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Highway named for first African American game warden

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Lt. Ulysses Fleming

SCDNR Lt. Ulysses Fleming

COLUMBIA -- A 2-mile stretch of highway in Richland County has been named for Lt. Ulysses Flemming in honor of the first African American game warden hired by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources.

The new name signs on the road were unveiled on Monday, April 19, by the S.C. Department of Transportation, and duplicates were presented to Flemming family members. A ceremony to mark the occasion was held at SCDNR’s Wateree River WMA gun range in Eastover.

The portion of Garners Ferry Road in Richland County from its intersection with U.S. Highway 601 to the Wateree River is now known as the “Lieutenant Ulysses Flemming Memorial Highway.”

Flemming joined the state wildlife agency in 1970 as its first African American game warden and was assigned to Richland County, where he primarily worked on the Wateree and Congaree rivers enforcing fish, game and boating laws. Flemming retired in 2009.

A joint resolution to name the highway in honor of Flemming was introduced by state House Rep. Jermaine L. Johnson Sr. of Richland County. Flemming, who was the SCDNR law enforcement lieutenant over Richland, Lexington, Calhoun, Orangeburg and Clarendon counties, died in 2014.

“Ulysses was one of the greatest people you could ever meet,” said Chip Sharpe of Columbia, who worked with Flemming and retired as a lieutenant with SCDNR in 1999. “He endured a lot, but he survived and flourished and worked his way up. He knew what was right, and he created a path for others to follow.”

Sharpe pointed out that SCDNR now has numerous African American officers, in addition to an African American lieutenant colonel, who is second in command of SCDNR law enforcement.

Flemming was inducted into the S.C. Law Enforcement Officers Hall of Fame in 2018.

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