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“L” is for Leevy, Isaac Samuel (1876-1968)

“L” is for Leevy, Isaac Samuel (1876-1968). Businessman, political activist. A native of Kershaw County, Leevy graduated from Mather Academy in Camden and Hampton Institute in Virginia. In 1907 he settled in Columbia and opened a tailoring shop that three years later blossomed into Leevy’s Department Store. Leevy was a founder and president of Victory Savings Bank and other Black enterprises. As the first Black-owned gas station in Columbia, Leevy’s station was an important stop for African American travelers who were barred from White facilities during the Jim Crow era. His most enduring business was Leevy’s Funeral Home. Until 1964 he was a stalwart Republican. A staunch civil rights advocate, Isaac Samuel Leevy helped found the Columbia branch of the NAACP and served on the board of directors of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference

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Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.