Arts and Culture

Shani Gilchrist



Columbia honors Civil Rights pioneer Sarah Mae Flemming

Posted 6/28/2013 6:57:00 PM

The spot where a Columbia woman changed history was renamed in her honor Friday.

The corner of Main and Washington streets downtown will now be known as Sarah Mae Flemming Way in honor of the Civil Rights activist and advocate who hailed from South Carolina’s capital.

Sarah Mae Flemming became an important name in Civil Rights history when she was assaulted and ejected from a bus after attempting to get off the vehicle through its front doors. By filing a lawsuit against the bus operator she set a legal precedent during this pivotal time in our nation’s history.

This honorary street naming is part of Columbia SC 63’s charge to raise awareness and understanding of the events of 1963, which were a tipping point in our nation’s history. It was done in collaboration with the city of Columbia, the University of South Carolina, the Historic Columbia Foundation and the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center and Visitors Bureau.

For this project, which continues through the rest of 2013, Columbia is joining other cities around the Southeast in commemorating 50 years since that fateful time. For more information about activities and events associated with this initiative please visit

You can learn more about Flemming on Sunday at a free screening of the documentary film “Before Rosa: The Unsung Contributions of Sarah Mae Flemming” at 3 p.m. at the Richland County Library’s main branch.