1626 Gervais Street
Site of Josiah Morse Residence
Josiah Morse (1879-1946), the University of South Carolina's first Jewish professor, arrived in Columbia in 1911 and spent the next three decades tremendously impacting the lives of his students, including future Civil Rights advocate and state senator Hyman Rubin, Sr. (1913-2005). No stranger to prejudice (he changed his name from Moses to Morse after failed attempts to secure a university position), Morse improved race relations by organizing interracial activities with local black colleges and serving as a founding member of the University Commission on the Southern Race Question. He also proposed the reestablishment of the dormant B'nai B'rith lodge, a fraternal order of Jewish men, which was chartered on February 13, 1936. With Morse as its first president, the lodge assisted refugees fleeing the Nazi regime. It was later renamed in honor of the activist following his death in 1946.