Many South Carolinians participated in the struggle for equal rights, including Septima Poinsette Clark, Modjeska Monteith Simkins, and the participants in the landmark Briggs v. Elliott court case.
Civil Rights Movement in South Carolina
- Harvey Gantt and the Desegregation of Clemson University
Harvey Gantt was the first African American student to attend Clemson University when he began classes February 1, 1963.
- Eyes on the Prize: America's Civil Rights Movement: 1954-1985
Explore the important people and groups of the Civil Rights era, such as Jesse Jackson and Emmett Till.
- Orangeburg Massacre
On the night of February 8th, 1968, three students were killed by police gunfire on the South Carolina State University campus in Orangeburg. Find out more about this incident that became known as the Orangeburg Massacre.
- Martin Luther King speaks in Kingstree, SC May 9, 1966
Watch a video of Martin Luther King, Jr. in Kingstree speaking on voting.
- The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow
Read stories of people and personal narratives, explore the interactive maps, and learn about the struggles of African Americans against government-sanctioned segregation.
- The Friendship 9
Students in Rock Hill went to jail after staging a sit-in at a segregated McCrory's lunch counter in 1961.
- Mary McLeod Bethune
Mary McLeod Bethune opened a school for poor African American children in Daytona, Florida and worked as an advisor to President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
- Septima Poinsette Clark
Septima Clark was an African American educator and activist for equal rights who worked with the NAACP and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
- Sarah Mae Flemming
Sarah Mae Flemming sued bus owners in Columbia for an incident which occurred 17 months before Rosa Parks took her stand in Montgomery, Alabama.
- Isaiah DeQuincey Newman
Isaiah DeQuincey Newman was a minister and civil rights leader who became the first African American since 1887 to serve in the state Senate.
- Modjeska Simkins
Modjeska Simkins was an African American civil rights activist who was the Secretary of the NAACP in South Carolina and helped write the court case for Briggs v. Elliott.
Briggs v. Elliot
Medal from the US Mint to commemorate Reverend Joseph A. DeLaine, Harry and Eliza Briggs and Levi Pearson for their contributions to the Nation as pioneers in the effort to desegregate public schools that led directly to the landmark desegregation case of Brown et al. v. the Board of Education of Topeka et al.
Briggs v. Elliott was a court case from Clarendon County that was one of the five cases combined into Brown v. Board of Education in which the U.S. Supreme officially overturned racial segregation in U.S. public schools.
- Briggs v. Elliot
- Briggs v. Elliot (1954)
- Petition of Harry Briggs et al. to the Board of Trustees for School District No. 22, et al.
- Petition of Harry Briggs, et al., to the Board of Trustees for School District No. 22. 11 November 1949
- Separate is Not Equal: Brown vs. Board of Education
- Bitter Resistance: Clarendon County, South Carolina
Native American Civil Rights
- Native American Civil Rights Timeline
Find out about the people and events during the Civil Rights era that led to increased rights for Native Americans in South Carolina and the nation.
- Schooling in the Native American Community
Hear an interview with Desiree Platt talking about history of education for Native Americans in the Orangeburg area.
- White Oak Indian School
The White Oak Indian School educated Native American children in grades 1-6 in the Holly Hill Santee Indian community, from the early 1930s to the late 1970s.
Sit-ins were an integral part of the mass protests during the Civil Rights Movement. In the South, groups would seat themselves at a restaurant or other location until they are evicted or arrested, or their requests have been met. Sit-ins were effective because they are a non-violent way of protesting, but often led to violence against the participants. There were sit-ins in several cities around the region, including Rock Hill, Charlotte, and Orangeburg.
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- Althea Gibson
Watch a video of Althea Gibson, famous tennis player from Silver, South Carolina.