was founded in 1886 and has been at this site since 1889. It grew out of a dispute among members of Bethel AME Church, who left that congregation and applied to join the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church. The congregation acquired this site in 1886 and built its first sanctuary, a frame building, in 1889. That church burned by 1892. This Gothic Revival brick church, built in 1893, was constructed by members who provided materials and labor. In the 1930s many members joined the NAACP and the church later hosted many meetings during the Civil Rights Movement.

South Carolina State House African-American Monument: This monument illustrates the story of African-Americans in South Carolina from their arrival during the slave trade to the modern age. Among the 12 scenes carved into the monument are images of a family on the auction block, men and women celebrating the Emancipation Proclamation, and African-American pioneers in science, arts, law, education, sports and politics. At the base are four rubbing stones from regions of Africa where slaves were captured - Senegal, Sierra Leone, the Republic of Congo and Ghana.

The Lighthouse & Informer: The Lighthouse & Informer, long the leading black newspaper in S.C., was a weekly published here from 1941 to 1954 by journalist and civil rights advocate John Henry McCray. McCray published articles covering every aspect of black life and columns and editorials advocating equal rights. In 1944, after the S.C. General Assembly repealed laws regulating primaries and the S.C. Democratic Party excluded blacks from voting in them, John H. McCray helped found the Progressive Democratic Party, the first black Democratic party in the South.

Victory Savings Bank: Victory Savings Bank, founded in 1921, was the first, and for many years the only, black-owned bank in S.C. It occupied a bank building at 1107 Washington St. in the heart of Columbia’s black business district from 1955 to 1985. It was moved to Sumter Street, where it became S.C. Community Bank in 1999. Dr. Henry D. Monteith, who became president in 1948, led the bank for many years. His sister Modjeska Monteith Simkins, notable civil rights leader, held several positions here. This bank offered loans to blacks after widespread economic reprisals, many related to the Clarendon County school desegregation case Briggs v. Elliott.

Visanka-Starks House: This house, built after 1900, was originally a two-story frame residence with a projecting bay and wraparound porch. A fire in 1989 destroyed the second story. Barrett Visanska (1849-1932), a jeweler, bought the house in 1913. In 1938 Dr. John J. Starks, the first black president of Benedict College, bought the house and lived here from 1938 until his death. Starks was president of Seneca Institute 1899-1912, Morris College 1912-1930, and Benedict College 1930-1944. After World War II this house served as the nurses’ home for Good Samaritan-Waverly Hospital, created by merger in 1939. It was later a private residence again.

Waverly: Waverly has been one of Columbia’s most significant black communities since the 1930s. The city’s first residential suburb, it grew out of a 60-acre parcel bought by Robert Latta in 1855. Latta’s widow and children sold the first lots here in 1863. Shortly after the Civil War, banker and textile manufacturer Lysander D. Childs bought several blocks here for development. Waverly grew for the next 50 years. The City of Columbia annexed Waverly in 1913. Two black colleges, Benedict College and Allen University, drew many African-Americans to this area as whites moved away. By the 1930s this community was almost entirely black. The Waverly Historic District, bounded by Gervais, Harden, and Taylor Streets and Millwood Avenue, was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1989.

Wesley Methodist Church: Wesley Methodist Church is the oldest African-American Methodist congregation in Columbia. It was founded in 1869 by Rev. J.C. Emerson and was a separate black congregation instead of forming from an established white church. First called the Columbia Mission, it met upstairs in a Main St. building and later built its own chapel. About 1910 the Columbia Mission bought this lot and was renamed Wesley Methodist Episcopal Church. This Gothic Revival church, built in 1910-11, was designed by noted Columbia architect Arthur W. Hamby. Its high-style Late Gothic design is relatively unusual for an African-American church of its period.

Zion Baptist Church: Zion Baptist Church first organized in 1865 and met in a humble dwelling on Gadsden St. The congregation moved to this site in 1871. The current sanctuary, the second on this spot, was built in 1916. In 1930 Dr. Matilda Evans, the first African-American woman to have a practice in the state, started a free clinic in the basement of the church. On March 2, 1961 more than 200 African-American students met at Zion Baptist before their march to the State House to protest racial segregation. The U.S. Supreme Court later overturned the convictions of those students arrested during the march.

Zion Chapel Baptist Church No. 1: This African-American church was organized c. 1865 when four men left Sandy Level Baptist Church, founded before the Revolution with both white and black members, to form their own congregation. They elected Rev. Joe Taylor as their first pastor and held early services in a brush arbor nearby. The first permanent church here, a log building, was replaced by a frame church 1907-1922 during the pastorate of Rev. T.H. McNeal. It was covered in brick veneer in 1941, then extensively renovated 1964-1978, during the pastorate of Rev. A.J. Grove, Sr. The historic church cemetery dates to the 1880s.

Magnolia (also called Wavering Place Plantation) Slave House: This slave house is believed to have been built about the same time as the main house at Magnolia, an imposing Greek Revival mansion constructed c. 1855 for Frances Tucker Hopkins. She was the wealthy widow of David Thomas Hopkins, a prominent Richland County planter. Located about 150 feet from the mansion, the slave house was the home of house servants. It was later used as a tenant house. The hipped roof wood frame house has a central chimney and shutters covering the windows.

Siloam School: Built c. 1936 with Works Progress Administration funds, Siloam School served rural African-American students until it closed in 1956. The current building replaced an earlier school building constructed in the 1920s.

St. Thomas Protestant Episcopal Church: This church was constructed in 1893. It is a simple wood frame building displaying elements of the Gothic Revival style. In the 1870s Bishop William Bell White Howe established missions for African-Americans in the Columbia and Charleston areas. He appointed Rev. Thomas Boston Clarkson to minister to residents of Lower Richland County. Rev. Clarkson oversaw the construction of a chapel near Eastover on the site of the present church. The chapel was built with funds donated by Rev. James Saul of Philadelphia and named in his honor. Rev. Clarkson served as minister of Saul Chapel until his death in 1889.

St. Phillip AME. Church: This congregation, organized by 1835, met first in a brush arbor 1.5 mi. N., then constructed a sanctuary on this site shortly thereafter. Its first pastor was Rev. Anderson Burns and its original trustees were Joseph and Robert Collins, Barnes Flowers, Saylor Pope, Harkness Smith, and Red Stroy. A later sanctuary built in 1952 burned in 1981, the present sanctuary was dedicated that year.

Harriet Barber House: In 1872 Samuel Barber and his wife Harriet, both former slaves, bought 42.5 acres here from the S.C. Land Commission. Barber, a well-digger as a slave, was a farmer and minister after the Civil War. The Barber family has owned a major portion of this tract since Samuel and Harriet Barber purchased it in 1872. This one-story frame house was built c. 1880. The Barbers’ son, Rev. John B. Barber, inherited the property in 1899. He was a schoolteacher and pastor of St. Mark and New Light Beulah Baptist churches.

St. Paul AME Church / Oak Grove AME: One of the first black churches after the Civil War, St. Paul AME began as Oak Grove African Methodist Episcopal Church. Local tradition says that the original small congregation worshipped in the 1850s in the “Bush Arbor,” later in the 1880s building a church on present Kennerly Rd. In the 1930s this was moved to its present site 3/10 mi. north. By 1870 a substantial black settlement had developed in this area of the Dutch Fork Township known as Oak Grove. Prominent in its history have been the families of Octavius Bookman, Miles Bowman, Henry Corley, Moses Geiger, and John Richardson.

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