Kim Billups

Kim moved to Charleston with her husband and daughter in 2014 and quickly started putting together the pieces of a tour-guide business. Kim has many fond childhood memories of Charleston because of her deep family roots there. She turned her lifelong passion for history into a fun tourism business called Charleston Belle Tours, where Kim could give in-character tours of the major sites in the city in full period regalia. She spent countless hours studying for the tour-guide exam, poring over hundreds upon hundreds of flashcards and acing an online practice exam she found on her own. But when she went to sit for the exam in November, she was faced with an endless series of trivial questions that looked nothing like what she studied— including a question about the lead singer of 90s band Hootie and the Blowfish. Kim knew she did not pass the exam and left the exam room in tears. She was right and now has a stack of business cards, a credit-card-processing account and a replica period outfit all ready to go. She has, in fact, everything she needs to run her business—except the government’s permission to talk.

  • January 28, 2016    |   First Amendment

    Charleston Tour Guides

    Charleston Tour Guides Challenge Unconstitutional License to Talk

    There are thousands of stories to be told about Charleston, South Carolina. From the horrors of the slave trade to the city’s rise as a culinary center, from the depredations of Blackbeard the pirate to the city’s long tradition as a home for the armed forces, the city’s history can be viewed from a nearly…

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