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Find the Content You Need on African American History—All in One Place—Knowitall!

African American History Collection on - screen shot

Knowitall Collections make it easy to find what you need! You may even find things you didn't know you needed! 

Check out our African American History and Martin Luther King Collections! New this month on Let’s Go! are a tour of the SC Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum and the Mann-Simons Site. Visit and explore!

Try out our VRs! Let’s Go! Please be sure to view our complete instructions for using the Matterport App, so that this technology can be used in your classroom to improve student engagement! There are VRs featuring a number of historic sites in South Carolina—now available on Let’s Go! Sites include: H.L. Hunley Museum, Historic Brattonsville, the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon, the Powder Magazine, the South Carolina State House, the USS Yorktown at Patriot’s Point and the Woodrow Wilson Family Home! The tour of the Mann-Simons Site will be coming soon!

Recently-added videos from ETV’s long-running Profile series include: Blue Sky, Artist, Bobby Richardson, Cong. William Jennings Bryan Dorn Of Greenwood, Dizzy Gillespie, Ernest "Fritz" Hollings, Frank Howard Of Clemson, Governor James Edwards, Joanne Woodward, Matthew Perry, and Sen. Marion Gressette of Calhoun County. From The Big Picture, we highlight the career of Congressman Jim Clyburn.

Also this month, we feature the Wilkins Legislative and Civic Awards from the Riley Institute at Furman University. Recognizing excellence in legislative and civic leadership, two individuals, Charlotte Berry and Sen. John W. Matthews, Jr. (D-Orangeburg) are profiled.

Explore these timely Collections now!



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.

You’ll be amazed at the variety of resources found in the Collection! Take a look!

Resources Include:

The story of Richard Samuel Roberts, a little-known African American photographer from South Carolina whose posthumous discovery transcended stereotypes and brought to light a significant legacy. Heralded as one of the south’s most accomplished photographers of the 1920's and 1930's, Roberts was a self-taught artist who was determined to become a master portrait maker, with every image a true likeness of the subject. But for more than 40 years after his death his work remained lost to all but his family and friends.

This collection honors our history and the African Americans who made strides in the advancement of African Americans.


Benjamin Mays, from Epworth, South Carolina, saw the racism and forced segregation of life around him and decided to challenge it with education and religion. Against the advice of his father, Mays pursued a formal education and rose to the top of his class, becoming Dean of Religion at Howard University, and later earned a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Chicago. He would become president of Morehouse College in 1940, and his influence on civil rights and education for the next three decades would reach far and wide. 


Student journalists interviewed Cecil Williams, Justice Ernest Finney, Frank Washington, Cong. James Clyburn, Oveta Glover, Titus Duren and Victoria Eslinger about Civil Rights in S.C.


South Carolinians who fought for equality during the Civil Rights Movement.


James E. Clyburn: a civil rights leader from South Carolina, who rose to become one of the most powerful men in Congress. History was made in January, 2007, when Jim Clyburn became House Majority Whip, the first South Carolinian to reach such a high position in Congress. His passion for politics drove him through defeats and victories, to reach the third most powerful political position in the U.S.


This episode of Profile spotlights famous jazz musician John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie; Cheraw, South Carolina’s claim to fame. Jazz immortal Dizzy Gillespie filled many musical roles, as trumpeter, bandleader, composer, and singer. Gillespie is also known for being at the forefront of the new music genre known as “bebop.” The impacts he left on both Cheraw, and his contributions to the music world still strongly resonate today. 


Much of America's blues and jazz influences are deeply rooted in the rhythms and melodies of the rural South. One artist who has greatly contributed to these genres' continued popularity is South Carolina's own John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie. Together with Charlie Parker, he was a major figure in the development of bebop and modern jazz. 


In 1960, a talented African-American student from Charleston, Harvey Gantt, graduated from high school and decided to become an architect. Clemson College was the only school in South Carolina that offered a degree in his chosen field. In January of 1963, with the help of NAACP lawyer Matthew J. Perry, Gantt won a lawsuit against Clemson and was peacefully admitted to the college, making him the first African-American student to attend a formerly all-white school in South Carolina. 


This special explores the connections between the Gullah of the South Carolina/Georgia Sea Islands and the people of West Africa, particularly those of Sierra Leone.


Introduces Gullah culture, language and music to children. The website has three sections: Gullah CultureGullah Music and Gullah Tales, told in Gullah and English.


This program explores the works of two outstanding artists who are sons of the South Carolina Lowcountry. Twiggs and Green share an indelible bond, reflected in their works.


Documentary that pays tribute to the “Friendship Nine,” a group of college students who were arrested for a lunch counter sit-in in Rock Hill, SC in 1961. Instead of paying bail (as was the norm with all previous sit-ins), they served 30 days of hard labor, making the city pay to house, feed & clothe them, thus turning the tables & drying up a dubious revenue stream. This movement caught on nationally, changing the entire sit-in strategy. The program was the centerpiece of 50th anniversary events, and still has legs today. It included extensive television, educational and community outreach initiatives.


One woman’s struggle to gain equality for herself and her students. Mary McLeod Bethune grew up in rural South Carolina and became a teacher. She started with nothing and ended up being an advisor to a president! 


Matthew Perry is known as one of the leading figures in the fight for equal rights for African Americans in South Carolina. At the time this episode aired, Perry had been appointed judge to the U.S. Court of Military Appeals, in Washington, D.C. Judge Perry discusses on his career, involvement with the Civil Rights Movement in S.C., and his appointment to the U.S. Court of Military Appeals. 


Modjeska Simkins came from relative wealth and married into wealth, but dedicated her life to helping the disadvantaged to be treated equally in South Carolina. 


This program tells the story of the Penn Center’s inception in 1862 as a school for freed slaves to its involvement in the Gullah community today. Today the center collects, documents, preserves, and disseminates information related to cultural heritage of the Sea Island and Lowcountry African-American culture.


Take a historical journey from the founding of Columbia, South Carolina, through the Civil War, the Depression, World War II, civil rights, up to the present. Reflections of Columbia, Part 7 – The 50s and 60s looks back on Columbia’s civil rights history.


Designed to help teachers and students to learn about our history, people and events, and the importance of the civil rights movement in South Carolina from the 1940s to the early 1970s. 


Documentary about the struggle to save an exceptional South Carolina island and its Gullah community from development. The program tells the story of the unique coalition of conservationists, state agencies, businessmen and community residents that came together to save this extraordinary place and preserve a historic culture. 


Chronology of stories from Palmetto Scene beginning June 18, 2015, culminating in the removal of the Confederate Flag from the grounds of the S.C. State House on Friday, July 10, 2015.


A 12-month calendar that profiles individuals from across the state who have had a positive, compelling impact on South Carolina and, often, across the country.

The February Calendar honors David "Dave the Potter" Drake:

  • View the interstitial here
  • View the blog on the February honoree, David "Dave the Potter," here.
  • View the video on Knowitall here.
  • Download the SC African American History calendar here

Sen. John W. Matthews, Jr. (D-Orangeburg) is the recipient of the 2018 David H. Wilkins Award for Excellence in Legislative Leadership. The award is presented by The Riley Institute at Furman University. “I’m always better off if my neighbor is better off. I’m better off living in communities that are better off. So as a political philosophy we have to create communities that are better off,” says Matthews. The longest serving African American S.C. state legislator, Senator Matthews is known for his willingness to work with others across the aisle to support progress in education, healthcare and economic development. He is held in the highest regard by his fellow members of the General Assembly. Currently, he serves on seven Senate committees: Agriculture and Natural Resources; Banking and Insurance; Corrections and Penology; Education; Ethics; Finance; and Interstate Cooperation.


In 1941, an all African American flying squadron was established in Tuskegee, Alabama to train African Americans to fly and maintain combat aircraft. The Tuskegee Airmen paved the way for full integration of African Americans into the U.S. military.

Topics Available in the Collection Include:




This Collection honors the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and relays much of the history of the Civil Rights era. The Collection includes: 

This collection honors our history and the African Americans who made strides in the advancement of African Americans.


This program tells the story of the Penn Center’s inception in 1862 as a school for freed slaves to its involvement in the Gullah community today. Today the center collects, documents, preserves, and disseminates information related to cultural heritage of the Sea Island and Lowcountry African American culture.


Road Trip! Through South Carolina Civil Rights History was designed to help teachers and students to learn about the people and the events, and the importance of the civil rights movement in South Carolina from the 1940s to the early 1970s. 


Resources from the Martin Luther King Collection Include:

View the Collection – just one click away!



  • Be sure to check out our Factoids throughout the month. You may be surprised at what you’ll find on Knowitall!

Dates and Topics in February include: 

      1- Carter G. Woodson – First Negro History Week Observed

           Space Shuttle Columbia Flight Ended Tragically

      2- National Job Shadow Day

           The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo

      3- 15th Amendment Passed on Feb. 3, 1870

      8- Orangeburg Massacre on Feb. 8, 1968

          General William Tecumseh Sherman Born Feb. 8, 1820

      9-  World War II in the Pacific: Guadalcanal (1943)

      11- Thomas Edison Born Feb. 11, 1847

       National Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk Day (see related resources)

12-  Abraham Lincoln Born Feb. 12, 1809

       NAACP Founded Feb. 12, 1909

       Friendship Nine Held First Sit-In on Feb. 12, 1961

14-  Frederick Douglass Born Feb. 14, 1818

15-  Susan B. Anthony Born Feb. 15, 1820

       Sinking of Battleship Maine on Feb. 15, 1989

        Dancer Bill T. Jones Born Feb. 15, 1952

      17-  Burning of Columbia

        H.L. Hunley Made Its Last Fateful Run

      19-  Sculptor Constantin Brancusi Born Feb. 19, 1876

               Battle of Iwo Jima Began on Feb. 19, 1945

       20-  Astronaut John Glenn Was First American to Orbit the Earth on Feb. 20, 1962

       21-  Malcolm X Assassinated on Feb. 21, 1965

       22-  George Washington Born Feb. 22, 1732

       23-  W.E.B. Dubois Born Feb. 23, 1868

       26-  Tell a Fairy Tale Day  - Listen to Gullah Stories in English and Gullah

       28-  Scene from The Trojan Women Shot in ETV Studios (2004)

Check them out here



At any time during the month, you can find out about new content available on Knowitall! Make it a habit to check here frequently!

Recent additions include:



Let's Go!

The Mann-Simons Site, home to the same entrepreneurial African American family for nearly 130 years, traces the journey of Columbia’s African American community from enslavement through urban renewal. 




Let's Go!

The South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum's mission is to collect and preserve the military history of this state. When visitors enter Columbia's oldest museum, they will uncover the state's                 military history from the Revolutionary War to the present War on Terror. View the VRs on the Matterport App. Complete instructions are available here.







The Big Picture


If you have questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you!