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Desegregation in South Carolina Schools: Opposition to Desegregation


Get a quick overview of opposition to desegregation in South Carolina and browse SCPC's relevant holdings below.

Collection Connections

Boxes 40, 46, 47, 134. Includes folders on the desegregation of public schools and Federal Aid to Education (1958-1965).

Boxes 16, 27, 34, 35. Includes pamphlets, booklets, and reports about desegregation as well as general information about school desegregation (1950-1962, 1964-1974) as well as court cases Adams, et. al. v. Orangeburg and Briggs v. Elliot testimony.


About Opposition to Desegregation in South Carolina

Letters encouraging Olin Dewitt Talmadge Johnston (ODJ) in his opposition of desegregation are found throughout his collection and effectively capture the sentiment of the constituents at the time, including reactions to the Brown v. Board ruling (Box 40). There are countless requests and even petitions for ODJ to stop Congress and the Supreme Court as they attempted to desegregate the nation (Boxes 47, 89). For example, in 1953 student Larry Duncan wrote, “Perhaps I am prejudiced by my previous training however I think all races should be separate” (Box 35). Another constituent supported segregation in the form of an Aesop’s fable, titled “Aesop did not write this one” (Box 40). A copy of the anti-desegregation publication, The White Sentinel (August 1955), speculates on the effects of military desegregation. It is a useful sampling of the perspectives held by advocates of segregation (Box 46). An assortment of clippings relates to the closing of schools which refused to integrate as well as the issue of Federal School Aid in 1955 (Boxes 132, 133).

The William D. Workman Jr. Collection contains many pamphlets, booklets, and reports in response to desegregation which offer useful comparisons (Box 35). In "Eliminating Racial Segregation in the Baltimore Public Schools," a Baltimore superintendent says, “no effort will be made deliberately to transfer children of either race for the purpose of mixing schools.” (Box 34).

Opposition to desegregation also took the form of protests and violence. In the Robert E. McNair Collection, there is a folder covering the boycotts at Voorhees College in 1970 (Box 107). This collection includes information about desegregating Greenville and Darlington. The unrest ultimately resulted in the Lamar Incident (March 2, 1970). Public reactions to the violence are included as are clippings about desegregation and busing in general (Box 107). General records about the Lamar Incident are contained in the William D. Workman Jr. Collection (Box 28).

Clippings highlighting police brutality during the Civil Rights Era are located in the Workman Collection. The bulk of the articles have a heavy focus on arrests of African Americans at sit-ins, trespassing charges, and the Rock Hill protests (Box 47). In-depth insight into the issue is present in the book Violence and Dissent in Urban America and in an essay written by the Dean of Criminology at the University of California titled “New Dimensions of the Police Problems in Racial Tension and Conflict” (Box 35).