Washington Street Black Business

Call for Stories & Objects Related to Washington Street Black Business District for the Center for Civil Rights History and Research’s Upcoming Exhibit at the “Our Story Matters” Gallery in the Columbia Museum of Art

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(Columbia, SC) – The Center for Civil Rights History and Research is excited to announce an upcoming exhibition, “Intersections on Main Street: African American Life in Columbia,” that will pay homage to the vibrant history and significant contributions of the Black Business District on Washington Street and the surrounding area.

In collaboration with the Columbia Museum of Art and Columbia SC 63, this exhibition aims to highlight the powerful stories, entrepreneurial spirit, and community resilience that shaped this historic district. We are seeking your feedback and participation in making this exhibition reflect the full history of this important part of Columbia.

This exhibition will explore the history of the African American Business District on Washington Street from Reconstruction to the 1970s. With historical interpretation describing the need for a Black business district in Columbia and its role in the broader community.

This will cover themes such as:

  • Capturing the community through Richard Samuel Roberts’ studio and photography.
  • Economic independence through institutions that supported African Americans such as banks and insurance agencies.
  • Buying Black describing African American-owned businesses.
  • Building a community through living on and frequenting Washington Street
  • Fashion and style, entertainment, community organizations, and organizing.
  • Urban renewal and exploring how some African American businesses and families were pushed out of downtown Columbia.

With photographs, videos, and other materials, this exhibit aims to emphasize the vitality, diversity, and evolution of African American life in Columbia through Washington Street. We thank you in advance for your invaluable contributions to this important community initiative.

Share your story through:

  • Historical Memorabilia: Do you have photographs, documents, or other materials connected to life, businesses, and community on Washington Street? Let us know, and they may be included in the exhibit!
    • Suggested Items:
  • Historical Photographs
  • Business Memorabilia
  • Oral Histories and Interviews
  • Newspaper Clippings and Advertisements
  • Documents and Legal Papers 
  • Memorabilia from Community Events
  • Storytelling: Do you have individual experiences, family stories, or memories related to the Black Business District on Washington Street? We invite you to share them with us, and selected stories may be featured in the exhibit.

Share your story through the Columbia SC 63’s website: columbiasc63.com/share-your-story/

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