South Carolina Famous People

Famous Americans: History and Biographies

South Carolina Famous People: Greeting from South Carolina

Links to histories and biographies of the famous people of South Carolina. Many famous people of South Carolina have made significant contributions to the history of our nation and the state of South Carolina. These famous Americans, famous entertainers, famous players, famous scientist, famous singers, famous statesmen, famous women, heroes, great explorers, and others South Carolina famous Americans have all made South Carolina their home. This list includes South Carolina historical figures, celebrities and those individuals of South Carolina who have influenced the lives of others.

Famous People from South Carolina

  • Mary McLeod Bethune  Born in 1875, one of 17 children of former slaves, Mary McLeod Bethune founded the Daytona Normal and Industrial Institute for Negro Girls (now Bethune-Cookman College) in 1904, and served as president from 1904-1942 and from 1946-47. She was a leader in the black women's club movement and served as president of the National Association of Colored Women. She was the Director of Negro Affairs in the National Youth Administration from 1936 to 1944, and served as consultant to the U.S. Secretary of War for selection of the first female officer candidates. She was appointed consultant on interracial affairs and understanding at the charter conference of the United Nations and was founder of the National Council of Negro Women and Vice-president of the NAACP.
  • James F. Byrnes (1879 - 1972) Senator, Secretary of State, Governorn; born in Charleton.
  • Chubby Checker (1941 - ) Best known for his song "The Twist"; born in Spring Gulley.
  • Mark Clark (1896 - 1984) US Army general that led Allied troops during World War II; president of the Citadel; lived in Charleston.
  • Alex English (1954 - ) - The NBA's most prolific scorer during the 1980's; born in Columbia.
  • Althea Gibson (1927 - ) First African American woman to win Wimbledon and US National tennis championships; born in Silver.
  • Dizzy Gillespie (1917 - 1993) John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie, born on October 21, 1917 in Cheraw, South Carolina, the youngest of nine children, emerged as a trumpet player whose role as a founding father of jazz made him a major figure in 20th-century American music. His signature moon cheeks and bent trumpet made him one of the world's most instantly recognizable figures.

    In a nearly 60-year career as a composer, bandleader and innovative player, Gillespie cut a huge swath through the jazz world. In the early 1940's, along with the alto saxophonist Charlie (Yardbird) Parker, he initiated be-bop, the sleek, intense, high speed revolution that has become jazz's most enduring style. In subsequent years, he incorporated Afro-Cuban music into jazz, creating a new genre from the combination. Dizzy Gillespie died in 1993.
  • Andrew Jackson (1767 - 1845) The 7th US president; born in the Waxhaws area.
  • Jesse Jackson (1941 - ) Jesse Louis Jackson was born October 8, 1941, in Greenville, South Carolina. In 1959 Jackson left South Carolina to attend the University of Illinois. Dissatisfied with his treatment on campus, he decided to transfer to North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College. After receiving his B.A. in sociology, Jackson attended the Chicago Theological Seminary. He was ordained a Baptist minister in 1968.

    Jackson joined the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in 1965. In 1966 Jackson became involved with the SCLC's Operation Breadbasket, and from 1967 to 1971, he served as the program's executive director. Jackson resigned from the SCLC in 1971 to found his own organization, Operation PUSH (People United to Save Humanity). Through PUSH Jackson continued to pursue the economic objectives of Operation Breadbasket and expanded into areas of social and political development. Jackson soon became the most visible and sought-after civil rights leader in the country.
  • Joe Frazier (1944 - ) 1964 Olympic heavyweight champion. He was heavyweight champion from 1970-1973; born in Beaufort.
  • Francis Marion (1721 - 1795) Known as the "Swamp Fox" for his strategy of fighting the British during the Revolutionary War; born in Winyah.
  • Robert Mills (1781 - 1855) Designer of the Washington Monument in Washington D.C.; born in Charleston.
  • Julia Peterkin (1880 - 1961) Novelist. She was the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Scarlet Sister Mary in 1929.
  • Vanna WhiteVanna White (born February 18, 1957) is an American television personality and film actress best known as the hostess of Wheel of Fortune since 1982. White was born Vanna Marie Rosich in Conway, South Carolina the daughter of Joan Marie and Miguel Angel Rosich. Her father was Puerto Rican. He abandoned the family and White took the name of her stepfather, Herbert Stackley White Jr., a former real estate agent in what is now North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

More Famous People of South Carolina

Find more more South Carolina famous people below. You may not even realize many of these famous people were born in South Carolina or notable associated with South Carolina, including actors, actresses, explorers, historical figures, inventors, musicians, novelists, professional athletes, important politicians, singers, sport stars and more.

  • Whispering Bill Anderson songwriter, Columbia
  • Bernard Baruch statesman, Camden
  • James Godfather Brown singer, Barnwell
  • Joseph H. Burckhalter inventor, Columbia
  • John C. Calhoun statesman, Calhoun Mills
  • DuBose Heyward poet, playwright, author, Charleston
  • Charlayne Hunter-Gault journalist, Due West
  • Eartha Kitt singer, North
  • Robert Evander McNair governor, Cades
  • Ronald McNair astronaut, Lake City
  • John Rutledge jurist, Charleston
  • Strom Thurmond politician, Edgefield
  • Charles Hard Townes physicist, Greenville
  • William Westmoreland army chief of staff, Spartanburg
US Famous People
Learn history through the biographies of the famous people from your state.