Image courtesy South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia
Barrier-breaking librarian. Community historian. Ethel Martin Bolden carried the mantle of many responsibilities, but on a June weekend in 1986, she was just another graduate of Booker T. Washington High School’s class of 1936. As a tour bus full of her classmates listened, Bolden reflected on the progress Columbia had made in those 50 years. “You know, when Charles [my husband] and I used to go to the movies, we’d go up to the capitol afterwards, but they wouldn’t let us sit down in there,” she recalled. More than 50 years later, when Bolden became one of two faculty members to integrate Dreher High School in 1968, she finally had a seat at the table. Some things though, hadn’t changed at all.
Columbia City of Women's mission: T
o connect Columbia residents of all backgrounds, and all gender identities, to the rich legacies of our all-too-often undersung women leaders, whose contributions are woven into the fabric of this city.