Modjeska Monteith Simkins House
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Named for its groundbreaking resident, the Modjeska Monteith Simkins House (2025 Marion St., 803/252-7742) is an interesting bit of little-known Columbia history. The home’s namesake became South Carolina’s first full-time African American public health worker in the 1930s, doing important work to stem the epidemic spread of tuberculosis and pellagra among the area’s black population.
By extension, her work brought her into the field of social justice, and in her regular meetings here she was soon hosting figures such as future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, who was barred from staying at Columbia hotels because of his race.
Simkins went on to be a leading civil rights figure herself, instrumental in the desegregation of the local school system. She died in 1992.
© Jim Morekis from Moon South Carolina, 4th Edition