Inventory of the Herbert U. Fielding Papers, 1960 - 2007

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Descriptive Summary

Abstract: Herbert U. Fielding (born 1923), an African American, was a South Carolina Congressman and Senator. Fielding has also led the family business, the Fielding Home for Funerals in Charleston, South Carolina.
The collection documents Herbert U. Fielding's professional activities and political career from 1960 to 1992, with some material extending to 2006. Materials include professional and constituent correspondence, speeches, campaign materials, bills and resolutions, newspaper clippings, and other materials. Major topics include the founding of the Political Action Committee of Charleston County, South Carolina; federal revenue sharing; South Carolina race relations and politics, including the representation of African Americans in politics and professional organizations; and the racial reapportionment of South Carolina District 6, including Fielding's exploratory committee and primary campaign materials.
Title: Herbert U. Fielding Papers, 1960 - 2007
Creator: Fielding, Herbert U.
Repository: Avery Research Center at the College of Charleston
Call Number: AMN 1108
Language of Material: Material in English
Extent: 4.75 linear feet
(10 archival boxes)

Biographical Note

Herbert Ulysses G. Fielding was born on July 6, 1923 in Charleston, South Carolina, the son of Julius P. L. and Sadie E. Gaillard Fielding. He received his early education in Charleston and afterward served in the United States Army during World War II. In 1948, he received a B.S. from West Virginia State College. When he returned to Charleston from service in World War II, Fielding assumed part responsibility of his family's business, the Fielding Home for Funerals. The business was co-founded in 1912 by Fielding's father and is still operated by the Fielding family, with Herbert serving as a Director.

In 1965, Herbert Fielding founded the Political Action Committee of Charleston County. This organization worked to provide voter education and to promote the employment of African Americans on voter registration boards and school trustee boards.

In 1970, Fielding became one of the first African American legislators elected in South Carolina since Reconstruction when he won a seat in the South Carolina House of Representatives. He was elected for the House again in 1972 and 1982, then served in the South Carolina State Senate for District #42 (Charleston County) in 1984 and 1988. He was chairman of the South Carolina Senate Delegation from 1989 to 1992 and chairman of the South Carolina Legislative Black Caucus from 1990 to 1992. In the State Senate, he was a member of six standing committees, the General Committee; Banking and Insurance; Finance; Fish, Game, and Forestry; Invitations; and Labor, Commerce, and Industry. He also served on three special committees: the Human Resources Committee of the Southern Legislative Conference, the Joint Committee on Federal Aid to South Carolina, and the Joint Committee on Mental Health and Retardation.

In 1992, Fielding ran in the Democratic Primary for the United States Congress, seeking to represent South Carolina District 6, which had been newly reapportioned as a black majority district. After losing the race to Jim Clyburn, Herbert Fielding retired from his political career.

Fielding has been active in the Calvary Episcopal Church of Charleston, South Carolina Human Affairs Commission, South Carolina Coastal Council, South Carolina Commission for Vocational Rehabilitation, Trident Chamber of Commerce, Trident Council on Alcoholism, and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Sea Island Comprehensive Health Care Corporation, as president of the Robert Gould Shaw Boys Club, as a member of the University of South Carolina Budget Board, and founder and co-chairman of the Charleston County Political Action Committee.

Fielding is married to Thelma Erenne Stent and they have three sons, Julius P. L. II, Herbert Stent, and Frederick Augustus.

SOURCES: (1) Professional Biography, Herbert U. Fielding Papers, Avery Research Center, College of Charleston, Charleston, SC, USA. (2) Fielding Home for Funerals: //

Collection Overview

This collection documents Herbert U. Fielding's professional activities from the 1960s to 1990s, including his involvement with the Civil Rights Movement, Fielding Home for Funerals, and his political career. Topics from materials relating to Fielding's pre-political career include the founding of the Charleston Political Action Committee, Fielding Home for Funerals, and various race relations issues in South Carolina. Materials relating to Fielding's terms in the South Carolina House of Representatives and South Carolina State Senate include constituent correspondence, correspondence among various public figures in South Carolina, committee work, speeches, campaign materials, and other materials. Topics of particular interest include African American representation in politics, revenue sharing in South Carolina, activities of the South Carolina Legislative Black Caucus, Congressional remapping of South Carolina District 6 from 1973 to 1992, and Fielding's 1992 exploratory committee and campaign for Representative of South Carolina District 6. The collection also includes local newspaper clippings documenting Fielding's professional life along with articles representing his and other South Carolina legislators' positions on various local political issues. Also included are Fielding's speeches, given between 1971 and 2005. The topic of these speeches ranges from local political issues to tributes to various public figures or addresses at social functions.

Collection Arrangement

1. Professional Activities, 1960-1974 and 1990

2. Professional and Constituent Correspondence, 1988-1992

3. Subject Files, 1984-2007

4. Speeches, 1971-2005

5. Clippings and Other Materials, 1976-2007 and undated

Subject Headings

  • African American orators -- South Carolina -- Charleston -- 20th century.
  • African American politicians -- South Carolina -- Charleston -- 20th century.
  • Apportionment (Election law) -- South Carolina.
  • Clyburn, James.
  • Fielding, Herbert U.
  • Gerrymandering -- South Carolina.
  • Political action committees -- South Carolina -- Charleston.
  • Revenue sharing -- Law and legislation -- South Carolina -- Charleston -- 20th century.
  • South Carolina. General Assembly -- Committees.
  • South Carolina. General Assembly. House of Representatives. Judiciary Committee.
  • South Carolina. General Assembly -- Resolutions.
  • South Carolina. General Assembly. House of Representatives.
  • South Carolina. General Assembly. Senate.
  • South Carolina -- Politics and government -- 1951-.
  • South Carolina -- Race relations -- History -- 20th century.
  • Southern States -- Race relations -- History -- 20th century.
  • United States. Congress -- Elections, 1992.

Detailed Description of the Collection

1. Professional Activities, 1960-1974 and 1990.

Arranged chronologically.

This series contains correspondence, speeches, clippings, meeting minutes, programs, and awards related to Herbert U. Fielding's professional activities as a Charleston businessman and South Carolina state legislator. Major topics include early involvement in the Civil Rights Movement in Charleston, Fielding Home for Funerals, legislation passed and proposed by the South Carolina House of Representatives, Fielding's political campaigns and committee work, and Fielding's advocacy for better minority representation in business and politics.
While materials have been removed from their original binders, the original order has been retained. Certain topics may be cross-listed within the Professional Activities series and the Subject Files series.
Box 1   Folder 1-2
Includes correspondence, meeting minutes, position statements, certificates, and other materials related to Herbert Fielding's role in the Fielding Home for Funerals; his participation in the Charleston Business and Professional Men's Association; and the founding and operation of the Political Action Committee of Charleston County. Also includes materials from the South Carolina Voter Education Project and publications on the Civil Rights Movement, public welfare, and class and politics in South Carolina.
Box 1   Folder 3-4
Includes correspondence, donor acknowledgments, statistical information, invitations, programs and other materials related to the operation of the Political Action Committee; Herbert Fielding's 1970 campaign and election for South Carolina House of Representatives; the Democratic Action Team; and other Democrat candidates for South Carolina office. Also includes flyers providing voting instructions and a pamphlet on integrating Georgia schools. Repairs and other financial expenditures of the Fielding Home for Funerals and a few family letters are also included.
Box 1   Folder 5-7
Includes correspondence, proposed legislative bills, and successful House laws. Materials related to Herbert Fielding's House Committee work include the Roads Committee; Food Stamp Study Committee; and the Military, Public, and Municipal Affairs Committee. Documents concerning the Military, Public, and Municipal Affairs Committee discuss the racial composition of appointments to various medical boards as well as Fielding's push for chairmanship.
Other materials relate to Fielding's re-election to the South Carolina House of Representatives in 1972, including requests for campaign support. Materials also document his involvement in the Neighborhood Legal Assistance Program, and the Sickle Cell Anemia Prevention Act. Also included are materials relating to the Union Heights fire in North Charleston; the Penn Community Center's Black Land Services; and the consultant work of Fielding and Clarkson, Inc. to the South Carolina Legal Services Coalition. Correspondence also addresses political tensions between Lonnie Hamilton and James Clyburn.
Box 2   Folder 8-11
Includes House delegation meeting minutes; correspondence and resumes relating to the employment of pages; and correspondence and bills relating to racial disparity in South Carolina's use of federal funds through revenue sharing. Herbert Fielding's House Committee work includes the Judiciary Committee, in which he examines residency and literacy requirements for voter registration in South Carolina, and the Joint Legislative-Governor's Committee to Study the Magisterial System. Also included is material relating to the Charleston Area Minority Economic Council; correspondence, publications, research materials relating to the Equal Rights Amendment; and the proposal to eliminate the state bar exam requirement in order to increase numbers of black lawyers. Early discussions of United States Congressional redistricting is discussed in the context of future growth and annexation of land to the city of Charleston.
Constituent correspondence discusses proposed closing of Head Start child development centers in Charleston County and includes pleas for United States District Judge Robert W. Hemphill to reconsider Fielding's sentence in U.S. v Herbert U. Fielding, in which Fielding was charged with tax evasion.
Materials also represent Fielding as a member of the Carolina Lowcountry Chapter of American Red Cross and the Boy Scouts of America.
Box 2-3   Folder 12-14
Includes correspondence, statistics, publications, reports, and bills relating to congressional redistricting of Charleston, South Carolina and correspondence and initial meeting materials relating to the establishment of the Charleston County Black Leadership Conference. Also includes condolences and correspondence declaring continued support after Herbert Fielding's 1973 tax evasion charge. Materials on the 1974 elections include correspondence endorsing state and local candidates. Also included are materials urging the Charleston County School Board to appoint a black superintendent, a proposal for a Minority Lobbyist in South Carolina, and materials relating to revenue sharing in South Carolina. Also included are speeches and programs from various community functions, in which Fielding either gave a speech or attended as a guest.
Box 3   Folder 15
Includes reports, opinion statements, and speeches relating to the early retirement bill in South Carolina.

2. Professional and Constituent Correspondence, 1988-1992.

Arranged alphabetically.

This series contains correspondence by constituents, political colleagues, and professional affiliates on such topics as constituent requests; senatorial and congressional meetings; and announcements, invitations, and acknowledgements.
The correspondence in this series is arranged alphabetically, privileging first the order as indicated by Fielding staff, then by surname of sender if no indication is present.
Please note that additional correspondence is included throughout the Subject Files.
Alert! Certain items have been separated from this series due to privacy concerns. These materials are closed to public viewing until 2070.
Box 3   Folder 16
Box 3   Folder 17
Box 3   Folder 18
Box 3   Folder 19
Box 3   Folder 20
Box 3   Folder 21
Box 3   Folder 22
Box 3   Folder 23
Box 3   Folder 24

3. Subject Files, 1984-2007.

Arranged alphabetically.

This series contains correspondence, legislative drafts, research materials, speeches, and other materials generally collected during the course of Hebert U. Fielding's political career. Major topics include state governance, 1992 elections (state and national), creation of South Carolina's United States Congressional District #6, Charleston County Magistrates, and race relations.
Where possible, original folder titles have been retained. As a result, certain topics may be cross-listed within the Subject Files series and the Professional Activities series.
Box 4   Folder 25
Affirmative Action
Box 4   Folder 26
African Development Bank, 1983-1984
Box 4   Folder 27
Anti-Apartheid Act of 1985
Box 4   Folder 28
Avery Research Center
Box 4   Folder 29
Berkeley - Charleston - Dorchester Council of Governments: Agendas and Minutes, 1985
Box 4   Folder 30
Beulah Youth Development, 1986
Box 4   Folder 31
Calvary Episcopal Church
Box 4   Folder 32
Campaign Contributions
Box 4   Folder 33
Cannon, Margie: Magistrate, 1985
Box 4   Folder 34
Cantrell's Election Protest, 1984
Includes correspondence contesting the election of South Carolina Senator W. Paul Cantrell on the grounds of voter fraud.
Box 4   Folder 35
Charleston County Aviation Authority, 1985
Box 4   Folder 36
Charleston County Black Elected and Appointed Officials, 1987-1989
Box 4   Folder 37
Charleston County Delegation Meeting, 1985
Box 4   Folder 38
Charleston County Election Commission
Box 4   Folder 39
Charleston County Legislative Delegation
Box 4   Folder 40
Charleston County Magistrates, 1985-1992
Box 4   Folder 41
Charleston County Park, Recreation, and Tourism
Box 4   Folder 42
Charleston County School District
Box 4   Folder 43
Clarence Thomas: United States Supreme Court Appointment
Box 4   Folder 44
Jim Clyburn
Box 4   Folder 45
Community Consensus Process
Box 4   Folder 46
Community Support Program, 1988
Box 4   Folder 47
Concurrent Resolution: PFC Ralph Johnson, 1990
Includes materials relating to naming the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Charleston, South Carolina after Private First Class Ralph Johnson.
Box 5   Folder 48
Confederate Flag Controversy: South Carolina
Box 5   Folder 49
Conference Programs
Box 5   Folder 50
Includes materials related to Herbert U. Fielding's United States Congress Exploratory Committee.
Please see other folders related to South Carolina's U.S. Congressional District 6.
Box 5   Folder 51-52
Box 5   Folder 53
Elections, 1992: National
Box 5   Folder 54
Elections, 1992: South Carolina
Box 5   Folder 55
Elections, 1992: South Carolina -- Photographs
Box 5   Folder 56
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Recommendations
Box 5   Folder 57
Fielding Home for Funerals
Box 5   Folder 58
Judge Fielding, Bernard, 1990
Includes correspondence relating to the Probate Judge campaign of Judge Bernard Fielding and materials relating to the contestation of the election results after Bernard Fielding's defeat.
Box 5   Folder 59
Palmer Fielding
Box 5   Folder 60
Gunn, Willie F., Jr., 1990
Box 5   Folder 61
Health and Insurance Reform
Box 5   Folder 62
Lead Poisoning in South Carolina, 1990
Box 5   Folder 63
Marital Rape Bill
Box 5   Folder 64
Martin Luther King Program, 1990
Box 5   Folder 65
Larry E. Miller: Marion's Pointe, 1989
Box 6   Folder 66
Newman Endowment, 1989-1990
Box 6   Folder 67
Omega Psi Phi Fraternity
Box 6   Folder 68
O'Neil, Anthony, 1985
Box 6   Folder 69
Box 6   Folder 70
Public Corruption Cases against African Americans
Box 6   Folder 71
Box 6   Folder 72
Retirement of Herbert Fielding
Includes congratulatory notes, speeches, and correspondence acknowledging Herbert Fielding's retirement from the South Carolina state legislature in 1992.
Box 6   Folder 73
Senatorial Correspondence
Box 6   Folder 74
South Carolina Association of Taxpayers
Box 6   Folder 75
South Carolina Coastal Council
Box 6   Folder 76
South Carolina Department of Highways and Public Transportation
Box 6   Folder 77
South Carolina Department of Social Services
Box 6   Folder 78
South Carolina Legislative Black Caucus
Includes correspondence, meeting agendas and minutes, programs and publications, and other materials relating to the South Carolina Legislative Black Caucus. Materials reflect the relationship between the S.C. Black Caucus and several historically black colleges and universities in South Carolina, such as program proposals and financial information. Also includes speeches and other materials that represent Herbert Fielding as Chairman of the S.C. Black Caucus. Additional topics include economic issues, representation of African Americans on various boards and committees, reapportionment, internship programs, ethics, substance abuse, and others.
Box 6   Folder 79
South Carolina Senate Bills: General
Box 7   Folder 80
South Carolina Senate Bills: Labor, Commerce, and Industry Committee
Box 7   Folder 81
South Carolina Senate Spending
Box 7   Folder 82
Sting, 1990
Includes correspondence, press releases, and speeches by Herbert Fielding related to the possible racial motivations of an F.B.I. investigation into vote-selling by South Carolina lawmakers. Also includes newspaper clippings related to the case and indictment of state legislators.
Box 7   Folder 83
Substance Abuse
Box 7   Folder 84
Women of Achievement, 1991
Box 7   Folder 85-86
United States Congress: South Carolina District 6 - Congressional District Reapportionment
Includes correspondence, meeting materials, newspaper clippings, press releases, speeches, and voter statistics relating to redistricting in South Carolina. Many of the materials relate specifically to reapportioning South Carolina District 6 to create a black congressional district.
Box 7   Folder 87-88
United States Congress: South Carolina District 6 - Exploratory Committee and Primary
Includes correspondence, flyers, fundraising materials, speeches, press releases, and other materials relating to Herbert Fielding's campaign for United States Congress from 1990-1992.
Box 7   Folder 89

4. Speeches, 1971-2005.

Box 8   Folder 90-92
Speeches and Related Material: Herbert U. Fielding, 1971-2005
Box 8   Folder 93
Speeches and Related Material: John W. Matthews
Box 8   Folder 94
Speeches and Related Material: Other Speakers

5. Clippings and Other Materials, 1976-2007 and undated.

Arranged alphabetically.

Includes an oral history, photographs, newspaper clippings related to Herbert U. Fielding's professional career and the activities of local and national political figures, and biographical information about Fielding.
Box 10   Folder 110
Financial Documents
Exclamation Point! Closed until 2070.
Box 8   Folder 96
Oral History Interview with Herbert U. Fielding by The HistoryMakers, 2007
Box 8-9   Folder 96-107
Newspaper Clippings, 1976 - 2007
Box 9   Folder 108
Photographs, undated
Includes photocopies of a photograph of the Fielding Home for Funerals Little League Team with identification of players and coaches as well as photocopies of a photograph of Herbert Fielding as a soldier in World War II.
Box 9   Folder 109
Professional Biography
Box 10   Folder 111-113
Separated Items
Exclamation Point! Closed until 2070.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

This collection has restrictions to access. For more information, please read the collection inventory or contact the Avery Research Center: (843) 953-7609.

Copyright Notice

The nature of the Avery Research Center's archival holdings means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. The Avery Research Center claims only physical ownership of most archival materials.

The materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. copyright law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Herbert U. Fielding Papers, Avery Research Center, College of Charleston, Charleston, SC, USA.

Processing Information

Processed by Amanda Ross and Jessica Farrell, January 2011

Encoded by Jessica Farrell, January 2011

Funding from the Council on Library and Information Resources supported the collection processing and encoding of this finding aid.