South Carolina Picture Project
South Carolina Picture Project

African-American Monument — Columbia, South Carolina

SC Picture Project  |  Richland County  |  African-American Monument

Adopt A South Carolina Landmark
African-American Monument

Sitting on the South Carlina State House grounds in Columbia is the expansive African-American Monument. It was installed in 2001 as part of the compromise that saw the Confederate flag moved from the statehouse dome to the grounds near the Confederate monument.

African American Monument Statehouse

Ron Cogswell, Arlington, VA, 2012 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The African-American Monument is the work of Colorado sculptor Ed Dwight, who has created several works of art celebrating African-American life. Standing two floors high and spanning 25 feet, the memorial tells the story of African-Americans in South Carolina from their arrival during the slave trade to the modern age. According to Dwight, the demilune shape of the monument reflects an African village built in the round.

African American Panel

Vicenc Feliu, Newtown Square, PA, 2011 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Though important figures in South Carolina history may be implied in the monument, no specific person is mentioned in text or directly depicted. During the design phase of the monument, the commission for the project asked that no specific person be depicted in the memorial so as to avoid the representation of controversial figures such as Denmark Vesey, a freed slave accused of planning a slave revolt in 1822.

African American Monument Panel

Vicenc Feliu, Newtown Square, PA, 2011 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Strong feelings regarding the removal of the Confederate flag from atop the Statehouse and the direction of the African-American Monument made for conflict among members of the commission during the planning phases. Yet the project continued and was completed at a cost of $1.1 million, which was comprised solely of private donations.

African American Monument Columbia

Ron Cogswell, Arlington, VA, 2012 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The monument was dedicated on March 29, 2001. The Chairman of the Monument Commission was then-Senator Glenn McConnell, and the Vice Chairman was Representative Gilda Cobb-Hunter.

African American Monument Detail

Ron Cogswell, Arlington, VA, 2012 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

An obelisk bearing a plaque in honor of sculptor Ed Dwight stands before the monument, and an image representing human bodies packed into a slave ship sailing the Middle Passage rests on the ground in front of the obelisk (seen below). The African-American Monument is said to be the first of its kind on any statehouse grounds in the United States.

African American Monument Slave Ship

Marcellina Rodriguez of Baltimore, MD, 2008 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

African-American Monument Info

Address: 1100 Gervais Street, Columbia, SC 29201
GPS Coordinates: 34.000488,-81.032448

African-American Monument Map

2 Comments about African-American Monument

Terrian Givens says:
June 25th, 2015 at 5:56 am

Ashley Cherry Simmons, I couldn't have said better myself.

Ashley says:
June 24th, 2015 at 8:53 am

The flag has been represented by some in a negative, offensive, and racist way. So therefore it should be removed. The monument will still be there, which is a part of HISTORY and should be displayed without the Confederate flag. The flag belongs in a museum. Saying the African-American Monument should be removed is ridiculous because it is a part of history which we all need to never forget what happened to this world. African-Americans were the ones who built America. Never forget that. Whites came and took over and killed the Indians for their land and resources and stole blacks to build what they couldn’t do. If tables were turned you would have the same thought. Need I say more…. Have a good day.


Join Us on Facebook
Search for Landmarks


Abbeville ACE Basin Adams Run Aiken Allendale Anderson Awendaw Bamberg Banks Barns & Farms Barnwell Batesburg-Leesville Beaches Beaufort Beech Island Belton Bennettsville Bishopville Blackville Bluffton Bridges Bygone Landmarks Camden Carnegie Libraries Cayce Cemeteries Charleston Charleston Navy Base Cheraw Chester Chesterfield Churches Clemson Clinton Clio Colleges Columbia Conway Cordesville Courthouses Darlington Daufuskie Island Denmark Dillon Donalds Easley Edgefield Edisto Elloree Erhardt Fairfax Florence Folly Beach Forests and Nature Preserves Fort Mill Fountain Inn Gaffney Garden City Beach Georgetown Glenn Springs Graniteville Greeleyville Greenville Greenwood Greer Hamburg Hampton Hardeeville Hartsville Hemingway Hilton Head Historical Photos Historic Houses Honea Path Hopkins Hotels & Inns Huger Hunting Island Isle of Palms Jails James Island Jamestown Johns Island Johnsonville Johnston Kiawah Island Kingstree Lake City Lake Marion Lakes Lancaster Landrum Latta Laurens Lexington Libraries Lighthouses Little River Lowndesville Manning Marion McClellanville McCormick Military Mills Moncks Corner Mountains Mount Carmel Mount Pleasant Mullins Murrells Inlet Myrtle Beach National Register Newberry Ninety Six North Augusta North Charleston North Myrtle Beach Orangeburg Pacolet Parks Pawleys Island Pendleton Pickens Piers Pinopolis Plantations Pomaria Port Royal Post Offices Ravenel Restaurants Ridge Spring Ridgeway Rivers Roadside Oddities Robert Mills Rock Hill Rockville Rosenwald Schools Salters Saluda Savannah River Site SC Artists SC Heroes of the Alamo Schools Seneca Shrimp Boats Society Hill Spartanburg Sports Springs St. George St. Helena Island St. Matthews Stateburg Stores Sullivan's Island Summerton Summerville Sumter Sunset Sunsets Synagogues Town Clocks Trains & Depots Trees Trenton Troy Turbeville Ulmer Union Wadmalaw Island Walhalla Walterboro Ware Shoals Waterfalls Water Towers Wedgefield West Columbia Westminster Winnsboro Woodruff Yemassee York