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Published on February 24th, 2014 | by Millennium Magazine Staff

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Columbia SC 63 Unveils Historic Marker for First Black-Owned Bank

Pictured above from left; Brian DeQuincy Newman, Columbia City Council, Tom Felder, President and CEO, SC Community Bank, Martha Cunningham Monteith and Franchot Brown, Esq., former board member of Victory Savings Bank

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Columbia SC 63, along with Historic Columbia, unveiled a historic marker at South Carolina’s first black-owned bank, Victory Savings Bank.

“Two generations ago, Victory Savings Bank stood as an important institution in a thriving African American commercial district,” said Dr. Bobby Donaldson, Associate Professor of History at the University of South Carolina and lead historian with Columbia SC 63. “The new marker and this building are reminders of the history lessons that are all around us. The story of Victory Savings is one of enormous struggle, defiance, and service. ”

Victory Savings Bank, founded in 1921 and located at 919 Washington Street in the Congaree Vista, was the first, and for many years the only, black-owned bank in South Carolina.

Chartered by I.J. Joseph, I.S. Leevy and C.E. Stephenson, the bank originally opened at 1107 Washington Street in the heart of Columbia’s black business district before moving to 919 Washington Street in 1955. In 1999 Victory Savings Bank became SC Community 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 city of 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.”

Notable Columbia, SC Civil Rights leader and trailblazer, Modjeska Monteith Simkins, held various positions at Victory Savings Bank.

About Historic Columbia:
In November 1961, a small group of individual’s intent on saving the Ainsley Hall House from demolition officially incorporated as the Historic Columbia Foundation. Over the next five decades the organization, which was founded on the premise of preservation and education, would take on the stewardship of seven historic properties in Richland County. Today, the organization serves as a model for local preservation efforts and interpretation of local history. Visit historiccolumbia.org or find us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or YouTube for more details.

About Columbia SC 63:
To raise awareness and understanding of a truly pivotal chapter in American history, Columbia, South Carolina has joined several other Southeastern cities to commemorate 50 years since the height of the Civil Rights Movement. Comprising a diverse coalition of community leaders, educators, students, residents and others, Columbia SC 63 will explore remarkable accounts of strength, determination and sacrifice that define how and why “Our Story Matters” – historically and for the future – to South Carolina and to our nation. Columbia SC 63 is a partnership of the city of Columbia, Columbia Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau, Historic Columbia Foundation and the University of South Carolina. For more information about activities and events associated with this initiative please visit ColumbiaSC63.com.

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