South Carolina Department of Archives and History
National Register Properties in South Carolina

Benedict College Historic District, Richland County (Columbia)
S1081774009601 S1081774009602 S1081774009603 S1081774009604 S1081774009605
Morgan Hall Pratt Hall Duckett Hall Antisdel Chapel Starks Center

The Benedict College Historic District is located near the center of the Benedict College campus. Including five buildings constructed between 1895 and 1937 and displaying a variety of architectural characteristics, the district is a central visual feature of the campus. There have been significant changes in the appearance of the Benedict campus over the years, most notably when the original eighty-acre tract was reduced to twenty acres and more recently in the 1960s when several historic buildings were demolished to build modern facilities. Benedict College is significant as one of the earliest African American colleges in the South and as an institution that has continued to play a prominent role in African American education in South Carolina. It was established as Benedict Institution in 1870 through efforts by the American Baptist Home Mission Society to provide education for freedmen and their descendants. The college is named for Stephen and Bethsheba Benedict of Rhode Island who bequeathed the original funding for the school. The college’s first seven presidents were white Baptist ministers from the North. Not until 1929, when Dr. J. J. Starks succeed to the presidency, did Benedict College have an African American administration. The college served as one of the most significant centers of African American activities in the years before desegregation. A branch of the NAACP was founded at Benedict in 1937 as part of the nationwide NAACP campaign for passage of an anti-lynching bill in Congress. Students took part in a nationwide youth demonstration against lynching in February of that year. This student involvement was significant as one of the first civil rights campaigns in South Carolina before WWII. Listed in the National Register April 20, 1987.

View a map showing the boundaries of the Benedict College Historic District.

View the complete text of the nomination form for this National Register property.

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