Public invited to groundbreaking for Rock Hill African-American history monument

Local leaders will hold a groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday afternoon for a planned African-American history monument in Rock Hill.

This week’s event and the future monument will pay tribute to the historical black business district that once stood just outside Rock Hill’s downtown. The district was generally located along Trade Street –– now named Dave Lyle Boulevard –– and it sat between West Black and West Main streets.

During a period of concentrated economic growth and “urban renewal,” the black business district dissolved in the mid-1970s when the city of Rock Hill demolished most of the buildings. Now, the local African-American Cultural Resources Committee and the city want to honor the contributions of the business owners who operated in the old black business district.

The planned monument –– which has been designed to look like a storefront –– will sit at the corner of Dave Lyle Boulevard and West Black Street, near the railroad underpass. Stories and photos of the former business district will be featured on the monument.

The committee raised money for the monument, with the city contributing about $20,000 for the project.

Before the groundbreaking on Thursday, members of the Rock Hill African-American Cultural Resources Committee will participate in an exhibit and ceremony at the Old Town Amphitheater in front of City Hall on Black Street. There, special guests will share memories of their family members’ former businesses in the black business district.

Thursday’s event is free and open to the public. The ceremony will start at the amphitheater in downtown at 4 p.m. From there, city officials and others will hold a groundbreaking at the future monument site.