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Civil Rights Sit-In Commemorated at Charleston Office

Marker unveiled in front of Kress; presentation held in MVA conference room
August 2013

Anyone who walks past downtown Charleston’s S.H. Kress & Co. Building, which became home to Moore & Van Allen’s Charleston office this past March, is now exposed to a mini history lesson.  The Preservation Society of Charleston distinguished the Kress Building with a historic marker during a ceremony and public presentation inside MVA’s office space on the building’s third floor on August 4.

The Kress Building, formerly a five & dime store, was the site of a civil rights lunch counter sit-in with all high school demonstrators on April 1, 1960.  The nearly 7 foot tall marker unveiled at the ceremony stands at the front of the building at 281 King Street, and tells the history of the building and sit-in.  Guest speakers at the event included Minerva Brown King and Cecelia Gordon Rogers, two of the Burke High School students who were arrested after participating in the sit-in.  The ceremony garnered attention from The Post & Courier, Live 5 WCSC News and CBS Evening News.

The Preservation Society of Charleston believes that Charleston is often overlooked as a center of the modern Civil Rights movement, thus asked historians and preservationists to create a list of ten local sites significant to the movement.  The Society then selected five of these sites, Kress Building included, for permanent historic markers.

Founded in 1920, the Preservation Society of Charleston is the oldest community-based membership historic preservation organization in the United States of America.  Their mission is to inspire the involvement of all who dwell in the Lowcountry to honor and respect its material and cultural heritage.  Membership is open to everyone.