THE NCHE CIVIL RIGHTS CONFERENCE
The Desegregation of South Carolina Colleges and Schools
June 20-21, 2013
Join NCHE and South Carolina State University as we look back on the historic events of the Civil Rights struggle and look forward to imparting those lessons to future generations.
The post-World War II movement for civil rights was a multifaceted, multi-directed movement. Civil rights organizations specifically targeted the right to vote, desegregation of public facilities, desegregation of public education, equal protection under the law, an end to job discrimination, fair and equal housing and an end to violence towards African Americans. Each of the objectives or a combination of them was the focus of governmental policies, judicial decisions, new legislation or direct action on the part of civil rights organizations.
Since many persons believed that improved educational opportunity was the most important means to improving the status of African Americans, leaders placed greater emphasis on it. The disparities between black and white education were glaring. In addition to having fewer schools, black schools in general were poorly funded, physically dilapidated, paid teachers less and did not update antiquated resources. Many civil rights activists believed that no equity could be achieved in a segregated environment, so
desegregation of public schools became a major facet of the Civil Rights Movement.
In the 1954 Brown v Board of Education decision, the Supreme Court ruled that segregated schools were unconstitutional.
In its subsequent Brown II decision, it mandated that desegregation must proceed at “all deliberate speed”. Reaction to the decision was met with some sense of jubilation by proponents of desegregation, while opponents throughout the South pledged to fight the decision. Throughout the South, opposition to desegregation took the forms of administrative delays, court challenges, private school movements, violence and death. While South Carolinians opposed school desegregation, resistance in the state was relative mild in comparison to her sister southern states.