Celia Dial Saxon


Celia Dial Saxon (1857-1935) was born into slavery and became one of South Carolina’s most beloved educators. She graduated in 1877 from the teaching college on the University of South Carolina campus when it was integrated during Reconstruction after the Civil War. Saxon taught for 57 years in Columbia’s Black public schools, including Howard School and Booker T. Washington High School. She also taught history and geography in summer institutes at Benedict College and present day South Carolina State University. On September 12, 1930, the Columbia school board renamed the formerly all-white Blossom Street Elementary School in her honor and re-opened it as an African American institution.

Image courtesy of Richard Samuel Roberts Collection, South Caroliniana Library

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