In the 1798 city plan, this five-acre park was laid out as a public square. In 1900 the Seaboard Air Line Railway built a passenger depot next to it, on the SW corner of Chesnut & Gordon Sts. The city beautified the square to welcome visitors and named it Seaboard Park. After the depot moved in 1937, the area near it was named Seaboard Park. The present name, first given to an African-American suburb absorbed into Kirkwood, honors Rev. Monroe Boykin.
Rev. Monroe Boykin (d. 1904), born into slavery, became a community leader after the Civil War. After emancipation he was given two tracts of land nearby by the heirs of his former owner. In 1866 Boykin and other freedmen withdrew from Camden (First) Baptist Church to form Mount Moriah Baptist Church on Broad St. Boykin, its first pastor, served there for 34 years. He helped found many churches in Kershaw, Clarendon, Sumter, and Lancaster Counties.