Charles Ezra Daniel

Black and white photograph of Charles Daniel

Charles E. Daniel. Wikimedia Commons.

(1895-1964)  Daniel was the son of James Fleming Daniel and Leila Mildred Adams. Daniel was to become twentieth-century South Carolina’s most successful businessman and one of its most influential political figures.

Daniel attended the Citadel, where he spent two years before volunteering for military service in WWI.  After the war he returned to Anderson and began building mill village houses.  Daniel established his own construction firm and obtained numerous defense contracts for construction of aluminum plants, shipyards, and air bases throughout the South. Daniel moved to Greenville where his firm constructed Donaldson Air Base and built the DeFore Plant, a single-story, windowless, air-conditioned mill that revolutionized textile plant design.

Daniel realized early on that South Carolina’s racially segregated society was an impediment to progress and suggested that South Carolinians “forsake some of their old ways” to improve opportunities for both blacks and whites.

Daniel died of lung cancer in Greenville.