Historic Markers Across South Carolina

William H. Johnson Birthplace

Marker ID: SCHM 21-21
Location: on E Palmetto St (US 301) near SC-S-21-352
County: Florence
Coordinates: N 34° 11.673    W 079° 45.183
  34.19455    -79.75305
Style: Free Standing **


William Henry Johnson (1901-1970), one of the most important African-American artists of the 20th century, was born nearby on Cox Street, His family later lived on the corner of Cheves and Kemp Streets. In 1918, at the age of 17, Johnson moved to New York City. Johnson studied at the National Academy of Design and the Cape Cod School of Art, won several prizes, and studied art in Europe 1926-29.

Johnson, back in America in 1929-31, had paintings in several exhibitions and a one-day show at the Florence Y.M.C.A. Visits to Florence inspired paintings of local people and places. In 1931 he married Danish artist Holcha Krake, living in Europe before returning to New York in 1938. After Johnson´s wife died in 1944 his health declined; he was institutionalized in New York in 1947 and died there in 1970.

Erected By The Florence City Council and The Florence County Council - 2006