Black Carolinians Speak: Portraits of a Pandemic

The SC African American Heritage Commission (SCAAHC) will open the exhibit “Black Carolinians Speak: Portraits of a Pandemic,” on Friday, July 16, 2021 at the SC Archives and History Center at 8301 Parklane Road in Columbia. Additionally, public programs will take place in the fall. SC Humanities supported this project with a Major Grant.

The exhibit displays expressions from African Americans in South Carolina about the Coronavirus pandemic, and follows a year-long oral history project that captured more than 100 voices. Paintings, drawings, poetry, photography and some excerpts from hours of interviews will be showcased. It will be on display through September 17, 2021. The SC Department of Archives and History is open from 9 am to 4:30 pm Monday through Saturday, except state holidays.

SCAAHC also will host a panel discussion on public health at 7 p.m. Friday, July 15, which will be streamed live on its Facebook account (@SCAAHC1993). The discussion will be moderated by Dr. Bobby Donaldson, Director of the UofSC’s Center for Civil Rights History and Research, and will feature panelists Dr. Linda Bell, South Carolina’s State Epidemiologist; Dr. Marvin Dulaney, the exhibit’s co-curator, and Michael Allen, the exhibit’s visionary and member of the SCAAHC.

After the exhibit closes on Sept. 17, the SCAAHC will offer two public programs to discuss the pandemic’s specific impact on African American communities. For the remainder of 2021, the SCAAHC will work collaboratively with North Carolina’s African American Heritage Commission to capture impressions in 35 counties in the Tarheel State, and develop a virtual exhibit by the spring of 2022.

The first public program will take place in Seneca on Tuesday, September 21, 2021, and the second public program will take place on Sunday, October 31 in mid-afternoon at the Sweetgrass Pavilion at Waterfront Park in Mt. Pleasant. Speakers will share about the impact that Covid-19 had on their community for 45 minutes, moderated by Michael Allen, followed by 15 minutes of Q&A.

For more information about the “Black Carolinians Speak: Portraits of a Pandemic” project, visit

The mission of SC Humanities is to enrich the cultural and intellectual lives of all South Carolinians. Established in 1973, this 501(c) 3 organization is governed by a volunteer 21-member Board of Directors comprised of community leaders from throughout the state. It presents and/or supports literary initiatives, lectures, exhibits, festivals, publications, oral history projects, videos and other humanities-based experiences that directly or indirectly reach more than 250,000 citizens annually.


Communal by Jonathan Green©

Courtesy of Carl and Pat Miller Collection