"G" is for Gressette Committee (1951-1966)

May 28, 2018

Credit SC Public Radio

"G" is for Gressette Committee (1951-1966). In 1951, the South Carolina General Assembly created the South Carolina School Committee at the request of state senator Marion Gressette of Calhoun County. Following the filing of the Briggs v. Elliott case, which challenged the “separate but equal” policy in South Carolina’s public schools, the General Assembly created the committee to prepare for, and hopefully thwart, the possibility of federally mandated desegregation. Gressette was chairman of the fifteen-person committee. Though the committee opposed desegregation and slowed its pace in South Carolina, it advocated nonviolent resistance to change and actually became a vehicle for accommodation by stopping many segregation laws being debated by the legislature. In 1966, on the conclusion of most legal questions regarding segregation--and on the chairman’s recommendation, the legislature dissolved the Gressette Committee.