(1540) The leader of a powerful chiefdom, the “Lady” of Cofitachiqui encountered Hernando de Soto and his conquistadors in 1540 as they passed through her territory (probably near the modern town of Camden). Narratives by the Spanish, including Garcilaso de la Vega, portray the encounter as a chivalrous and romantic one, in which the Lady formed a pact of friendship and peace with de Soto by offering him a magnificent strand of pearls from around her neck and graciously supplying provisions.
Civil rights activist; public health expert and advocate; First Black graduate and Black woman graduate from the University of South Carolina since Reconstruction
John Gary Anderson was the founder of the Anderson Motor Company in Rock Hill, SC, which made automobiles from 1916 to 1926.
Charleston native, Anna DeCosta Banks, was the first head nurse at the Hospital and Training School for Nurses in Charleston, South Carolina.
Born in Sumter, SC, Charlotta Bass was a newspaper publisher in Los Angeles, California, and the first African-American woman on a Presidential campaign ticket in a United States presidential election.
Ben Bernanke grew up in Dillon, SC. Bernanke was the Chairman of the Federal Reserve System from 2006-2014.
Born in Columbia, SC, Joseph Louis Bernardin was a Cardinal of the Catholic Church who served as archbishop of Chicago from 1982 until 1996.
Dillon native Bishop Joseph Benjamin Bethea was the first African-American bishop of the South Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church.
Born near Red Bank, James Butler Bonham was a soldier who died at the Battle of the Alamo during the Texas Revolution.
Morris Brown was one of the founders of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC.
Maude Callen served as a nurse and midwife to the poor people of Berkeley County, SC
David Robert Coker was a Hartsville, SC businessman and philanthropist who founded the “Coker’s Pedigreed Seed Catalogue” in 1914.
Ann Pamela Cunningham was the founder of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association that purchased and preserved Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington.
Charles Ezra Daniel was a successful businessman and political figure in South Carolina.
Francisco de Chicora was a Native American that was taken to Spain, where he met chronicler Peter Martyr and told him about the Chicora tribe.
Martin Robison Delany was an physician, writer, and first proponent of black nationalism.
Born and raised in Charleston, SC, personal chef and caterer Benjamin “BJ” Dennis infuses the flavors and culture of the Lowcountry into his Gullah Geechee cuisine.
Peggy Dillard-Toone is a model and artist. She was the second Black woman to appear on the cover of Vogue.
Ulysses Dove was one of the most innovative contemporary choreographers of the past half-century.
Willie Earle was the victim of a brutal murder and the last racial lynching in South Carolina.
Dr. Matilda Arabella Evans was the first African-American woman licensed to practice medicine in South Carolina.
Richard Furman was a pastor who influenced the development of the Baptist denomination in the South.
David du Bose Gaillard was a U.S. Army engineer instrumental in the construction of the Panama Canal.
South Carolina's Weatherman, Jim Gandy, was the Chief Meteorologist for WISTV (1984-1998) and WLTX (1999-2019).
Emily Geiger risked her life by serving as a messenger for the Colonial Army during the Revolutionary War.
Ambrose E. Gonzales and his brother, N.G. Gonzales founded The State newspaper in 1891.
Marquetta L. Goodwine, better known as Queen Quet is an author, preservationist, and artist who serves as Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation.
Issac Hayne was hanged by the British for espionage and treason during the American Revolution.
Caroline Etheredge Hembel was a pioneer aviator. She became the first female trainee in the Southeast to receive her pilot's license.
William Johnson, Jr. was a U.S. Supreme Court Justice from Charleston who served from 1804 to 1834.
Joseph Lane Kirkland was a labor union leader who served as president of the AFL-CIO from 1979 to 1995.
Naturalist Rudy Mancke served as naturalist and co-host of South Carolina ETV's NatureScene, which began its long run in 1978.
Born in Cheraw, SC, Virginia McLaurin is a community volunteer and supercentenarian.
Rebecca Motte was a widower and landowner along the Congaree River who graciously allowed Francis Marion and other Patriot soldiers to set fire to her plantation home when the British took command of the house.
Mark and Sandra Myers are the founders of The Black Cowboy: Man or Myth African American Cultural Festival in Rembert, SC.
Daniel Alexander Payne was a bishop, educator, college administrator, and author from Charleston, SC.
Kitty Black Perkins was the Chief Designer of Fashions and Doll Concepts for Barbie.
Judge Matthew James Perry, Jr. was South Carolina's first Black United States District Court Judge.
Radio and television personality Joe Pinner has been an icon of South Carolina televisions since 1963.
Melvin Purvis was an FBI agent responsible for ending the criminal careers of Baby Face Nelson, Pretty Boy Floyd, and John Dillinger.
Richard Samuel Roberts was one of South Carolina's most famous photographers in the 1920s and 1930s. Many of his photographs captured the life of African-Americans living in the South.
Eugene Harold Robinson is a newspaper columnist and an associate editor of The Washington Post.
Alexander Samuel Salley was a historian whose work and dedication to preserving South Carolina's history led to the creation of the South Carolina Department of Archives and History.
Edwin Seibels was a businessman from Edgefield, SC, who invented a vertical filing system that revolutionized record-keeping.
Robert Smalls was a Beaufort slave who hijacked a Confederate steamship, disguised himself as a white captain, and sailed to the Union-controlled enclave in Beaufort–Port Royal–Hilton Head area safety.
Josiah Smith was a clergyman who championed the causes of the Great Awakening and later the American independence.
Elliott White Springs was a South Carolina businessman and an American flying ace of World War I.
Freddie Stowers was a member of the 371st Infantry Regiment in World War I who was posthumously awarded a Congressional Medal of Honor.
Laura Matilda Towne was an abolitionist and educator known for forming the Penn School.
Angelica Singleton Van Buren married Abraham Van Buren while his father, Martin Van Buren was the eighth President of the United States.
Denmark Vesey was a free Black pastor and community leader in Charleston, South Carolina, who was accused and convicted of planning a major slave revolt in 1822.
Lt. Col. Spann Watson was a fighter pilot who served with the Tuskegee Airmen during World War II.
Advocate of women’s rights and suffrage and co-founder of the literacy movement in South Carolina
John Blake White was a painter and playwright from Berkeley County. He is best known for his painting of Francis Marion.
Sylvia Pressley Woods was a restaurateur, author, businesswoman best known for Sylvia's Restaurant in New York city.
Henry Woodward was an early colonist of South Carolina who was instrumental in establishing contact with Native Americans and setting up a trading system.
Black World War II veteran who became known to the world as the victim of a horrific act of racist violence that robbed him of his sight.