Edwin Augustus Harleston. In a life that spanned less than fifty years, he was a businessman and a civil rights leader, but in his heart, he was always an artist, a fine portrait painter.
Harleston's work with the NAACP may have been one of his greatest accomplishments. In the early 1900s no statewide organizations existed to fight racism in South Carolina.
The first two NAACP chapters in South Carolina, Charleston and Columbia, were organized in 1917. Harleston was actively involved in establishing the Charleston chapter and became its first president.
Harleston's father and an uncle established Harleston-Boags Funeral Home, the oldest black-owned business in Charleston.