Respected banker from Winnsboro gave hope

ORANGEBURG – Last July, the life of Curtis B. Carter, the first Orangeburg Black male banker during modern times, was taken away from our midst.

In 1976, Curtis Carter ventured into Orangeburg and became the first black male banker at Southern Bank & Trust.

Curtis Carter

He had been an outstanding basketball player coming from Winnsboro High School and then carrying his talents on to Belmont Abbey College in Belmont, North Carolina.

In November, 1976, Southern Bank & Trust hired Carter as a manager trainee in their bank in Orangeburg. When he arrived, the word spread throughout the black community like wildfire that Southern Bank & Trust had hired a black man. Black Orangeburg greeted this news with great joy, hope and pride.

With Carter in place, this would be the prime opportunity for the black community to face someone who could understand their financial woes and show compassion and concerns in providing the need for their banking assistance.

At that time, the black community had reached a new milestone in seeing someone in the bank who looks more like the mass population.

Curtis Carter became a household name in the Orangeburg black community. If a black person in Orangeburg didn’t know of Carter, they had most likely heard of him as becoming the new black banker serving at Southern Bank & Trust.

After coming to Orangeburg, Carter used his basketball talents while serving in the banking business. A man of deep conviction, he became very active in all aspects of the Orangeburg community.

While settling into Orangeburg, Carter joined St. Paul Baptist Church and moved up to be chairman of the trustee board. Also, he played a very active role in many Orangeburg organizations, colleges, Chamber of Commerce, the Revitalization Association, Masonic affiliation, the Rotary Club and many other community organizations.

Carter, who was simply a “people person” and a “man always with a smile,” came to Orangeburg with a mission on his mind and he accomplished what he set out to do. He learned how to work with the people and the ways of Orangeburg in the banking community.

Curtis Carter played his part in the manner that he needed and from that point, he was able to master the life of being a black man who succeeded in the banking business in Orangeburg.

Richard Reid is president of the Orangeburg Historical and Genealogical Society. His mission is researching Orangeburg history, with a particular emphasis on the role of African Americans in that history.

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