Civil Rights in Columbia

First black woman to be a doctor in SC honored with marker at historic Columbia home

Columbia church now home to historical marker

The unveiling of a historical marker at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia on Sunday wasn’t just the commemoration of an historic building; it was an act of friendship between two different houses of worship that have called it ho
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The unveiling of a historical marker at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia on Sunday wasn’t just the commemoration of an historic building; it was an act of friendship between two different houses of worship that have called it ho

South Carolina is honoring the first African-American woman doctor in the state with a new historical marker outside her historical Columbia home.

The historical marker was dedicated during a ceremony Friday, said Brad Sauls of the S.C. Department of Archives and History.

Matilda Arabelle Evans, who lived from 1872 to 1935, was more than just the state’s first black doctor. She opened the city’s first African-American hospital, opened two nurse training centers in the early 1910s and volunteered for the Medical Service Corps in World War I, according to the marker and the S.C. African American History Calendar.

“This is very worthy of recognition, on a local and state level,” said Nancy Stone-Collum of the Richland County Conservation Commission, which paid for the marker. “She was quite a doer... as a woman and as an African-American in that day and age that is quite a feat.”

Evans’ historical home, located at 2027 Taylor St., was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in January. The 2 1/2 story home was built in 1915, roughly a block from Benedict College, a historically black college that was founded by Bathsheba Benedict in 1870.

The effort to note Evans’ home started with Kathryn Silva, a history professor at Claflin University. About a year ago, Patrice Green, a masters student at the University of South Carolina, registered Evans’ home with the National Register of Historic Places as part of a class project at USC, Green said.

“I think getting it on the historic registry helped it get the state marker,” Green said.

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