Politician Herbert U. Fielding was born on July 6, 1923 in Charleston, South Carolina to Julius and Sadie Fielding. Fielding served in the United States Army during World War II prior to attending and receiving his B.S. degree from West Virginia State College in 1948.
In 1952, Fielding took charge of the day-to-day operations of the family funeral home business, becoming President and CEO of Fielding Home for Funeral Services. Founded in 1912 by Fielding’s father, Fielding Home for Funeral Services was the largest African American-owned and operated funeral home in the state of South Carolina.
Fielding became involved in the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. He often paid for the bail of civil rights activists, picketers and demonstrators. Fielding encouraged African Americans to vote and mobilized them to memorize the constitution in order to gain voting rights.
In 1970, Fielding became the first African American to be elected a representative in South Carolina since Reconstruction. He served for three years, then returned to the South Carolina State House in 1983. In 1985, Fielding was elected to South Carolina’s State Senate, where he served until 1992. In 1990, he became the chairperson of the South Carolina Legislative Black Caucus.
Fielding is a member of several organizations including the South Carolina Commission on Vocational Rehabilitation, the University of South Carolina Budget Board and the South Carolina Human Affairs Commission. He is also a vestry member at Calvary Episcopal Church in Charleston.
The Department of Transportation named Highway 61 from James Island Expressway to South Carolina Route 61 in Charleston County as the Herbert U. Fielding Connector.
Fielding was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 2, 2007.
Fielding passed away on August 10, 2015.