S.C. Arts Awards: S.C. African American Heritage Commission

2019 Recipient Feature Series

As the day nears for the 2019 South Carolina Arts Awards, The Hub is taking 15 days to focus on this year’s recipients: nine receiving the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Awards for the Arts and five receiving the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award, which are managed jointly by the South Carolina Arts Commission and McKissick Museum at UofSC. In between the two groups, we’ll run a special feature on S.C. Arts Awards sponsor Colonial Life.


South Carolina African American
Heritage Commission

Arts in Education Category | Organization

The S.C. African American Heritage Commission (SCAAHC) identifies and promotes the preservation of historic sites, structures, buildings, and culture of the African American experience in South Carolina, and assists and enhances the efforts of the S.C. Department of Archives and History. A joint resolution of the General Assembly in 1993 established the South Carolina African American Heritage Council, re-established as a commission in 2001. The 15-member commission includes representatives from all regions of the state.

The commission’s goals are to: increase the social, political, and economic value of African American heritage; encourage and demonstrate respect for all heritage; encourage the documentation of African American heritage; institutionalize African American heritage as an ongoing goal of preservation; and explore every area of South Carolina for African American contributions.

The SCAAHC is known across the state for publishing A Teacher’s Guide to African American Historic Places in South Carolina. The guide was originally published in 2008, revised in 2012, then updated in 2015. But in 2016, they published the first arts-integrated supplement. The work was the product of a team of dedicated teachers and college students from across South Carolina representing grades K-12.

That supplement was updated in 2018 to incorporate 2017 South Carolina College-and Career-Ready Standards for Visual and Performing Arts Proficiency. The current version added 18 lesson plans to the 22-plan 2016 supplement, giving teachers 30 potential lessons that merge arts learning with learning about African American history and achievements.

Other notable arts-related accomplishments include publishing The Business of Rural Heritage, Culture and Art: An Introductory Resource Guide for Entrepreneurs; presenting FREED, African American female Civil War reenactors in 2018; featuring award-winning speaker, storyteller and artist Natalie Daise in her production “Becoming Harriet Tubman” in 2012; and presenting Opera Noire in Columbia and Hartsville in 2010.

In 2017, the SCAAHC received acclaim for launching “Green Book of South Carolina,” an online travel guide to S.C.  African American historic and cultural sites.

For more, visit their website.


South Carolina Arts Awards Day is Wednesday, May 1, 2019. The festivities begin at 10 a.m. with a reception that leads up to the awards ceremony at the UofSC Alumni Center (900 Senate St., Columbia). The event is free and open to the public. Following the ceremony, the South Carolina Arts Foundation honors the recipients and the arts community at the S.C. Arts Awards Luncheon and Art Sale. Tickets are $50. Please go here for more information and reservations.


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