Civil Rights

Modjeska Monteith Simkins (1899-1992) provided remarkable leadership in the struggle for civil rights in South Carolina.  Her papers date from 1909 to 1992 and consist of some 6.25 linear feet of material documenting the African American experience in contemporary South Carolina.  The Simkins papers have been microfilmed and are available via interlibrary to promote their study. 

I. DeQuincey Newman (1911-1985) helped organize the Orangeburg branch of the NAACP in 1943, was a founding member of the Progressive Democratic Party, and served the South Carolina NAACP as vice-president, secretary and president.  In 1983, at age 72, he was elected to the South Carolina Senate, becoming the first African American to serve in that body since Reconstruction.  The Newman papers have been scanned and are available on site electronically to promote their study.  They consist of 2.5 linear feet of material, 1929-2003.  

William D. Workman, Jr. (1914-1990), a journalist, wrote for Charleston’s Post and Courier and Columbia’s The State, becoming editor of the latter in 1966.  His collection, 65 ft. of papers, 1915-1986, contains valuable materials on the civil rights movement in South Carolina.

Less obvious, but of great value in documenting the civil rights movement, are the collections of leaders in state government and Congress.  Legislative files on civil rights and related issues provide fascinating insights into our history.   

An example of the riches held within these large and complex collections are files in the collection of U.S. Senator Olin D. Johnston (1896 -1965) relating to the 1961 nomination by President John F. Kennedy of noted attorney and future U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall (1908-1993) to the Second United States Circuit Court of Appeals.  His papers contain a substantial amount of mail received from across South Carolina and the country.  The letters reflect the wide division of public opinion regarding this momentous nomination.   

The collections of Governors Robert E. McNair and John C. West contain material pertaining to the integration of South Carolina’s public school system, with West’s 1970 gubernatorial campaign against Albert Watson emphasizing civil rights issues.  The McNair papers include material concerning the violent confrontation between S.C. State College students and state police in 1968. The gubernatorial records and the speeches series of the Ernest F. Hollings papers contain seven folders, dated 1957 to 1962, and several speeches by Hollings as lieutenant governor and governor that relate to segregation issues and school integration. Other relevant material is spread throughout his gubernatorial and senatorial records. Hollings served as lt. governor, 1955-1959, governor, 1959-1963, and senator, 1966-2005.

For detailed descriptions of SCPC’s collections please see our collections page.


Collections located at the South Caroliniana Library of particular interest regarding African Americans since World War II: 

·         Christian Action Council

·         South Carolina Council on Human Relations

·         Arthur John Howard Clement, Jr.

·         The Rev. Joseph A. DeLaine

·         Rosslee Tenetha Green Douglas

·         James T. McCain

·         John Henry McCray





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