June, 2010: South Carolina Loses a Legend

Program to a tribute dinner for Marjorie Amos held at Francis Marion Hotel on March 1, 1975. Courtesy of Avery Research Center at the College of Charleston.

On June 23rd in 2010, Marjorie Amos-Frazier passed away in Charleston. A native of Manning, South Carolina, she worked her entire life to improve conditions for the underprivileged. In 1973, Amos-Frazier was voted the NAACP’s “Woman of the Year.” She was also named to The Charleston Federation of Women’s Hall of Fame and is listed in the 1977-78 edition of Personalities of the South. In 1993, a section of Interstate 26 in Charleston was named in her honor. 

Born in 1926, Amos-Frazier moved to Charleston as a teenager. After sixteen years of marriage, she and her husband divorced, and she was left with five children. Amos-Frazier worked for the American Tobacco Company, where she was a shop steward. In that position, she negotiated contracts and solicited members to join the workers’ union. Throughout the 1940s and 1950s, she worked to register African Americans to vote. Amos-Frazier also served as secretary of the local NAACP chapter, where she contributed to efforts to desegregate public locations such as theaters and restaurants.  

In 1974, Amos-Frazier ran against seven other candidates and won a seat on the Charleston County Council. She was the first woman to serve on the Council and held that position for six years. During that time, she secured better services for the poor, encouraged the Medical University of South Carolina to work with the county to provide indigent health care, and helped launch a senior citizens center in Charleston.  

Amos-Frazier’s political interest was dominated by her concern for the poor community. From 1971 to 1975, she was vice-chairperson of Charleston’s Democratic Party. In the early 1980s, Governor Richard Riley appointed her to a task force on critical human needs and in 1980, the South Carolina General Assembly unanimously elected Amos-Frazier to represent the First Congressional District on the South Carolina Public Service Commission. This commission regulates utilities such as gas, electric, and water companies. In 1988, she became vice-chairperson of the Public Services Commission and served as its chairperson from 1990 to 1993.  

As her interest in serving the community became well-known, Amos-Frazier served on state and national committees and commissions. She was one of fifteen members of the Judicial Council for the National Democratic Party, served on the Justice Department’s Dispute Alternative Resolution Committee, and traveled to Israel with Governor Richard Riley on a fact-finding trip. She also participated in two White House briefings during Jimmy Carter’s term as President. Amos-Frazier was 84 when she died. Her papers are stored at the Avery Research Center in Charleston.  


Written by: Faye Jensen
Date: June 13, 2024