In March of 2001, the dedication of an African American History Monument took place on the grounds of the South Carolina State House. The Monument is the first such structure of its kind to be built on the grounds of a state capitol. After an extensive search by a commission selected by the state legislature, sculptor Ed Dwight of Denver, Colorado was selected to create the structure.
In the beginning, Ed Dwight intended to represent specific people in South Carolina's history in his designs, such as Denmark Vesey, who was a former slave who bought his own freedom after winning a lottery. Vesey was also the leader of a failed slave revolt in 1822, he was executed after his capture.
Ultimately, Dwight was asked to simply design panels that would symbolize various periods in history, rather than specific persons, thus visitors will find no words of explanation or captions under each of the twelve panels.
The Monument was completed at a cost of over $1.1 million, all privately raised. School children from around the state were among the contributors. Made of granite and bronze, it stands two stories high and is 25 feet wide. The African American History Monument represents four hundred years of African American history.