A Travel Guide to S.C. African American Cultural Sites


Fact Sheet: S.C. African American Heritage Commission


The South Carolina African American Heritage Commission (SCAAHC) works to increase the social, political and economic value of South Carolina African American heritage; encourage and demonstrate respect for all heritages; document and institutionalize African American heritage as an ongoing goal of preservation, and explore all areas of South Carolina for African American contributions.


Founded: May 14, 1993 by Governor Carroll Campbell as S.C. African American Heritage Council
Established: November 14, 2001 by Governor Jim Hodges as S.C. African American Heritage Commission
Located: In the South Carolina Department of Archives & History (SCDAH) in Columbia, South Carolina
Website: www.scaaheritagefound.org
Selected Commission Members’ Affiliations: S.C. Arts Commission; University of South Carolina; South Carolina State University; Clemson University; South Carolina Governor’s Office; South Carolina Dept. of Parks, Recreation and Tourism; faith-based representative; National Parks Service; Penn Center; private museum owners (Chesterfield, Seneca); etc.


Mission Statement: The mission of the South Carolina African American Heritage Commission is to identify and promote the preservation of historic sites, structures, buildings, and culture of the African American experience in South Carolina, and to assist and enhance the efforts of the South Carolina Department of Archives and History.

  • The roughly 30-member commission includes representatives from all regions of the state.
  • The Commission’s efforts, supported by the nonprofit S.C. African American Heritage Foundation, include preserving South Carolina African American culture through education, the arts, historic preservation and tourism.


  • The SCAAHC offers an array of services, including the following:
    • Providing advice and technical information to those who want to preserve African American historic places
    • Supporting the listing of African American historic sites in the National Register of Historic Places
    • Supporting the placement of South Carolina Historical Markers at sites of significance
    • Integrating African American heritage into classroom instruction by offering curriculum-based lesson plans to math, science, English, history and art teachers
    • Collaborating with other organizations to encourage the preservation of South Carolina’s African American history and culture.
  • The SCAAHC provides programs and services to help identify, document and care for historic buildings and sites in cooperation with the South Carolina Historic Preservation Office.
  • The SCAAHC assists in published works that work to educate the citizens of South Carolina including:
    • “African American Historic Places in South Carolina”
    • “Teacher’s Guide to African American Historic Places in South Carolina”
    • Arts Integrated Supplement.
  • The SCAAHC also provides the following additional services:
    • Assists in genealogical research
    • Offers an online newsletter titled “Call & Response”
    • Maintains an online marketplace for merchandise that celebrates South Carolina African American heritage
    • Hosts year-round events including the Annual Preserving Our Places in History Awards to honor the achievements of individuals and organizations that work to preserve the legacy of South Carolina’s African Americans.


The movement toward recognizing the importance of preserving the cultural richness of African Americans’ history in the State of South Carolina led to the passage of a joint resolution of the General Assembly, signed by Governor Carroll Campbell in 1993, establishing the South Carolina African American Heritage Council. The council then was established as a commission in 2001 by executive order of Governor Jim Hodges. The commission is supported by the efforts of the nonprofit S.C. African American Heritage Foundation.

South Carolina African American Heritage Commission Members 

Mrs. Pontheolla Mack Abernathy, Owner, Clevedale Inn
Mr. Michael A. Allen, Community Specialist, National Park Service
Dr. Abel Bartley, Chairperson, Clemson University History Professor
Mrs. Felicia Flemming-McCall, Museum Owner/Funeral Home Director
Ms. Jannie Harriot, Vice Chairperson, Retired Non-Profit Executive
Ms. Shelby Henderson, Museum Director
Mr. Terry James, Treasurer, Community Representative
Mr. Joseph James, Non-Profit Executive
Ms. Nannie Jefferies, Pastor/Non-Profit Executive
Dr. Barbara Williams Jenkins, Retired University Librarian
Ms. Cassandra Williams Rush, Museum Owner/Director
Ms. Strauss Moore Shiple, Regional Tourist Representative, Olde English District
Ms. Victoria Smalls, Cultural Director, Historic Center
Mr. Dontavious Williams, Educator
Mr. Bernie L. Wright, Retired USDA Director
Mr. Richard Reed, Historian, Voorhees College
Mr. Michael Bedenbaugh, Executive Director. Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation
Dr. Jacob Butler, Professor/Vice President, Morris College
Ms. Dawn Dawson-House, Director of Corporate Communications, South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism
Mr. M. Richard DeVoe, Executive Director, S.C. Sea Grant Consortium
Dr. Bobby Donaldson, History Professor, University of South Carolina
Rev. Merritt Graves, Pastor, Mt. Zion AME Church
Mr. Leroy Lewis, Jr., University President Assistant, College of Charleston
Mrs. Denise R. Pensmith, Secretary, Business Community
Chanda Robinson, School District Social Studies Coordinator, Richland School District One/SCCAAS
Mr. Thomas J. Smith, Executive Director, S.C. Commission for Minority Affairs
Dr. Louis Venters, History Professor, Frances Marion University
Dr. Larry Watson, History Professor, South Carolina State University
Ms. Joy Young, Arts Coordinator, S.C. Arts Commission


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