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


Along the I-20 Corridor

The sea breezes and sandy shores of coastal South Carolina offer a great escape. You can enrich your drive to the coast by discovering places off of the beaten path that tell a more complete story of South Carolina. This trail suggests African American cultural sites to visit along your way to Atlantic Beach, an enclave just north of Myrtle Beach, following Interstate 20 from the Georgia border through the heart of the state, then onto U.S. 76 and U.S. 501. Whether you visit a few or all, your journey will be enhanced by discovering more of South Carolina.

Flights of Fancy

The contributions of African Americans to South Carolina (and to the United States) span all disciplines, including science and technology. Discover the state’s leading African American figures in aeronautics and astronomy by visiting sites built in their honor. It’s best to make arrangements before you travel, because some of these attractions are available by appointment only.

Historic Green Book Tour – Cheraw, South Carolina

Among the places with numerous extant Green Book sites is Cheraw, South Carolina, a prosperous town located in the northeastern midlands of the state. Prior to the completion of Interstate 95 in the early 1970s, travelers often passed through Cheraw along U.S. Highways 1 and 52 en route to North Carolina or various destinations in South Carolina. Fourteen Cheraw-area businesses were listed in the Green Book from 1947 through its final edition in 1966. Roughly half of these oasis spaces remain, including the College Inn Restaurant, a family owned restaurant and tavern located in a former Black business district on Second Street in downtown Cheraw.

Check out other extant sites in Cheraw on the tour at this link https://youtu.be/dNnbhxc6LBQ.

Reconstruction in South Carolina

For 12 years in South Carolina, newly emancipated African Americans enjoyed a level of citizenship and freedom that had been denied them for almost two centuries. The towns, farmsteads, villages, churches and schools they built with this new-found freedom helped shape a distinctive culture that still influences every day life here. Vestiges of that period are preserved and shared as attractions. Below is a list of Reconstruction-era stops you can build into your itinerary on your next trip to South Carolina.

Separate Is NOT Equal – The Briggs vs. Elliott Tour

Welcome to Clarendon County, home of the pivotal Briggs vs. Elliott school desegregation court case that helped form the basis of the landmark Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court ruling. This tour outlines the churches, homes and sites associated with the families who signed the petition in 1951 to integrate schools in their district after witnessing inferior service to African American students. Although the U.S. District Court in Charleston ruled against the parents, the dissenting opinion was used, along with several others, as the argument for Brown.