Political and Government Leaders

A man with salt-and-pepper hair wearing a black jacket, gold shirt, and white necktie.

John Adair

Born in Chester County, South Carolina, John Adair was an American pioneer, soldier, and politician.

Color photograph of James Hopkins Adams

James Hopkins Adams

66th Governor of South Carolina

black and white photograph of William Aiken.

William Aiken, Jr.

William Aiken, Jr. was the 61st Governor of South Carolina.

A man with curly hair wearing a black coat and white necktie.

Joseph Alston

Born in All Saints Parish (Georgetown County), Joseph Alston was the governor of South Carolina from 1812 - 1814.

Bernard Baruch wearing a dark bowler hat.

Bernard Baruch

Born in Camden, SC, Bernard Baruch was an economic advisor to presidents Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt.  

A young Charlotta wearing a light lacy collar sweater and pearl-like earrings

Charlotta Bass

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. 

Color photograph of David Beasley smiling

David Beasley

David Beasley is the Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme, and he served one term as the 113th Governor of SC from 1995 until 1999.

Color photograph of Mayor Steve Benjamin

Steve Benjamin

Steve Benjamin was the first African-American and 44th mayor of Columbia, South Carolina, from 2010 to 2022.

Ben Bernanke in a black suite with a blue, white, and black striped tie.

Ben Bernanke

Ben Bernanke grew up in Dillon, SC. Bernanke was the Chairman of the Federal Reserve System from 2006-2014.

Black and white photograph of Solomon Blatt

Solomon Blatt

Solomon Blatt was a long-time Democratic legislator of South Carolina from Barnwell County.

Black and white photograph of Coleman L. Blease

Coleman Livingston Blease

Coleman Livingston Blease was the Governor of South Carolina from 1911 to 1915 and US Senator from 1925 to 1931.

black and white photograph of Milledge Luke Bonham

Milledge Luke Bonham

70th Governor of South Carolina.

Preston Brooks in a dark suit with a with a dark necktie.

Preston Brooks

Born in Roseland, SC (Edgefield County), Preston Brooks was a Democratic congressman from South Carolina who brutally beat Charles Sumner, a Senator from Massachusetts, in the US Senate chamber.

Edgar A. Brown wearing a dark suit and dark framed glasses holding some papers.

Edgar A. Brown

Born in Aiken County, Edgar Allan Brown was a longtime Democratic legislator of South Carolina from Barnwell County who served South Carolina from 1922-1972.

Pierce Butler in a dark suit coat, white wig, and white necktie.

Pierce Butler

Pierce Butler was a Founding Father of the United States who represented South Carolina at the Continental Congress, the Constitutional Convention, and as a U.S. Senator.

Color portrait of Pierce Butler

Pierce Mason Butler

Pierce Mason Butler was the 56th Governor of South Carolina.

James F. Byrnes wearing a dark suit and patterned tie.

James F. Byrnes

Born in Charleston, SC, James F. Byrnes was a U.S. Secretary of State, Associate Justice U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Senator, and Governor of South Carolina from 1951-1955.

A stern looking John C. Calhoun wearing a dark suit and light color undershirt.

John C. Calhoun

Born in McCormick County, John Calhoun was a U.S. Senator, Secretary of State, Secretary of War, and the 7th Vice-President of the United States.

A smiling Carroll Campbell wearing a black suit with a garnet, black and white striped tie.

Carroll A. Campbell, Jr.

Born in Greenville, SC, Carroll A. Campbell, Jr. was a U.S. Congressman and Governor of South Carolina from 1987-1995.

Bronze relief portrait of Robert Campbell

Robert Blair Campbell

Political activist from Marlboro, SC

Portrait of Francis Cardozo

Francis Cardozo

Born in Charleston, SC, Francis Cardozo was a leading political figure in the Radical Reconstruction political environment and the first African American to hold a statewide office in the United States.

Daniel Chamberlain wearing a dark coat over a dark suit. He is sitting down.

Daniel Henry Chamberlain

Daniel Henry Chamberlain was the governor of South Carolina from 1874-1876.

An older Thomas Green Clemson with a large white beard.

Thomas Green Clemson

Thomas Green Clemson was a statesman, ambassador, US Superintendent of Agriculture, and founder of Clemson University.

A smiling James Clyburn wearing a dark pinstripe suit.

James Clyburn

James Enos Clyburn is a U.S. Congressman and a democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

A smiling Mignon Clyburn wearing a blue suit. The collar is outlined in black.

Mignon L. Clyburn

Mignon L. Clyburn was the first African American woman to head the Federal Communications Commission.

Smiling Gilda Cobb-Hunter

Gilda Cobb-Hunter

Gilda Cobb-Hunter is a Democratic member of the South Carolina House of Representatives, representing District 66 in Orangeburg County.

Black and white photograph of James Coker

James Lide Coker

Businessman, entrepreneur, philanthropist born in Darlington, SC. Coker was educated at the Citadel and Harvard where he studied to better prepare himself for managing agricultural property.

Print of YAMASEE WAR, 1715. Governor Craven of South Carolina attacks the Yamasee Native Americans

Charles Craven

Charles Craven was the governor of the colony of South Carolina from 1711-1716.

William Henry Drayton wearing a powdered wig.

William Henry Drayton

William Henry Drayton was a planter and lawyer from Charleston, SC, who served as a delegate for South Carolina to the Continental Congress.

Drawing of a man in a powdered wig

John Drayton

John Drayton was South Carolina's 40th Governor.

Color photograph of James Edwards

James B. Edward

Governor, U.S. secretary of energy, college president

Color photograph of John Edwards standing in front of an American flag

John Reid Edwards

U. S. Senator (North Carolina)

Stephen Elliott

Stephen Elliott

Stephen Elliott was a legislator, banker, and botanist. He is best known for his work, A Sketch of the Botany of South Carolina and Georgia. The plant genus Elliottia is named after him.

Robert Elliott wearing a dark and light suit

Robert Brown Elliott

Robert Elliott was an African American U.S. Representative from 1871-1874.

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 Martha Fitzgerald smiling.

Martha Thomas Fitzgerald

Elizabeth Martha Thomas "Mattie" Fitzgerald was an educator and politician. She was the first woman elected in South Carolina in the House of Representatives in a General election. 

Smiling Rosa Franklin

Rosa Franklin

Born in Moncks Corner, South Carolina, Rosa Franklin is the first African American woman elected to the Washington State Senate, serving the 29th Legislative District in the Tacoma area.

Drawing of Christopher Gadsden

Christopher Gadsden

Christopher Gadsden was a merchant and politician who was the principal leader of the South Carolina Patriot movement during the American Revolution.

James Gadsden wearing 1800s blue and gold naval uniform.

James Gadsden

James Gadsden was the diplomat (known as a minister) to Mexico where he negotiated for the Gadsden Purchase in 1853.

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 photo of Martin Witherspoon Gary

Martin Witherspoon Gary

Martin Witherspoon Gary was an attorney, soldier, and politician from South Carolina.

William Henry Gist wearing a dark coat over a light colored vest.

William Henry Gist

William Henry Gist was the governor of South Carolina from 1858-1860 and a leader of the secession movement.

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

Janie Glymph Goree

Janie Glymph Goree

Janie Glymph Goree was South Carolina's first African American female mayor of Carlisle, SC. 

color photo of Lindsey Graham

Lindsey Graham

U. S. Congressman, lawyer, Major in the Air Force Reserve (Ret.)

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. 

Johnson Hagood wearing a confederate uniform.

Johnson Hagood

Johnson Hagood was a brigadier general in the Confederate States Army and governor of South Carolina from 1880-1882.

A smiling Nikki Haley wearing a royal blue blouse with the American flag and the South Carolina state flag in the background.

Nikki Haley

Nikki Haley is a politician, diplomat, businesswoman, and author who served as the 116th and first female governor of South Carolina from 2011 to 2017. 

James Hammond in a dark suit.

James Hammond

James Hammond was a politician who served as a US Representative, US Senator, and governor of South Carolina.

Wade Hampton in Confederate uniform.

Wade Hampton III

Wade Hampton III was a Confederate general, governor, United States Senator. He was the governor of South Carolina at the end of Reconstruction when the federal troops left the state in 1877.

Jamie Harrison.

Jamie Harrison

Jaime Harrison is a politician. He is the current chairman of the Democratic National Committee. He previously served as the chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party from 2013 to 2017. 

black and white portrait of Robert Hayne

Robert Young Hayne

U.S. senator, governor

Thomas Heyward, Jr

Thomas Heyward Jr.

Thomas Heyward, Jr. was a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

Fritz Hollings in a black suit, white undershirt, and black tie.

Fritz Hollings

Senator Fritz Hollings was a South Carolina governor from 1959-1963 and U.S. Senator from 1966-2005.

Black and white print of Richard Hutson in wig.

Richard Hutson

Richard Hutson was a founding father of the United States and a lawyer, judge, and politician from Charleston, SC.

Andrew Jackson wearing a black and gold uniform with a paint of a white horse and trees in the background.

Andrew Jackson

Born in Lancaster County, South Carolina, Andrew Jackson was the President of the United States from 1829 to 1837.

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.

William Johnson, Jr.

William Johnson, Jr.

William Johnson, Jr. was a U.S. Supreme Court Justice from Charleston who served from 1804 to 1834.

Black and white photograph of Olin D. Johnston

Olin DeWitt Talmadge Johnston

Olin DeWitt Talmadge Johnston was the 98th governor of South Carolina and represented South Carolina in the U.S. Senate from 1945 to 1965.

Henry Laurens wearing a powdered wig ad a burgundy coat with a white ruffled tie.

Henry Laurens

Henry Laurens was a merchant, political leader, and rice planter who was a delegate to the Second Continental Congress.

Black and white sketch of Rawlins Lowndes profile.

Rawlins Lowndes

Lawyer, Provost-Marshall, South Carolina Senate, South Carolina House of Representatives; Charleston, SC

William Jones Lowndes with brown and white cocker spaniel.

William Jones Lowndes

William Jones Lowndes represented South Carolina in the U.S. Congress from 1811 to 1822.

A young Thomas Lynch Jr.

Thomas Lynch, Jr.

Thomas Lynch, Jr. from Georgetown County, SC, was a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

Andrew Magrath wearing a dark suit and bow tie.

Andrew Gordon Magrath

Andrew Gordon Magrath was a federal judge and later governor of South Carolina during the Civil War.

Black and white photograph of Richard Manning

Richard Irvine Manning I

Governor, congressman

A drawing of man in a powdered wig

John Mathews

John Mathews was a delegate to the Continental Congress from 1778 to 1781, where he endorsed the Articles of Confederation on behalf of South Carolina.

Black and white photograph of Burnet Maybank

Burnet R. Maybank

Mayor of Charleston, governor, U.S. senator.

Black and white photo of George McDuffie

George McDuffie

George McDuffie was the 55th Governor of South Carolina.

Black and white photo of Robert McNair

Robert Evander McNair

Attorney, legislator, governor

Portrait of John McQueen, Representative from South Carolina.

John McQueen

US congressman, Confederate official, lawyer, and planter. Lived in Marlboro, SC

Arthur Middleton wearing a rusted red robe over a gray outfit with a white collar.

Arthur Middleton

Arthur Middleton was a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

Drawing of a man in a powdered wig.

Henry Middleton

Henry Middleton was the 2nd President of the Continental Congress and served as President of the provincial congress and senator in the newly created South Carolina Government.

Black and white photo of portrait of Stephen Miller

Stephen Decatur Miller

Stephen Decatur Miller was the 52nd Governor of South Carolina.

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.

Color photograph of John O'Neall

John Belton O'Neall

John Belton O'Neall was a judge who served on the precursor to the South Carolina Supreme Court. He is known for writing a digest of "The Negro Law of South Carolina."

Black and white photograph of James Orr.

James Lawrence Orr

Congressman, governor

Black & white photograph of Benjamin Franklin Perry

Benjamin Franklin Perry

Journalist, governor.

Black and white photograph of James Petigru

James Louis Petigru

James Louis Petigru was a lawyer, politician, and jurist in South Carolina.

Portrait of Andrew Pickens

Andrew Pickens

Andrew Pickens was a militia leader in the American Revolutionary War and US Representative from Abbeville County, SC.

Black and white photo of Francis Pickens

Francis Wilkinson Pickens

Lawyer, state and federal legislator, US ambassador to Russia, and governor of South Carolina. Born in Pickens, SC

Charles Pinckney with a powdered wig

Charles Pinckney

Charles Pinckney was a lawyer, governor of South Carolina, and signer of the United States Constitution.

A drawing of a man in early American military uniform.

Thomas Pinckney

Thomas Pinckney was an early American statesman, diplomat, and soldier in the American Revolution and the War of 1812.

Charles Cotesworth Pinckney wearing a powdered wig and a black and gold coat

Charles Cotesworth Pinckney

Charles Cotesworth Pinckney was a South Carolina lawyer and signer of the United States Constitution.

Joel Roberts Poinsett portrait. Black and white.

Joel Roberts Poinsett

Joel Roberts Poinsett was a US Representative, the first US Minister to Mexico, and US Secretary of War under Martin Van Buren.

Joseph Hayne Rainey sitting in a chair

Joseph Hayne Rainey

Joseph Hayne Rainey was the first African American to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives.

An older man in a dark and light suit sitting in a chair.

Alonzo Jacob Ransier

Alonzo Jacob Ransier was South Carolina's first Black lieutenant governor.

John Gardiner Richards wearing a dark suit

John Gardiner Richards, Jr.

John Gardiner Richards, Jr. was the governor of South Carolina from 1926-1931.

Richard Riley wearing a black suit and burgundy tie

Richard Wilson Riley

Richard Wilson Riley was the governor of South Carolina from 1979-1987.

Black and white photo of Donald Russell smiling and posing in front of law books

Donald Stuart Russell

Army Major, Lawyer, University of South Carolina President, SC Governor, US Senator, Assistant US Secretary of State, US District Judge, US Circuit Judge

Edward Rutledge wearing a powdered wig.

Edward Rutledge

Edward Rutledge was the youngest signer of the Declaration of Independence and later governor of South Carolina from 1798-1800.

John Rutledge wearing a black dress coat and a powdered wig.

John Rutledge

John Rutledge was a signer of the US constitution and the first governor of South Carolina following the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

Color photograph of Mark Sanford

Mark Sanford

Real estate developer, congressman, governor

color photograph of Tim Scott

Tim Scott

Tim Scott is a member of the U.S. Senate from South Carolina.

Black and white photograph of William Simpson

William Dunlap Simpson

Legislator, judge, governor

Robert Smalls wearing a dark suit and bow tie.

Robert Smalls

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.

Black and white photograph of Ellison DuRant Smith

Ellison DuRant Smith

Ellison DuRant Smith was a Democratic politician in South Carolina who was widely known for his racist and segregationist views and advocacy of white supremacy.

side portrait of John Taylor

John Taylor

Congressman, governor, U.S. senator.

black and white photograph of Hugh Thompson

Hugh Smith Thompson

Educator, governor

Sketch of Waddy Thompson

Waddy Thompson

SC House of Representatives, US Congress, US Diplomat to Mexico. Born in Pickens Co., lived in Greenville Co. and Edgefield Co.

Strom Thurmond

Strom Thurmond

Strom Thurmond was a governor of South Carolina from 1947-1951 and the oldest and 2nd longest-serving U.S. Senator.

Benjamin Tillman with one eye closed.

Benjamin Ryan Tillman

Benjamin Ryan Tillman was the governor of South Carolina from 1890-1894 who founded what is now Clemson University.

An older woman holding a pen and wearing a black judge robe.

Jean Hoefer Toal

First woman serving as Chief Justice of the SC Supreme Court; lawyer, jurist

Julius Waring

Julius Waties Waring

Judge J. Waties Waring was the dissenting opinion in the Briggs v. Elliott court case; a white Southerner who advocated for justice and an end to segregation in the education system.

John C. West

John C. West

John C. West was a Lieutenant Governor and Governor of South Carolina and United States Ambassador to Saudi Arabia (1977-1981).

black and white photograph of Lucille Whipper

Lucille Simmons Whipper

Lucille Simmons Whipper was the first Black woman to represent a Charleston County seat in the legislature and the first woman of color ever to be elected to the SC General Assembly.

Black and white photograph of David Williams

David Rogerson Williams

45th Governor of South Carolina.

black and white photograph of John Wilson

John Lyde Wilson

49th Governor of South Carolina

Stern looking Woodrow Wilson with thin framed glasses

Woodrow Wilson

Thomas Woodrow Wilson was a politician and academic who served as the 28th president of the United States from 1913 to 1921.

Jonathan Jasper Wright

Jonathan Jasper Wright

Justice Jonathan Jasper Wright was the first African American to practice law in South Carolina.