Celebrating Spartanburg's Historically Black Communities
Like cities across the United States, the City of Spartanburg failed from its inception to recognize and safeguard the rights of its Black citizens, denying their communities the investments made in white areas and denying Black individuals and families the tools to build generational wealth.
Despite that systemic oppression and racism, Black people in Spartanburg persevered for decades and built strong, proud communities connected by institutions like churches, schools, and small businesses and shepherded by a long list of community leaders. The story of those leaders and the communities they built has never been fully told and their lives and work have never been fully commemorated.
The Southside Cultural Monument will tell that story.
Spartanburg's Southside community in the late 1960s
Featuring images displayed along the monument's panels of Spartanburg's historically Black communities and the people who built and sustained them, the Southside Cultural Monument will be both an artistic display and a celebration of the culture, vibrancy, and dynamism of those communities before urban renewal, a tribute to the economic and cultural engines of the Black experience in our city.
Located at the intersection of South Converse Street and Hudson Barksdale Boulevard at the trailhead of the Mary Wright Greenway, the Spartanburg Cultural Monument will create a new gateway to Spartanburg’s Southside, leveraging previous adjacent trails and greenspace investment on the Southside and providing a physical link between our oldest historically Black community and Downtown Spartanburg.
Southside Cultural Monument rendering
Supported by $940,000 in state funding and by many private contributors, this project will elevate and give recognition to the history of one of South Carolina’s most storied historically Black communities and will help enhance and restore the cultural vibrancy and economic vitality of the Southside for the residents who call it home. With broad support from Spartanburg's leaders and our community, the Southside Cultural Monument will help to bridge both the physical divides created by the injustices of the past and the cultural divides that persist, in the spirit of inclusivity and unity.
The monument will begin construction January, 2023.