Mountain Country

The South Carolina African American Heritage Commission suggests the following trip itinerary through the state’s Upcountry to enrich your vacation in South Carolina. Trips like this are outstanding, day-long excursions suitable for family reunions, fraternity / sorority get-togethers, meetings and other gatherings. A link to a route mapped out in Mapquest.com is at the bottom of the page. For details about other day-trips, including best practices for trip planning, click here.

9:00 a.m. Bertha Lee Strickland Cultural Museum – 208 W. South 2nd Street, Seneca – 864-710-9994
Bertha Lee Strickland Cultural Museum is the only exhibit museum in Oconee County that underscores the rich, colorful, turbulent history of the local African American community. As stated in its motto, “Honoring the Past – Elevating the Future,” the museum incorporates technology and tradition to create a meaningful and educational experience for all ages. Rotating exhibits 2-4 times annually, BLSCM showcases ordinary people of the past and present whose stories and achievements will impact generations. The museum is open Tuesday-Saturday, 11am-4pm. Admission is FREE.
Time at site – 1 hour
10:15 a.m. Fort Hill Slave Quarters at Clemson University – 100 Sikes Avenue, Clemson
*MARKER* — Located one-eighth mile from the main house, the Fort Hill slave quarters were described in 1849 as being “built of stone and joined together like barracks, with gardens attached.” Some 70-80 enslaved African Americans then lived at Fort Hill. In 1854, Andrew P. Calhoun moved to Fort Hill from Alabama with his slaves. At his death in 1865, the estate included 139 enslaved African Americans. In 1890, convicted laborers, mostly African Americans, were jailed in a prison stockade nearby. They cleared land, and made and laid bricks. They also dismantled the stone slave quarters to use as foundations for Clemson College’s earliest buildings.
Time at site – 30 minutes
11:00 a.m. Faith Cabin Library – 145 Town Street, Pendleton – 864-646-3782
This site is significant for its role in African American education and social history in SC from c. 1936, when it was built, to 1954, when Anderson County Training School closed with the construction of an equalization school nearby. It is one of only two remaining Faith Cabin Libraries extant of the 30 built in SC between 1932 and 1943. The Library was a part of the larger Faith Cabin Library program that offered library services to rural African Americans in South Carolina. The building is a one-room log cabin built with donated money and timber from the community.
Time at site – 30 minutes
NOON Working Benevolent Society Hospital – Green Avenue and Jenkins Street, Greenville (GPS coordinates – 34.837205, -82412183) – 864-324-8310
*MARKER* — This hospital, first known as St. Luke Colored Hospital, was a two-story frame building. Founded in 1920, it served patients for 28 years. A registered nurse and a graduate of the Tuskegee Institute, Mrs. M.H. Bright was the hospital’s first superintendent. Marker erected by the Green Avenue Area Civic Association, 2003.
Time at site – 30 minutes
12:30 p.m. LUNCH at restaurant of your choice; or pack cold boxes typical of Green Book traveling, i.e., cold fried chicken, whole fruits, biscuits/breads/crackers, bottled water.
1:45 p.m. Claussen Bakery – 400 Augusta Street, Greenville
*MARKER* — In February 1967, 22 African American employees went on strike to protest discrimination in hiring and promotion practices at the company. The Greenville branch of the NAACP called for a boycott of Claussen baked goods in protest. Jesse Jackson, then working as director of SCLC’s Operation Breadbasket, helped bring Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to Greenville (April 30, 1967). King preached economic justice and support for the Clausen workers who “had been called boys…then they stood up like men.” Marker sponsored by Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society, the Greater Sullivan Neighborhood, and the Greenville Branch of the NAACP, 2016.
Time at site – 30 minutes
2:30 p.m. Springfield Baptist Church – 600 McBee Avenue, Greenville – 864-271-3494
This is the oldest black Baptist congregation in downtown Greenville. It was founded in 1867 by members of Greenville Baptist Church (now First Baptist Church), which had been a combined congregation of whites and blacks before the Civil War. Rev. Gabriel Poole, known as “Father Poole,” was its first pastor. The new church worshipped in First Baptist Church until it built its own church on this site in 1872. Springfield Baptist Church hosted many significant meetings during the Civil Rights Movement. The 1959 church burned in 1972 and was replaced by the present church in 1976. Marker sponsored by the congregation, 2013.
Time at site – one hour, depending on tour
MAPQUEST route itinerary — https://www.mapquest.com/directions/from/us/south-carolina/seneca/29678-3326/208-w-south-2nd-st-34.681926,-82.956195/to/us/south-carolina/clemson-university-350682788/to/us/south-carolina/pendleton/29670-1219/145-town-st-34.651872,-82.787533/to/near-34.83721666,-82.41231666/to/us/south-carolina/greenville/29601-3510/400-augusta-st-34.838540,-82.406710/to/us/south-carolina/greenville/29601-2939/600-e-mcbee-ave-34.847089,-82.392207