Benedict College Historic District

Roughly bounded by Laurel, Oak, Taylor and Harden Sts. on Benedict College campus, Columbia, South Carolina


Morgan Hall

South Carolina Department of Archives and History

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Street View 


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. - SCDAH

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on April 20, 1987
Reference number
Architectural style
Late 19th and 20th Century Revival: Classical Revival
Areas of significance
Ethnic Heritage - Black; Education; Architecture
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
A - Event; C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic functions
College; Single dwelling
Current function
Periods of significance
1900-1924; 1875-1899; 1925-1949
Number of properties
Contributing buildings: 5

Update Log 

  • October 7, 2014: Updated by Michael Miller: Added "Description" & "Street View" and Imported Photo