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African American Historical Society of Laurens County, South Carolina

By Felicia Little Wilson, MD and Carolyn Beasley Shortt

 

The city of Laurens officially opened the Back Street Park on November 6, 2020, a space dedicated to the legacy of African American owned businesses that operated along that street.

Honoring the legacy of these African American entrepreneurs is a great place to begin telling the history of African Americans’ contributions to the development of Laurens County.  Not only has the entire story of African Americans in Laurens County not been told, but also many of the dwellings and artifacts have been largely erased.  To that end, Carolyn Beasley Shortt and Felicia Little Wilson, M.D., as direct heirs of the Back Street business owners, created the concept of an African American Historical Society for Laurens County on December 27, 2020.  The concept is to work fully to preserve and present a more comprehensive history of all African American contributions.

 

Our Mission is to serve as a vehicle for collaborative and collective approaches to document and preserve the important, cultural history of African Americans in Laurens County.

 

Our goals are:

  • To define legacies and pay homage to the African American pioneers of

Laurens County knowing the past opens doors to the future

  • To advance cultural awareness through the power of identity that history provides
  • To educate and enrich our young generation to draw inspiration and guidance from past accomplishments
  • To stimulate our sense of community and good citizenship
  • To engage the community to social action for continued contributions to improve our community

 

We will fulfill our mission and accomplish our goals while ensuring historical accuracy through extensive research, source documentation, interviewing direct descendants, and establishing a repository of annotated items for display at the Laurens County Museum.

Carolyn Beasley Shortt

Carolyn Beasley Shortt

Felicia Little Wilson, MD

Felicia Little Wilson, MD

Images from Back Street Park Dedication Ceremony on November 6, 2020.

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