Columbia Cultural Sites
African American History Monument
DESCRIPTION: Dedicated in 2001, the monument is the first of its kind on any of the nation’s statehouse grounds. It was designed to recapture the rich history of African Americans and their contributions to South Carolina. Sculptor Ed Dwight modeled the monument after an African village built in the round; the center obelisk represents spirituality and is reminiscent of the pyramids in Egypt. Its base is a nine-foot bronzed ship icon with 336 enslaved African s chained together in the bowels of the vessel. A map of the African continent is mounted in granite and at the base of the map, visitors are encouraged to touch the four rubbing stones from Senegal, Sierra Leone, Ghana, and The Congo, where most African slaves were first sold.
ADDRESS: South Carolina State House facing Sumter Street, Columbia, SC MAP
Ponder Fine Arts Gallery
DESCRIPTION: Collection of African American art from the early 20th century to the present. Gallery director Tyrone Geter also features some of his artwork.
DAYS & HOURS: Mon–Fri 10a–4p
ADDRESS: 1600 Harden Street, Room 203 at Benedict College, Columbia, SC MAP
Matthew J. Perry, Jr. U.S. Courthouse
DESCRIPTION: Named after the attorney who led the struggle for desegregation in South Carolina. He served as a primary legal advocate in the national civil rights movement and became South Carolina’s first African American U.S. District Court judge. The intricate iron gates in front were crafted by the great ironmaster, Philip Simmons of Charleston.
ADDRESS: 901 Richland Street, Columbia, SC MAP
Auntie Karen Foundation
DESCRIPTION: Karen Alexander formed this non-profit organization to empower, enlighten, and educate through the arts. Her programs are presented to schools, churches, and community organizations to help tell South Carolina’s African American history.
ADDRESS: 3419 Hazelhurst Road, Columbia, SC MAP
Bill Pinkney Park
DESCRIPTION: Birth site of the legendary R&B singer of the original Drifters who rose to prominence in the 1950s. A marble monument, complete with a bust of the entertainer by artist Axel Reis, and a community building are on site.
ADDRESS: Camden Highway site in Sumter County, Dalzell, SC MAP