This five-story commercial building, built in 1882 as a textile mill, was known as the Charleston Manufacturing Company, then Charleston Cotton Mills, in its early years. Leased to the American Tobacco Company in 1903, the plant was sold to that company in 1912. Popularly called "the Cigar Factory," it produced cigars such as Cremo and Roi~Tan until it closed in 1973. The Cigar Factory was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.
"We Shall Overcome"
By the end of World War II the factory employed 1,400 workers, 900 of them black women. In October 1945, 1,200 workers walked out over discrimination and low wages. Strikers sang the gospel hymn "I'll Overcome Someday." Later revised as "We Shall Overcome," it would become the anthem of the Civil Rights Movement. The strike ended in March 1946 with a settlement giving workers raises and promising better treatment.