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Morgan Hall, the Oldest Building on the Campus of Benedict College is Featured in Experience Columbia SC First History Tourism Trail

Built in 1895, Morgan Hall was the home of five Benedict College Presidents.

COLUMBIA, SC, May 19, 2021 Experience Columbia recently announced the destination’s first history-centered tourism trail.  – Reconstructed: A Journey Through the Reconstruction Era in Columbia SC.  The trail features eight stops including Benedict College, and highlights 10 post-Civil War trailblazers who provide a new perspective to residents and visitors on how the past has shaped our modern nation. The trail touts the only museum dedicated to the Reconstruction Era, Historic Columbia’s Museum of The Reconstruction Era at the Woodrow Wilson Family Home.  Visit ReconstructedColumbiaSC.com for more information and to download the trail booklet.

“As Benedict College continues its sesquicentennial plus celebration, we are reminded of our mission and stature in City of Columbia,” said, Dr. Roslyn Clark Artis, President and CEO of Benedict College. “Just five years shy of Emancipation, our founder, Bathsheba Benedict, had the bold idea of changing the trajectory of recently freed slaves through education. We are proud that our historical buildings are still standing tall as a testament to those heroes and sheroes of the Reconstruction Era.”

Following the Civil War, the United States faced challenges in learning how to rebuild and reintegrate states that had seceded in the union, while African Americans sought a better life, as slavery was abolished and their legal status was being determined. A Black-majority legislature was the first to occupy the South Carolina State House, and South Carolina is the only state in the U.S. to elect a Black-majority legislature to this day.

“Many people don’t know how important the Reconstruction Era was to our nation, let alone that many of the most iconic buildings are still standing today in South Carolina’s capital,” said Charlene Slaughter, director of communications for Experience Columbia SC. “We’re proud to partner with Historic Columbia to bring this time period to life in an authentic and meaningful way to residents and visitors.”

“The period of Reconstruction was pivotal in our city and the nation’s history, yet myths surrounding this time remain prevalent today,” said Robin Waites, executive director for Historic Columbia. “We found it critical in this moment to partner with Experience Columbia SC on ‘Reconstructed’ to showcase Columbia’s historic sites essential to the Reconstruction Era. Through this tour, visitors will explore the history of the places and people significant to Reconstruction, while also becoming familiar with the advancements made by Black citizens prior to their rights being revoked under Jim Crow. It’s our hope that everyone who takes the tour comes away with an appreciation for the Black men and women who were trailblazers for freedom and equality. Their stories deserve to be heard.”

Sites include:

  • The Museum of The Reconstruction Era at the Woodrow Wilson Family Home
  • Benedict College
  • Reconstruction Era Churches
  • Phoenix Building
  • South Carolina State House
  • University of South Carolina
  • Hampton-Preston Mansion & Gardens
  • Randolph Cemetery

In addition to historic sites, the experience highlights noteworthy trailblazers such as Clarissa Minnie Thompson, Mack Johnson, Robert Brown Elliot and the Rollins sisters. 

Visitors and residents can pick up a copy of the trail guide at the Columbia SC Visitor’s Center, Historic Columbia’s Gift Shop at Robert Mills or learn more by visiting reconstructedcolumbiasc.com, a new web presence meant to accompany the experience. The trail can be accessed digitally by scanning the QR code found on the Reconstruction Trail booklets.

Historic Columbia will continue to examine the historical connection between recent national events, the state of American democracy and the Reconstruction Era through a virtual program series called, “Our Vulnerable Democracy: Past, Present, and Future.” To learn more, visit historiccolumbia.org.

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 About Benedict College 

Founded in 1870 by a woman, Bathsheba A. Benedict, Benedict College is a private co-educational liberal arts institution, offering 25 competitive baccalaureate degree programs. The Midlands HBCU welcomes students from all 46 counties in South Carolina, 30 states across America, and 26 countries around the world. 

Benedict offers several high-demand fields of study in STEM, Cyber Security, Mass Communication, Sport Management, Business Administration, Engineering, Computer Science, Biology, and Education. The College also has a diverse faculty and importantly, 80 percent of courses are taught by full-time faculty. 

There are over 18,000 proud Benedict Tigers throughout the nation. Benedict College has been a community leader for over 150-years and is a significant contributor to South Carolina and the region. Contributing $130 million and 1,218 jobs in total local and annual economic impact, a Benedict graduate working full-time throughout his or her working life can expect to earn $1.1 million in additional income because of their Benedict College degree. 

The College made front-page news in the spring of 2018 when it became the first South Carolina college to lower its tuition by 26 percent. Cutting tuition drew praise from the Commission on Higher Education, South Carolina’s education oversight body. The commissioner noted that the move Benedict College made should be applauded because it offers families affordability and students greater access to higher education. 

Benedict College has been highly regarded and exceptionally ranked for its programs by several academic and traditional publications.  For example, Benedict College was ranked as one of the top baccalaureate colleges in the nation by Washington Monthly magazine for creating social mobility and producing cutting-edge scholarship and research.  In 2019, Benedict College received the 2019 ACE/ Fidelity Investments Awards for Institutional Transformation and was named the HBCU of the Year by HBCU Digest

Benedict College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award baccalaureate and master’s degrees. Five of the College’s degree programs hold national accreditation: The School of Education, Social Work Program, Environmental Health Science Program, Studio Art Program, and the Tyrone Adam Burroughs School of Business and Entrepreneurship. 

About Experience Columbia SC 

Experience Columbia SC is the region’s destination marketing organization. We’re responsible for all marketing efforts intended to help more visitors discover all that makes Columbia the real Southern hot spot. Think of us as the biggest cheerleader for the heart of South Carolina. For more information, please visit www.experiencecolumbiasc.com.

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