African-American Cultural Sites in #yeahTHATgreenville
NOTE: The following list is (as much as possible) organized from north to south geographically, so first cultural sites in the City of Greenville will show, then Simpsonville, and then the town of Fountain Inn.
400 Rutherford Road, Greenville, SC 29609
This is a historic African-American community founded by Benjamin Bruton, a mulatto Freedman in 1874. He built a house and blacksmith shop. Others — a few of them tradesmen like Bruton, but most tenant farmers — soon moved to this area. By 1880, there were 60 African-American families in the area. By 1921, the community had its first church, Bruton Temple Baptist Church. The antebellum three-acre “Society Burial Ground” includes many graves of slaves, free blacks, and Freedmen.
Marker erected by the Greenville County Redevelopment Authority, 2009.
4. Richland Cemetery
8363 Sunflower Street, Greenville, SC 29601
This 6-acre cemetery in the Greenline-Spartanburg neighborhood.was established by the City of Greenville in 1884 as the first municipal cemetery for African-Americans. It was named for nearby Richland Creek. The establishment of the cemetery led to the development of a self-sustaining African-American community in downtown Greenville. The cemetery has over 1,400 graves and is the final resting place of many of Greenville’s most notable African-American educators, health practitioners, and community leaders. The cemetery also features a variety of landscape features, funerary art, and cultural artifacts that distinguish it as a traditional African-American cemetery.
7. John Wesley Methodist Episcopal Church
101 East Court Street, Greenville, SC 29601
Built c. 1899-1903, this church was organized soon after the Civil War by Rev. James R. Rosemond. Although born a slave in Greenville in 1820, Rosemond had been allowed to preach at churches before the Civil War. After the war, he organized 50 Methodist Episcopal churches in the Upstate, this being one of the earliest. The architecture is an excellent example of Gothic Revival church architecture of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
10. The Lynching of Willie Earle
398 Old Bramlett Rd, Greenville, SC 29611
This is the last recorded lynching in South Carolina and the South. On the night of February 15, 1947, white cabdriver Thomas W. Brown was found mortally wounded beside his cab. Earle, a young black man, was thought to be Brown’s last passenger. He was arrested, accused, and held in the Pickens County Jail. Early on February 17, 1947, a white mob took Earle out of the jail, drove him to Greenville and lynched him. Although rare for the era, 31 men were accused and the trial that was held in May drew national attention. Twenty-six men admitted being part of the mob, still an all-white jury acquitted all defendants.
Marker erected by the Willie Earle Commemorative Trail Committee, 2010.
13. Fountain Inn Principal’s House and Teacherage
105 Mt. Zion Drive, Fountain Inn, SC 29644
Built in 1935, this structure is the only remaining building that is historically associated with the Fountain Inn Negro School complex, comprised of the grade school built in 1928 (a Rosenwald school), a high school built in 1930, a library, and the Clayton “Peg Leg” Bates Gymnasium, built in 1942. The teacherage was constructed originally as a home for teachers that provided educational instruction for African-Americans in Fountain Inn and by the 1940s, housed teachers and the principal and his family.
Marker erected by the City of Fountain Inn and the Greenville County Historic Preservation Commission, 2011.