South Carolina’s first black-owned bank remembered with new Columbia historical marker

Victory Savings, the bank that became SC Community Bank in 1999, was the first in South Carolina to be owned by black people, and its location was commemorated Monday with the unveiling of a new historic marker by Columbia SC 63 and Historic Columbia.

“The story of Victory Savings is one of enormous struggle, defiance, and service,” said Bobby Donaldson, associate professor of history at the University of South Carolina and lead historian with Columbia SC 63.

The new Victory Savings Bank marker (photo provided)

(L-R) Columbia City Councilman Brian DeQuincey Newman, SC Community Bank President & CEO Tom Felder, and former Victory Savings Bank board members Martha Cunningham Monteith and Franchot Brown at the unveiling of the new Victory Savings Bank historical marker Monday (photo provided).

Chartered by I.J. Joseph, I.S. Leevy and C.E. Stephenson, the bank originally opened in 1921 at 1107 Washington St. in the heart of Columbia’s black business district before moving to 919 Washington St. in 1955.

Civil rights leader Modjeska Monteith Simkins held various positions at Victory Savings Bank.

“It’s important we as a city, state and nation never forget those who came before us much like the individuals who laid the foundations for establishments like Victory Savings Bank,” said Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin. “Their bravery, unwavering focus and fight for equality allows us today to go fully in any direction we desire and for that, we thank them.”





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