In celebration of Black History Month, here are a few historic landmarks, places of interest and cultural sites worth checking out if you’re interested in learning more about how Black culture has shaped life in the Upstate.
- A historic Black community founded by Benjamin Bruton in 1874
- 400 Rutherford Road, Greenville
Matoon Presbyterian Church
- 415 Hampton Ave., Greenville
- Organized in 1878, built in 1887. This church is a part of the Hampton-Pinckney Historic District and is in one of Greenville’s oldest neighborhoods. The ground floor originally held a parochial school for Black students.
Claussen Bakery building
- 400 Augusta St., Greenville
- The bakery was the site of a 1967 strike in which 22 Black employees protested discriminatory hiring and promotion practices at the bakery. The Greenville branch of the NAACP called for a boycott of Claussen’s products and Jesse Jackson, then director of Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s (SCLC) Operation Breadbasket, helped bring Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to Greenville on April 30, 1967.
- 8363 Sunflower St., Greenville
- In 1884, the city of Greenville established this 6-acre property as the first municipal cemetery for Blacks.
Sterling High School
- 1 N. Calhoun St., Greenville
- First called Greenville Academy, the Black school was founded in 1896 by Rev. D.M. Minus and was located in West Greenville. In 1902, it moved and was renamed Sterling Industrial College after Mrs. E.R. Sterling, who had financed Rev. Minus’s education at Claflin University. The school closed briefly but reopened in 1915 as Enoree High School. In 1929, the Greenville County school district bought the school and renamed it Sterling, but the building burned down in September 1967.
Springfield Baptist Church
- 600 E. McBee Ave., Greenville
- The church was founded in 1867 by members of Greenville Baptist Church, now known as First Baptist Church, which had been a combined congregation of whites and Blacks before the Civil War. The church’s first building was erected in 1872. It hosted many Civil Rights-era meetings but the church (circa 1959) burned down in 1972. It was rebuilt in 1976.
John Wesley Methodist Episcopal Church
- 101 E. Court St., Greenville
- The historically Black church was organized after the Civil War by Rev. James R. Rosemond and was built around 1899-1903.
Working Benevolent Society Hospital
- 201 Jenkins St., Greenville
- This property featured a two-story frame building and was first known as St. Luke Colored Hospital. Founded in 1920, it served patients for 28 years.
Allen Temple African Methodist Episcopal Church
- 109 Green Ave., Greenville
- Built in 1929-30, the church is an example of early 20th century Classical Revival ecclesiastical design by Juan Benito Molina, the only Black architect practicing in Greenville at the time.
The Lynching of Willie Earle site
- 398 Old Bramlett Road, Greenville
- This is the site of the last recorded lynching in South Carolina and the South, which occurred on Feb. 15, 1947.
Cedar Grove Baptist Church and Simpsonville Rosenwald School
- 206 Moore St., Simpsonville
- In 1891-92, the Reedy River Baptist Association built a school for the Black children in Simpsonville and other area communities on the property. In 1923-24, the Simpsonville Rosenwald School, an eight-room elementary and high school, was built nearby.
Old Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church and Old Pilgrim Rosenwald School
- 3540 Woodruff Road, Simpsonville
- This church was founded in 1868 by Black members of nearby Clear Spring Baptist Church. The school was built in 1933 and operated until 1954.
Fountain Inn Principal’s House and Teacherage
- 105 Mt. Zion Drive in Fountain Inn
- The home was built in 1935 and is the only remaining building historically associated with the Fountain Inn Negro School complex.
Mulberry A.M.E. Church
- 2758 Mount Carmel Road, Abbeville
- The church was formally organized around 1871 with a log building erected on this site in 1872. Six years, later, a church was built and it remained until it burned down in 1918.
Sources: Visit Greenville SC and South Carolina Department of Archives and History