Historic Columbia Hosts Press Conference in Advance of the Mann-Simons Site Reopening
Who: Historic Columbia and its Board of Trustees
What: Historic Columbia will host a press conference in advance of the Mann-Simons Site reopening at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 15. Press conference speakers will include:
- Mayor Steve Benjamin, City of Columbia
- John Dozier, Historic Columbia Board of Trustees vice president
- Cleveland Smith, Mann-Simons family member
- Robin Waites, Historic Columbia executive director
- Moderated by Beryl Dakers, Historic Columbia steering committee member
After the press conference, members of the media are invited to tour the historic site’s new permanent exhibits for the first time.
When: 10 a.m., Thursday, Sept. 15
Where: Mann-Simons Site, 1403 Richland Street, Columbia, S.C., 29201
Why: Through modern research and archaeological evidence, the new permanent exhibits at the Mann-Simons Site tell a rich, multi-generational story of the African American family who lived, worked and prospered on this downtown Columbia block for 130 years. The lives they led in Antebellum Columbia, through the Civil War and Reconstruction, the Jim Crow era, and into the early civil rights movement years, give context to the city we are today. After two years of extensive work to the building, grounds and exhibits, this important African American site will officially reopen to the public at Jubilee: Festival of Black History & Culture on Saturday, Sept. 17.
About the Mann-Simons Site: Although only one house stands today, the Mann-Simons Site was a collection of commercial and domestic spaces owned and operated by the same African American family from at least 1843 until 1970. The property and its multiple buildings changed considerably over time to better accommodate the needs, tastes and aspirations of this remarkable family. In 1970, through eminent domain, the Columbia Housing Authority acquired the site, leading to a grassroots preservation movement that saved the main house, which opened as a museum in 1978. Today, the Mann-Simons Site reflects the entrepreneurial spirit, which empowered the family to become successful middle-class bakers, tailors, seamstresses and musicians.
About Historic Columbia:
In November 1961, a small group of individuals 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. Visithistoriccolumbia.org or find us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or YouTube for more details.