Demonstrations on Gervais Street in Columbia protesting the Orangeburg Massacre, 3/13/1968. Image courtesy of Bill Barley Photography and the Orangeburg Massacre 1968 website.
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
- The NAACP in South Carolina
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is a significant national grassroots-based civil rights organization in the United States. The first NAACP chapters in South Carolina were organized in Columbia and Charleston in 1917 with seventy-five members.
- Ku Klux Klan Broadside, South Carolina, 1957
This broadside advertises a Ku Klux Klan Rally in Swansea, SC in 1957.
- 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.
- Civil Rights in America: Racial Voting Rights
Learn more about the fight for equal voting rights in the United States, including information about important properties and landmarks.
- Martin Luther King speaks in Kingstree, SC May 9, 1966
Watch a video of Martin Luther King, Jr. in Kingstree speaking on voting.
- The Charleston Hospital Workers Movement, 1968-1969
Explore this online exhibition about the development and aftermath of the Charleston Hospital Workers' Strike that took place in Charleston from March to July 1969.
- The Friendship 9
Students in Rock Hill went to jail after staging a sit-in at a segregated McCrory's lunch counter in 1961.
- Isaac Woodard
Isaac Woodwad was an African American World War II veteran who was beaten and blinded in Batesburg, SC hours after his discharge from the Army. View court transcripts, military documentation, and assorted primary documents related to this historic case.
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.
- The Orangeburg Massacre
- Orangeburg Massacre
- An Epic Story of Racism in South Carolina
- C-Span: Orangeburg Massacre
- Orangeburg Massacre
Documents and Video
- The Civil Rights Digital Library
Explore photographs, news film, television, and documents relating to the Civil Rights Movement.
- Historic Sites of the Civil Rights Movement
Learn more about civil rights heritage sites and locations and the importance of seeing firsthand places where historic events occurred.
- Lost Revolutions
In this video, author Pete Daniel talks about his book Lost Revolutions: The South in the 1950s, published by the University of North Carolina Press. The book examines issues from the era, including the civil rights movement, segregation, the breakdown of traditional agriculture and Southern pride.
- 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.
- Charlayne Hunter-Gault
- I 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 Monteith 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.
- South Carolina’s Equalization Schools: 1951-1960
Between 1951 and 1960, many new African American schools were built around the state, in an effort to show that “separate but equal” facilities were being provided to communities.
- Briggs v. Elliot (1954)
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.
- Bitter Resistance: Clarendon County, South Carolina
Learn more about the Briggs v. Elliott case and see a picture of the brief submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court.
- A History of Burke High School in Charleston, South Carolina since 1894
Burke's history as a segregated school for African Americans from the late nineteenth century that fostered significant student activism during the civil rights movement.
Judge J. Waties Waring
Judge Waring was the dissenting opinion in the Briggs v. Elliott court case; a white Southerner who advocated for justice and an end to segregation in the education system. He and his family were ostracized by the white society of Charleston and he eventually moved to New York City.