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African American History

African American History

As an important location in civil rights history, the Olde English District also serves as a landmark for South Carolina’s African American history. Explore the inspiring Black history facts originating from the area that have become must-see points of interest.

African American History
African American Cultural Center

African American Cultural Center of Camden

The African American Cultural Center of Camden serves as a celebration of the lives and contributions of the local African American community. The site of the center was once home to generations of the Harris family, who began as local sharecroppers. Today, the center highlights local African American history through exhibits and events, bringing powerful stories of the past into present-day conversations.

The Bonds Conway House

Also in Camden, The Bonds Conway House is a standing example of the endurance and determination of African Americans in the 19th century. Bonds Conway, a former enslaved person who bought his own freedom, purchased this two-story property and went on to own an extensive amount of nearby land. Today, the house now holds the office of the Kershaw County Historical Society within the Camden Historical District and remains an inspiring symbol of South Carolina African American history.

Clinton Memorial Cemetery

In Lancaster, you’ll find the Clinton Memorial Cemetery, the burial site for hundreds of local Black citizens. Established in the 1800s, it contains fascinating African American history facts, as it was originally the Clinton family cemetery before it was donated to the Mt. Zion AME Church in 1960. The cemetery is named for Isom Caleb Clinton, a former enslaved person who went on to organize the Mt. Carmel AME Zion Church and serve as bishop. Clinton also established one of the first local public schools for Blacks and served as county treasurer. He also is buried in the historic cemetery, where he had a monument erected for his former enslaver.

Dizzy Gillespie Homesite Park

Celebrating the life of famous local John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie, a pioneering music icon who used a bent trumpet and introduced the world to bebop, the Dizzy Gillespie Homesite Park in Cheraw beautifully honors one of its most beloved citizens. Items include a trumpet sculpture designed by local students and a stainless steel fence depicting Gillespie’s score of “Salt Peanuts.” The popular park is the former site of Gillespie’s childhood home. 

These important sites in Black History are a treasured part of the Olde English District in South Carolina. They continue to inspire generations of locals and visitors alike as popular reminders that local African American history carries an important legacy.