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Road Trip! : African American Digital History Resources for All Ages

The Silver Crescent Standard
Mon, 12/14/2020

A Blog Post by Ramon Jackson

Our current public health crisis has restricted our ability to take part in some of our most treasured pastimes, most notably visiting our state’s incredible selection of historic houses, museums and cultural centers. Luckily, technological advancements have provided us with new opportunities to learn about South Carolina’s rich African American history and culture from the comfort of our own homes or on socially distanced walking and driving tours. 

Are you a teacher looking for online resources to nourish curious minds? A local resident seeking to learn something new about your own hometown? Or a tourist interested in visiting new destinations without the risk? If so, check out this list of digital history resources that offer something special for all ages and interests:

The Green Book of South Carolina

Discover 400+ African American cultural sites across South Carolina with this free mobile travel guide created by the South Carolina African American Heritage Commission! The Green Book of South Carolina provides residents and visitors from around the world with a user-friendly guide to discovering and celebrating enriching cultural experiences across the state of South Carolina.  It displays more than 400 attractions and sites for diverse audiences, allowing travelers to plan their ultimate customized itineraries across South Carolina. It is an excellent tool for planning vacations, family reunions, field trips, or simply walking and driving tours of your own city.  An homage to the original Negro Motorist Green Book, a popular Jim Crow era travel guide for African Americans, this website features tourism destinations that impart a new Southern experience and shares the compelling story of African Americans in the Palmetto State.

Plan your ultimate excursion today! :

Cecil Williams South Carolina Civil Rights Museum

The Cecil Williams South Carolina Civil Rights Museum honors a generation of people, Black and white, whose unselfish commitments and sacrifices forever changed the Palmetto State.  This virtual museum explores how these men and women destroyed Jim Crow, demanded dignity and justice for all people, changed the Constitution, and inspired humankind. Using the latest digital technology, famed civil rights photographer Cecil Williams offers visitors an immersive experience that captures the overlooked role of South Carolinians in America’s civil rights struggle.  Donations accepted and appreciated.

Start your tour here:

“To Preserve Us from Utter Ruine”: The Revolution of 1719

The bloodless revolution that occurred in Charles Town in 1719 had a profound impact on South Carolina history that reverberates even to this day, but the event has been largely forgotten; a moment of history examined by only the most dedicated scholars.  The South Carolina Department of Archives and History exhibit, “To Preserve Us from Utter Ruine”: The Revolution of 1719 offers visitors an understanding of this period of South Carolina history from the founding of the colony through the end of proprietary rule and its transition to a British royal colony.  It explores the “Convention of the People” that laid the foundation for later political revolutions in 1776 and 1861.  Equally important, it addresses the importance of the importation of enslaved Africans and eventual planned slave insurrections as catalysts for change. Learn more about this overlooked and transformational period that made South Carolina a truly revolutionary colony and state. 

The exhibit is available for viewing here at SCDAH through the summer.  A digital version is available here

Let’s Go! Virtual Reality Tours via

Check out virtual reality tours of some of South Carolina’s most interesting historical sites on your desktop computer or the Matterport App.  Each tour includes an overview video and photo gallery.  Among the sites featured in this collection of award winning, immersive virtual reality tours is the Benjamin Mays Historical Preservation Site.  Relocated from its original site in Ninety-Six, South Carolina, to Greenwood, this late 19th century clapboard dwelling was the birthplace of Dr. Benjamin E. Mays, a renowned educator, author, and former president of Morehouse College where he mentored a young Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  Other sites in this collection that are related to South Carolina’s rich African American history and culture include the Mann-Simons Site, the former home of an entrepreneurial African American family, and the newly renamed Museum of the Reconstruction Era at the Woodrow Wilson Home[JR1] , both located in Columbia. 

Start your journey here:

African American Heritage Sites Tour

The Historic Columbia Foundation offers a variety of online and driving/walking tours for visitors and local residents interested in the history of South Carolina’s capital city.  The African American Heritage Sites Tour highlights the history and culture of African Americans in Columbia, whose labor, skills, and vision have been integral to the city’s physical, spiritual, and social evolution.  Learn more about the story of the African American experience from slavery to freedom in this series of vignettes exploring historic African American houses, workplaces, and leisure sites. 

Learn more:

History Waverly Neighborhood Tour

Established shortly after the Civil War and incorporated into Columbia’s city limits in 1913, the Historic Waverly neighborhood is listed as a Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places and is protected as an architectural conservation district by the City of Columbia.  Bounded by Harden Street, Read Street, Millwood Avenue, and Gervais Street, by the early twentieth century this neighborhood became known as a self-contained, self-sustaining Black community featuring many middle-and upper-class African American residents, among whom were leaders within spiritual, business, academic and professional circles.  Several South Carolina civil rights icons lived and worked here including Modjeska Monteith Simkins, Rev. James Miles Hinton, John Henry McCray, George Elmore, and Judge Matthew J. Perry. 

Visit Historic Waverly District today:

African American Historical Tours at South Carolina State Parks

From the first English settlement of 1670 at Charles Towne Landing to parks built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, African Americans have played important roles in South Carolina history.  Students and others interested in our state’s African American heritage can visit sites that document more than 350 years of history, beginning with slavery and continuing through Reconstruction, Jim Crow-era segregation, the Great Migration, the Civil Rights Movement, and continuing into the present day. Our state parks record how African American men and women survived in the face of oppression, created strong communities, and shaped the history of South Carolina.  A wealth of digital exhibits, historical documents, and virtual tours are at your fingertips!

Visit the African Americans at SC State Parks: