Civil Rights Activists

Portrait of Mary McLeod Bethune, 1949, photographed by Carl Van Vechten.

Mary McLeod Bethune

Mary McLeod Bethune was an educator and civil rights leader who was born in Mayesville, SC.

Black and white photograph of Harold Boulware.

Harold R. Boulware, Sr.

Harold R. Boulware, Sr., was a lawyer and civil rights pioneer who played a crucial role in Briggs v. Elliot.

Harry and Eliza Briggs Smiling

Eliza and Harry Briggs

Eliza and Harry Briggs were the petitioners in the important school desegregation case, Briggs v. Elliott.

James Brown singing while shadowed people stand in the background

James Brown

Born in Barnwell, SC, James Joseph Brown was a singer, songwriter, dancer, record producer, and bandleader.

Septima Clark wearing a dark jacket, light colored shirt, pearl earrings and pearl necklace.

Septima Poinsette Clark

Septima Poinsette Clark was an African American educator and activist for equal rights who worked with the NAACP and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Reverend Joseph Armstrong DeLaine wearing a cassock.

Joseph Armstrong DeLaine

Reverend Joseph Armstrong Delaine was a civil rights leader from Summerton, SC, who helped end segregation in South Carolina schools.

Marian Wright Edelman in a patterned shirt.

Marian Wright Edelman

Marian Wright Edelman is an activist for the children's rights and the founder of the Children’s Defense Fund.

Smiling Mamie Garvin Fields in a light dress holding light colored roses.

Mamie Garvin Fields

Mamie Garvin Fields was a teacher, civil rights and religious activist, and memoirist.

Ernest Adolphus Finney, Jr.

Ernest Adolphus Finney, Jr.

Ernest Adolphus Finney, Jr. was the first African-American Supreme Court Justice appointed to the South Carolina Supreme Court since the Reconstruction Era.

A young Sarah Mae Flemming wearing a dark dress and light pearl necklace.

Sarah Mae Flemming

Sarah Mae Flemming sued bus owners in Columbia, SC for an incident that occurred 17 months before Rosa Parks took her stand in Montgomery, Alabama.

Harvey Gantt wearing a suit and holding papers.

Harvey Gantt

Harvey Gantt was the first African American student to attend Clemson University when he began classes on February 1, 1963.

Black and white photograph of Juanita Willmon Goggins smiling

Juanita Willmon Goggins

Juanita Willmon Goggins was the first Black woman to be elected to the SC General Assembly

Angelina Grimkè wearing a frilly bonnet and dress with a light collar.

Angelina Grimkè

Angelina Grimkè Weld was an abolitionist, political activist, women's rights advocate, and supporter of the Women's Suffrage Movement. 

Archibald and Francis Grimkè as boys wearing suits for a photo.

Archibald Grimkè

Archibald Grimkè was a lawyer, journalist, community leader, and involved in the early NAACP. Sarah Grimkè and Angelina Grimkè Weld are Archibald's paternal Aunts. 

Sarah Grimkè wearing a frilly bonnet and checked dress.

Sarah Moore Grimkè

Sarah Moore Grimkè was a prominent abolitionist and is widely held to be the mother of the Women's Suffrage Movement. 

Harriet Hancock speaking at a podium.

Harriet Hancock

Harriet Daniels Hancock is a pioneer LGBTQ activist in South Carolina.

Monica Helms holding a mic and speaking.

Monica Helms

Monica Helms is the creator of the Transgender Pride Flag.

Color photograph of Charlayne Hunter-Gault

Charlayne Hunter-Gault

Charlayne Hunter-Gault is a civil rights activist, journalist, and author. She was one of the first Black students to attend the University of Georgia.

Jesse Jackson wearing a dark suit and tie.

Jesse Jackson

Born in Greenville, SC, Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. is a political activist, Baptist minister, and politician.

A smiling Hal Jackson holding a phone.

Hal Jackson

Harold Baron Jackson was a disc jockey and radio personality who broke down racial barriers, becoming the first black host on a national broadcast network in the 1950s. 

Esau Jenkins with bus used to provide students with transportation

Esau Jenkins

Esau Jenkins was a South Carolina African American Human Rights leader, businessman, local preacher, and community organizer.

Eartha Kitt laying on an orange floor in a sparkly red dress.

Eartha Kitt

Born in North, SC, Eartha Kitt was a singer, actress, comedienne, dancer, and activist.

Benjamin Mays wearing a dark suit

Benjamin Elijah Mays

Benjamin Elijah Mays was a teacher, civil rights leader, president of Morehouse College, dean of Howard University's School of Religion, and first black president of Atlanta's school board.

Black and white photograph of Frieda Mitchell

Frieda Mitchell

Frieda Mitchell was a civil rights and social justice activist from Beaufort County.

A smiling I. DeQuincey Newman wearing a dark and light suit with a dark bowtie

Isaiah DeQuincey Newman

Reverend Isaiah DeQuincey Newman was a minister and civil rights leader who became the first African American since 1887 to serve in the state Senate.

An older gentleman sitting in a brown leather chair

Matthew J. Perry, Jr.

Judge Matthew James Perry, Jr. was South Carolina's first Black United States District Court Judge.

Black and white photograph of Robert Purvis

Robert Purvis

Robert Purvis was an abolitionist from Charleston, SC.

A young woman with a small smile.

Gloria Blackwell Rackley

Gloria Blackwell Rackley was a Civil Rights activist and educator. 

Photo of Frances Rollin Whipper

Rollin Sisters

Born to an aristocratic free Black family in Charleston, the Sisters were noted for their influence and political savvy in Reconstruction politics.

Eulalie Chafee Salley

Eulalie Chafee Salley

Eulalie Chafee Salley from Aiken, SC fought for the right for women to vote.

Modjeska Monteith Simkins

Modjeska Monteith Simkins

Modjeska Monteith Simkins was an African American civil rights activist who was the Secretary of the NAACP in South Carolina and helped write the court case for Briggs v. Elliott.

Josh White in the middle wearing a polka-dot shirt.

Josh White

Josh White was a singer, musician, and civil rights activist.

A woman wearing a patterned dress with a golden turtle broach.

Dorris Wright

Dorris Wright is a Civil Rights Activist and was one of the participants in the "Greenville Eight" protest.

Black and white photograph of Virginia Durant Covington Young

Virginia Durant Covington Young

Virginia Durant Covington Young was a South Carolina suffragist, editor, and owner of South Carolina's Fairfax Enterprise weekly newspaper.