Columbia in Richland County, South Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
Nathaniel J. Frederick House
Nathaniel J. Frederick (1877-1938), educator, lawyer, newspaper editor, and civil rights activist, lived here from 1904 until his death. This house was built in 1903 by Cap J. Carroll, a prominent businessman and city official whose daughter Corrine married Frederick in 1904. Frederick, who was educated at Claflin College and the University of Wisconsin, was admitted to the S.C. bar in 1913.
Frederick argued more cases before the Supreme Court of S.C. than any black lawyer of his day. He won national attention for defending clients accused of murdering a sheriff in State v. Lowman (1926), but his clients were later lynched. Frederick was principal of the Howard School 1902-18 and president of the State Negro Teachers Association. He edited the Palmetto Leader, the major black newspaper in S.C., 1925-38.
Erected 2012 by The Historic Columbia Foundation, the City of Columbia, and the S.C. Department of Transportation. (Marker Number 40-161.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansCivil Rights • Education. In addition, it is included in the Historically Black Colleges and Universities series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1904.
Location. 34° 0.208′ N, 81° 2.291′ W. Marker is in Columbia, South Carolina, in Richland County. Marker is on Park Street, on the right when traveling north. Located between Washington and Hampton Streets. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1416 Park Street, Columbia SC 29201, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Big Apple (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); North Carolina Mutual Building (about 300 feet away); Victory Savings Bank (about 300 feet away); Israelite Sunday School / Columbia's First Synagogue (about 500 feet away); St. Peter's Church and Ursuline Convent (about 700 feet away); St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church (about 700 feet away); History of the Lincoln Street Tunnel (about 700 feet away); Early Howard School Site (about 800 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Columbia.
Although printed and casted as 2011, the marker was erected in 2012
2. Excerpt The (S.C.) Palmetto Leader, (in the second issue):
A Successful Start, 1925-1927
(The Palmetto Leader was founded on January 10, 1925, in Columbia, South Carolina)
Nathaniel J. Frederick, editor
Nathaniel Jerome Frederick was perhaps the guiding force behind The Palmetto Leader's news side. He was a
lawyer by training, as well as a school principal, a civic activist and an entrepreneur. The newspaper's "news" seemed to be a reflection of his interests.Frederick was admitted to the bar in 1913, but black lawyers were not in great demand even by blacks in South Carolina at the time. At some point before 1920, he was principal of Howard School, a school for blacks. He was a part of the Capital City Civic League, apparently a black civic group in Columbia. The League applied to the national NAACP in 1915 to become an affiliate branch of the NAACP in Columbia, S.C. When the affiliation was approved in
1917, Frederick was elected to the executive committee of the Columbia branch. In February of 1917, Roy Nash,
national Secretary of the NAACP, congratulated Frederick on his "willingness to take hold of this (Columbia branch)at the start and make it a success." Nash seemed to suggest that Frederick was president
Correspondence indicates that the first Columbia branch president was Butler W. Nance, who not only was also an attorney, but apparently he and Frederick shared the same law office for a while. The 1919 Columbia City Directory listed the office for each of them at 1107 1/2 Washington St. Three years later, they had different addresses. Like the printer and businessman Hampton, Frederick also came to his position at The Palmetto Leader with experience. Although it is not clear when he started, he was editor of The Southern Indicator as early as 1913 and
apparently as late as February 1921. His name does not appear in the staff box of The Southern Indicator in 1921; however, there is some evidence that he was with the paper in 1921. An editorial complaining about the unsuccessful defense of a black man in Sumter who charged with assaulting a white women says "a Sumter lawyer" named "M.J. Frederick," (notice the initial "M" instead of "N") could have provided a better defense. A front page letter in the next issue in response to the editorial agreed that "our Hon. M.J. Frederick the coming Negro Statesman and Lawyer of South Carolina"
When The Palmetto Leader began in 1925, both the Columbia Record -- a white daily -- and the black Southern Indicator-Record took notice of Frederick. The Indicator-Record acknowledged the qualities of its former staffer, saying: "This paper is to be edited by Atty. N.J. Frederick, of the Columbia bar. Lawyer Frederick is known South Carolina over as a writer, scholar and lawyer of great repute. We therefore, bespeak for this journal a high editorial stand in particular, a wide and useful career in general performing a service for our group in which it is in great need." Frederick's renown grew in 1926 when he defended the Lowman trio, two men and a woman who were accused of murdering the sheriff of Aiken County. With the help of a white Spartanburg lawyer and the NAACP, Frederick persuaded the state Supreme Court to overturn their convictions, because of prejudice on the part of the judge. Unfortunately, as Frederick was defending them in a new trial, a mob stormed the jail one night and lynched
Throughout this period in the early to mid 1920s, the young Columbia branch of the NAACP had become dormant.
Following the Lowmans' case, the national office called on Frederick to revive the Columbia branch in 1926. He responded that efforts were already under way by the then-current president and offered his assistance.
— Submitted June 17, 2012, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on June 17, 2012, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 649 times since then and 29 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on June 19, 2012, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.