African American History

Learn about the achievements of African Americans who have shaped South Carolina and American history.

Black History Month is celebrated every February to honor the achievements of African Americans who have shaped American history. Historian Carter G. Woodson hoped to raise awareness of African American's contributions to civilization by establishing Negro History Week. The event was first celebrated during a week in February 1926 that included both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass' birthdays. The week was later expanded to a month in 1976 during the United States bicentennial.

PHOTO: On March 20, 1969, Black hospital workers at the Medical College of South Carolina in Charleston went on strike to protest the firing of twelve employees and to call for higher wages and union recognition.

Within this Collection

Cecil Williams | Carolina Snaps


Cecil Williams, a prolific photographer, captured the essence of the South Carolina Civil Rights movement. Starting at age 9, his talent led to early bookings for events. As a Jet magazine...
Fish and Grits | Carolina Snaps


The combination of seafood like fish or shrimp with grits has its origins in Charleston, South Carolina. Grits, an ancient staple, predate European conquest, African enslavement, and the founding of...
Rice in South Carolina | Carolina Snaps


In 1685, John Thurber, a pirate, inadvertently introduced rice to America. After a storm damaged his ship, he stopped in Charleston, SC, where he met Dr. Henry Woodward. In exchange for assistance...
Hoppin' John | Carolina Snaps


Discover the history of Hoppin' John, a beloved dish that's graced holiday tables since the 1800s. This simple yet delicious combo of peas, pork, and rice is believed to bring luck and peace for the...
Making a mark on History
Making a mark on History


Students will determine the importance of historical markers as well as how they help to preserve our history.

Absolum Williams


Did you know that a Black sailor once served on the ill-fated Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley? Shortly after the Hunley's arrival in Charleston, South Carolina, Lieutenant John Payne of the...