James M. Hinton


Reverend James Miles Hinton was born on October 28, 1891, in Gates County, North Carolina, to parents who died when he was three years old. He was reared by an aunt in New York City, where he attended the Bible Teacher’s Training School and worked as a postal clerk. During World War I, Hinton was drafted into the U.S. Army and earned the rank of lieutenant. After the war he began a successful business career with the black-owned Pilgrim Health and Life Insurance Company based in Augusta, Georgia. In 1939 he established a home in Columbia, South Carolina. On his arrival he rapidly earned a reputation as a businessman, minister, and leading civil rights figure.

Reverend Hinton was elected president of the Columbia branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1939. He went on to serve as president of the S.C. State Conference of the NAACP from 1941 through 1958. He helped grow the organization from 13 chapters to 80 chapters.

Historians credit Reverend Hinton with helping to plan strategy for Briggs v. Elliott, the South Carolina case that led to a suit included in the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark 1954 decision, Brown v. Board of Education. As a forceful advocate of racial equality, Reverend Hinton placed his own life and business career on the line. In April 1949, he was abducted in Augusta, GA beaten, and left face down in the countryside for daring to champion the cause of racial equality. In January 1956, Reverend Hinton’s Columbia home was struck by gunfire. Reverend Hinton remained active in civic matters throughout his life.

Reverend Hinton served as pastor of Second Calvary Baptist Church in Columbia, South Carolina from 1960 to 1970.

He died in Augusta, Georgia, on November 21, 1970.