Overview

"We black folk, our history and our present being, are a mirror of all the manifold experiences of America. What we want, what we represent, what we endure is what America is." – Richard Wright (1941)

Columbia, South Carolina’s Mann-Simons Site has meant many things to many people for more than 170 years. Located on the northeast corner of Richland and Marion streets within the heart of downtown, this property was home, work place, spiritual center and a source of pride for members of the same African American family from 1843 through 1970. Following an extensive preservation movement, the last remaining historic structure, a later 19th-century residence, became an historic landmark and museum, celebrated for its association with family matron Celia Mann, a free-black mid-wife who died in 1867. Since 1978, the Mann-Simons Site has served the community as a center for culture and education. 

The museum’s mission is:

  1. To create opportunities for individuals to learn and explore the history of Columbia and the diverse experiences of African Americans in Columbia.
  2. To use the experiences of the Mann-Simons family as a lens into what it means to be an American.
  3. To explore how the histories and experiences of individuals are shaped and informed by larger political-economic, gender, race and class considerations.

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