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Herbert U. Fielding

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.

Accession Number

A2007.042

Sex

Male

Interview Date

2/2/2007

Last Name

Fielding

Maker Category
Middle Name

U.

Schools

Avery Normal Institute

Lincoln Academy

West Virginia State University

First Name

Herbert

Birth City, State, Country

Charleston

HM ID

FIE03

Favorite Season

Summer

State

South Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Bermuda

Favorite Quote

Dad Blame It.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

South Carolina

Birth Date

7/6/1923

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Charleston

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pork, Beans, Sausage

Death Date

8/10/2015

Short Description

Politician Herbert U. Fielding (1923 - 2015 ) was the first black representative elected to the South Carolina legislature since Reconstruction. He later served as the chairperson of the South Carolina Legislative Black Caucus.

Employment

Fielding Home for Funeral Services

South Carolina Senate

South Carolina House of Representatives

Favorite Color

Beige, Brown

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Herbert U. Fielding's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Herbert U. Fielding lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Herbert U. Fielding lists his maternal relatives

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Herbert U. Fielding describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Herbert U. Fielding describes his mother's upbringing in Charleston, South Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Herbert U. Fielding talks about his mother's family history

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Herbert U. Fielding describes his paternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Herbert U. Fielding remembers his paternal step-grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Herbert U. Fielding describes his family's roots in South Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Herbert U. Fielding describes his neighborhood in Charleston, South Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Herbert U. Fielding recalls his paternal family's religious and business activities

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Herbert U. Fielding lists his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Herbert U. Fielding describes his paternal family's store in Summerville, South Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Herbert U. Fielding describes the Avery Normal Institute in Charleston, South Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Herbert U. Fielding remembers Lincoln Academy in Kings Mountain, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Herbert U. Fielding recalls class distinctions at Avery Normal Institute

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Herbert U. Fielding remembers his activities at Lincoln Academy

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Herbert U. Fielding recalls West Virginia State College in Institute, West Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Herbert U. Fielding recalls joining the U.S. Army during World War II

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Herbert U. Fielding recalls racial discrimination in the U.S. Army during World War II

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Herbert U. Fielding recalls serving overseas in the U.S. Army in World War II

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Herbert U. Fielding remembers returning to college after World War II

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Herbert U. Fielding recalls his return to Charleston, South Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Herbert U. Fielding describes his paternal grandmother's community service

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Herbert U. Fielding recalls his political activity in the late 1940s and early 1950s

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Herbert U. Fielding describes the funeral customs of Charleston, South Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Herbert U. Fielding recalls joining Fielding Home for Funeral Services

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Herbert U. Fielding recalls the civil rights involvement of Charleston's black business community

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Herbert U. Fielding describes his civil rights activities in Charleston

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Herbert U. Fielding describes his interactions with Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Herbert U. Fielding recalls the violence during the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Herbert U. Fielding recalls his election to the South Carolina House of Representatives

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Herbert U. Fielding recalls serving in the South Carolina House of Representatives

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Herbert U. Fielding recalls resigning from the South Carolina legislature

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Herbert U. Fielding describes his political career in the 1980s and 1990s

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Herbert U. Fielding talks about his retirement from politics

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Herbert U. Fielding describes his successors at Fielding Home for Funeral Services

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Herbert U. Fielding describes his organizational involvement

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Herbert U. Fielding describes his marriage

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Herbert U. Fielding reflects upon his life

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Herbert U. Fielding describes his advice for future generations

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Herbert U. Fielding offers advice for those seeking a career in politics

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Herbert U. Fielding narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

6$4

DATitle
Herbert U. Fielding recalls his political activity in the late 1940s and early 1950s
Herbert U. Fielding describes his interactions with Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.
Transcript
So you started with the NAAC [sic. National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)] as one of your first service organizations and you began to work with your sister [Emily Fielding] here at the funeral home [Fielding Home for Funeral Services, Charleston, South Carolina].$$Yeah.$$Okay.$$Um-hm.$$So, tell me what happens next? 'Cause it's 1946 and then we go on to the--into the '50s [1950s].$$I started working here at the funeral home, and at that time, I got really involved with Esau Jenkins and the Citizens Committee [Citizens Committee of Charleston County]. And what--Esau had a nonpartisan charter for the Citizens Committee, and our basic aim was getting black folks registered to vote. It was right after 1948 when the Waring decision came down, Judge J. Waties Waring [Julius Waties Waring]. I guess you've heard of him?$$Okay, tell, tell us about that.$$Judge J. Waties Waring was a white aristocrat, but a federal judge, and he broke up the segregated Democratic Party and forced the party to, to let us in. And at, at the time, Esau was running the Citizens Committee and it had a nonpartisan charter, so we couldn't directly involve in partisan politics. So what Esau used to do, he'd call a Citizens Committee meeting and we'd go through the routine in--usually in a church and about a half an hour, forty-five minutes, and then Esau would adjourn the meeting and then call me up front and say, now--tell me to run the meeting--run the meeting and we'd turn it into a political meeting. And that's how we started the political action com- in fact, Esau taught me how to form the Political Action Committee [Political Action Committee of Charleston County]. It came right out of the Citizens Committee. And, then we started fighting for positions in the Democratic Party. And that went from one thing to the other, and we built up--in fact, at one time, the Political Action Committee of Charleston County was the strongest political organization in the State of South Carolina. Nobody could get elected without the endorsement from PAC and, and that's how we built--we started running folks for the house [South Carolina House of Representatives]. In fact, I was in the first group to run for the house in 1952. I ran with J. Arthur Brown and Frank Veal and myself. And we knew we couldn't get elected because in those days, you ran at-large in the county and they had two things in there. You had to have a full slate--they had this full slate law. The eleven members to be elected from Charleston County [South Carolina], you had to vote for all eleven, and if you didn't, your vote didn't count at all. And so when you go in there and you cast--say you got a thousand black votes and you got ten thousand white votes, you got to take your thousand black votes and put them on the black folks and you also got to put them on eight white folks, do you see what I mean? So there's no way in the world you can catch up. So we ran in 1952 really knowing that we couldn't get elected, but we ran to encourage black folks to get registered, and we got a whole lot of folks registered.$That's when I first met Martin Luther [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] myself 'cause Esau [Esau Jenkins] had a little Volkswagen bus, and we used to drive from here to Monteagle, Tennessee. And Martin Luther would come there I think from Atlanta [Georgia], and we used to have little conferences and all up there in Tennessee. And Miss Clark [Septima Poinsette Clark] joined that group and she started teaching, and then she formed the educational schools. In fact, there's one on Johns Island [South Carolina] named after her right now. But all, all of that came out of Monteagle, Tennessee, with Martin Luther King and Myles, Myles Horton. Myles Horton was the name of the fellow that ran the camp in Tennessee [Highlander Folk School; Highlander Research and Education Center, New Market, Tennessee].$$Do you remember any conversations you had with Martin Luther King?$$Yeah, at that time?$$Um-hm.$$Well, I had a lot of conversations with Martin Luther at Myles Standish, and then Esau and I got tied in with SCLC [Southern Christian Leadership Conference] and at that time, it was a rivalry between the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People] and SCLC. And we stuck--Esau and I stuck mostly with SCLC, and we'd go on conferences all over--mostly all over the South with Martin Luther. I remember one time we were in a conference with Martin Luther at, I think it was Memphis [Tennessee]. I think it was Memphis, Tennessee, and Martin Luther was up on the stage and speaking, and this white guy--Esau and I were sitting on the front seat in this big auditorium, and this white guy was sitting right next to me, and all of the sudden, he jumped up and ran up the steps and got up on the--and had on brass knuckles, and started beating on Martin Luther, and boy, Martin Luther had guards all the time, and those guards grabbed him and they were fitting to tear him up. And, and Martin Luther himself came. They--he wouldn't let them. He took the darn brass knuckles off the guy. I think that was in Memphis.$$That's something. Were you a part of the March on Washington?$$Yeah (laughter).$$Tell me about that day.$$I woke up--I don't know how in the devil I did it, but I was tired. We had gone on a train. They, they started a train way down in Florida and it stopped on the way and we picked up the train here, went straight on up and went into Grand Central Station [sic. Union Station, Washington, D.C.]. And--I think it's Grand Central Station.$$In D.C. [Washington, D.C.]?$$In D.C.$$Okay. I don't know the name of the (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) The big station.$$--train station.$$And, and I think we walked from that station to the Mall [National Mall, Washington, D.C.] and there was a bunch of us here from Charleston [South Carolina], and I got lost from my crowd. And I was tired and I laid down on the grass and put my coat under my head and went to sleep (laughter). And I--when I woke up, Martin Luther started speaking. When--that's what woke me up and I'll never forget that as long as I live.$$There were so many people.$$Oh, it was just like that. It was jam-packed.$$But how were the people treating one another?$$Oh, it was--it was like a love feast, you know, everybody. And it didn't matter who you were or what color you were or anything.

The Honorable Sanford Bishop, Jr.

Politician Sanford Bishop, Jr., was born February 4, 1947, in Mobile, Alabama. His father, Sanford Bishop, Sr., was the first president of Bishop State Community College and his mother, Minnie, was a librarian. After completing high school, Bishop attended Morehouse College, earning a B.A. in 1968, and receiving a J.D. from Emory University in 1971. That same year he was given an honorable discharge from the Army's Advanced Reserve Officers Training School.

After earning his law degree, Bishop moved to Columbus, Georgia, in 1972, where he established the law firm of Bishop and Buckner. Five years later, he was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives, and remained there until 1990. Bishop then served a two-year term in the Georgia Senate before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1992, where he is currently serving his sixth term. Bishop has served on the House Intelligence Committee, the Agriculture Committee and is a permanent member of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee. Currently he serves on the House Appropriations Committee and is the chairman of the Democratic House Task Force on Homeland Security. Bishop has worked hard to promote agriculture, as well as to increase job opportunities and promote foreign trade.

Bishop is active on several committees, including the Congressional Black Caucus, the National Security Caucus and the Council on Foreign Relations. He has also received numerous awards, including the Spirit of Enterprise Award from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; the Man of the Year Award from the Men's Progressive Club of Columbus, Georgia; and the Friend of the Children Award from the Child Advocacy Coalition. As an Eagle Scout, he has also been honored by the Boy Scouts of America for his distinguished career achievement. Bishop and his wife, Vivian, live in Albany, Georgia. They have one daughter.

Accession Number

A2003.242

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/9/2003

Last Name

Bishop

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

D.

Organizations
First Name

Sanford

Birth City, State, Country

Mobile

HM ID

BIS01

Favorite Season

Summer

Speaker Bureau Notes

Georgia; 912-439-8067; Amy Billingsley

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere Warm

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

2/4/1947

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Vegetables

Short Description

Politician The Honorable Sanford Bishop, Jr. (1947 - ) was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives, and remained there until 1990. Bishop then served a two-year term in the Georgia Senate before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1992.

Employment

Bishop & Buckner

George House of Representatives

United States House of Representatives

Favorite Color

Green

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Sanford Bishop interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Sanford Bishop lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Sanford Bishop talks about his mother's family history

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Sanford Bishop recalls stories told to him about his family

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Sanford Bishop talks about his mother's personality and his parents' courtship

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Sanford Bishop talks about his father's origins and slave heritage

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Sanford Bishop talks more about his father's family and recalls a story about his Uncle Thomas

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Sanford Bishop recalls more of his ancestors and their careers

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Sanford Bishop talks about his grandfather and his career

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Sanford Bishop recalls an early childhood memory of an encounter with racism

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Sanford Bishop talks about his experiences as a Boy Scout

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Sanford Bishop talks about his experiences in school and the teachers who influenced him

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Sanford Bishop recalls more of his school experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Sanford Bishop talks about his role models as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Sanford Bishop recalls a childhood memory about his father's decision to get involved after witnessing a traffic accident

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Sanford Bishop talks briefly about his experience with segregation in the Boy Scouts

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Sanford Bishop recalls his father's lawsuit against a white man

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Sanford Bishop talks about his experiences in the Boy Scouts and in the Williamsburg Student Burgesses

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Sanford Bishop recalls his decision to attend Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Sanford Bishop details his early career as a lawyer and his entry into politics

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Sanford Bishop talks more about his political career and the people who influenced him to succeed

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Sanford Bishop returns to talking about his activities at Morehouse

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Sanford Bishop details how he got elected to Congress and the demographics of his constituency

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Sanford Bishop talks about his military experience and his early legal cases

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Sanford Bishop talks about his Congressional campaign and the realization that he was making history

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Sanford Bishop talks about the progress he's made as a black politician in the South

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Sanford Bishop talks about his personal values in relation to his political constituency

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Sanford Bishop talks more about his political constituency

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Sanford Bishop recalls the controversy with the Georgia state flag

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Sanford Bishop talks about what his legacy might be

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Sanford Bishop talks about black history and his political heroes

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Sanford recalls Adam Clayton Powell and his other political heroes

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Sanford Bishop talks about today's politics and how he would like to be remembered.