The movement toward recognizing the importance of preserving this cultural richness led to the passage of a joint resolution of the General Assembly in 1993 that established the South Carolina African American Heritage Council and to its establishment as a commission in 2001 by executive order of Governor Jim Hodges.
The mission of the South Carolina African American Heritage Commission (SCAAHC) 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 15-member commission includes representatives from all regions of the state.
Call & Response Newsletter: Back issues through Fall 2006.
Preserving Our Places in History Awards
Award Recipients 2018 (PDF)
Upcoming events will be announced shortly.
The WeGOJA Foundation
The WeGOJA Foundation supports the efforts of the South Carolina African American Heritage Commission. To become a member of the WeGOJA Foundation, visit their website or send an e-mail. You can also follow the WeGOJA Foundation on Facebook and Twitter.
- Increase the social, political, and economic value of African American heritage.
- Encourage and demonstrate respect for all heritage.
- Encourage the documentation of African American heritage.
- Institutionalize African American heritage as an ongoing goal of preservation.
- Explore every area of South Carolina for African American contributions.
- Providing advice and technical information—in partnership with the Department of Archives and History—to individuals and groups who want to preserve historic places;
- Encouraging and supporting the listing of African American historic sites in the National Register of Historic Places and the placement of South Carolina Historical Markers to recognize and interpret places important in African American history;
- Promoting the infusion of African American history into the curriculum of public schools through a partnership with the Avery Research Center for African American History & Culture and the South Carolina Department of Education;
- Providing a forum for people interested in preserving African American heritage to learn what is happening across the state, to share success stories, and to receive technical information through meetings and workshops; and
- Collaborating with other organizations and agencies to encourage the preservation of South Carolina’s African American history and culture.
- 2020: Published the fourth edition of A Teacher's Guide to African American Historic Places in South Carolina
- 2020: Dr. Barbara Jenkins, a charter member of the South Carolina African American Heritage Commission, received the Governor's Award in the Humanities for her exemplary career as a librarian, former Dean at South Carolina State University, and champion of African American historic preservation statewide.
- 2020: Launched "Drumbeat," a live-streamed bi-weekly program that explores important people, places, ideas, and trends in African American history and culture in South Carolina.
- 2020: Successfully launched Black Carolinians Speak: Portraits of a Pandemic, an oral history initiative that seeks to capture the African American experience in South Carolina during the COVID-19 public health crisis.
- 2020: The SCAAHC and SCDAH co-hosted the South Carolina premiere of Willie, a critically acclaimed documentary on the life and athletic career of Willie O'Ree, a descendant of escaped South Carolina slaves, who became the first Black player to skate in a National Hockey League game.
- 2019: Published the 4th edition of Integrating the Arts into Classroom Instruction
- 2019: On April 4-5th, the South Carolina African American Heritage Commission hosted its annual "Preserving Our Places in History" Awards Luncheon and its 25th Anniversary Gala at the South Carolina Department of Archives and History. Seven charter members of the Commission--Dr. Ricky Hill, Alada Shinault Small, Bhakti Larry Hough, Elaine Nichols, Dr. Cornelius St. Mark, Joseph McGill and Dr. Karry Guillory--were presented with honorary resolutions from the South Carolina General Assembly. Three of our longest serving members--Michael Allen, Dr. Barbara Jenkins, and Jannie Harriot--received the Order of the Palmetto, the highest civilian honor awarded by the governor.
- 2019: The SCAAHC hosted a pre-conference workshop prior to the 104th ASALH annual meeting and conference in Charleston, SC.
- 2019: Presented professional development seminar for South Carolina educators themed, "Black Reconstruction in South Carolina."
- 2019: The SCAAHC hosted a Teacher's Institute themed, "Integrating Arts in the Curriculum of Grades K-12 through the lens of Gullah Culture"
- 2018: The SCAAHC hosted a Teacher's Institute themed, "Desegregation in South Carolina."
- 2018: Published The Business of Rural Heritage, Culture and Art: An Introductory Resource Guide for Entrepreneurs, and revised the Supplement to the Teacher’s Guide, Integrating the Arts into Classroom Instruction
- 2017: Launched the Green Book of South Carolina, an online travel guide to South Carolina's African American historic and cultural sites.
- 2016: Created the Supplement to the Teacher's Guide “Integrating Art into Classroom Instruction”.
- 2016: Completed project identifying African American Schools “How Did We Get to Now?”: Volume 1 (2016) Volume 2 (2019).
- 2015: Updated A Teacher's Guide to African American Historic Places in South Carolina.
- 2013: Premiered POV's documentary Homegoings at SCDAH.
- 2012: Featured award winning artist, Natalie Daise in “Becoming Harriet Tubman”.
- 2010: Presented Opera Noire at the Township Auditorium in Columbia and Hartsville.
- 2009: Sponsored a state-wide Diversity Conference in Charleston.
- 2007: Launched Call & Response, an online newsletter highlighting news about African American historic preservation in the state.
- 1999-2011: Reduced the number of counties having no recognized African American historic resources from fourteen counties to none.
- 2007: Hosted two regional workshops in Florence and Hartsville, and partnered with SCDAH to host a statewide conference titled “In Our Trust: Preserving the African American Church in South Carolina”.
- 2007: First annual meeting of SCAAHC.
- 2006-Present: Presented Preserving Our Places in History Awards. The awards are intended to recognize efforts to preserve the legacy of African Americans in South Carolina and encourage others to do the same.
- 2005: Successfully lobbied the South Carolina General Assembly for $25,000 in funding to support the work of the Commission.
- 1994: Preservation award to the South Carolina African American Heritage Council (now Commission) from the National Park Service Southeast Regional Office for efforts to preserve the state’s African American buildings and sites.
- Palmetto Award of Excellence from the South Carolina Chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators for The Green Book of South Carolina
- Mercury Award of Merit from the South Carolina Chapter of the Public Relations Society for The Green Book of South Carolina
- Award of Merit form the Confederation of South Carolina Local Historical Societies for our overall body of work
- Our current chairperson Jannie Harriot received the 2018 Presidential Citation as an African American Heritage Advocate in recognition of her "untiring efforts to preserve and maintain the history and culture of African Americans" in South Carolina
- 2018 Shining Example Award for "Best Niche Marketing" from the Southeast Tourism Society for The Green Book of South Carolina
- 2018 Historic Preservation Heritage Tourism Award from Preservation: South Carolina for The Green Book of South Carolina
- Former SCAAHC ex-officio member Dr. Bobby J. Donaldson received the 2018 Historic Preservation Governor's Award from Preservation: South Carolina (nominated by Jannie Harriot)
- 2018 Historic Preservation Elected Official Award was presented to Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin by Preservation: South Carolina (nominated by Jannie Harriot)