civil rights

June Scott, right, holds a picture of her son Walter. The family spoke to the press after the decision was handed down Thursday in the federal sentencing of Michael Slager.
Victoria Hansen/SC Public Radio

It was a rare sentencing following a string of officer involved, racially charged killings across the nation.  Thursday, a federal judge gave former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager 20 years behind bars for killing an unarmed man as he fled a 2015 traffic stop.  The crime was caught on witness' cell phone video.  Few officers in recent years have been convicted in such killings, much less received a lengthy punishment.  Walter Scott's family hopes the sentence sends a strong message to police across the nation.

Newspaper Wars: Civil Rights and White Resistance in South Carolina, 1935-1965.
USC/Thomas Cooper Library

In spite of a growing movement for journalistic neutrality in reporting the news of the 20th century, journalists enlisted on both sides of the mid-century struggle for civil rights. Indeed, against all odds, the seeds of social change found purchase in South Carolina with newspaperman John McCray and his allies at the Lighthouse and Informer, who challenged readers to "rebel and fight"--to reject the "slavery of thought and action" and become "progressive fighters" for equality.

Chief Justice Ernest A. Finney, Jr.
SC Hall of Fame

Justice Ernest A. Finney, Jr., South Carolina's first Africa-American chief justice, has died Sunday, December 3, 2017. He was 86. Finney was one of just a handful of black lawyers in the state when he graduated from the South Carolina State College School of Law in 1954. Finney was elected chief justice of South Carolina in 1994 and retired from the court in 2000.

Dr. J. Brent Morris
USC Beaufort

(Originally broadcast 07/14/17) Yes, Lord, I Know the Road: A Documentary History of African Americans in South Carolina, 1526 – 2008 (2017, USC Press) is the first comprehensive history of African Americans in the Palmetto State. From the first North American slave rebellion near the mouth of the Pee Dee River in the early sixteenth century to the 2008 state Democratic primary victory of Barack Obama, Dr. J.

"D" is for Dixiecrats

Nov 9, 2017
South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"D" is for Dixiecrats. Dixiecrats were a political party organized in 1948 by disgruntled white Southern Democrats dismayed over their declining influence within the national Democratic Party. The Dixiecrats, officially known as the States' Rights Democratic Party, were committed to states' rights and opposed to federal intervention in the interest of promoting civil rights. Governor J. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina and Governor Fielding Wright of Mississippi were nominated as the party's presidential and vice-presidential candidates.

Senator Ernest F. "Fritz" Hollings
U.S. Congress

New Politics in the Old South: Ernest F. Hollings in the Civil Rights Era (2016, USC Press) is the first scholarly biography of Ernest F. "Fritz" Hollings, a key figure in South Carolina and national political developments in the second half of the twentieth century.

Narrative: Integrating the Charleston YWCA in the 1960s

Aug 25, 2017
Mary Alice Mack and Christine O. Jackson, Charleston 2012

This edition of Narrative features an interview from StoryCorps, an oral history project based on the idea that the stories of everyday people are the most important and interesting of all. When StoryCorps visited Charleston in 2012, Mary Alice Mack talked with her friend Christine O. Jackson, who was the Executive Director of the Charleston YWCA for decades.

Signs From "Columbia Stands with Charlottesville" rally
Thelisha Eaddy and Laura Hunsburger/ SC Public Radio

Hundreds gathered at the South Carolina State House Monday for the "Columbia Stands with Charlottesville" rally. The event was organized by several area-groups to show support for victims of the Charlottesville, VA violence.

Among the demonstrators was Connie Shier, who attended the rally to continue her family’s legacy of fighting fascism.

Prof. Jon N. Hale
College of Charleston

(Originally broadcast 12/02/16) - Created in 1964 as part of the Mississippi Freedom Summer, the Mississippi Freedom Schools were launched by educators and activists to provide an alternative education for African American students that would facilitate student activism and participatory democracy. The schools, as Jon N.

Sitting at a restaurant on Two-Notch Road in Columbia, I.S. Leevy Johnson, along with family and friends, waited to hear election results. The year was 1970 and later that night, the group celebrated as Leevy Johnson was elected to the state's General Assembly. He, along with two other African-American men, became the first to serve in that office since the end of Reconstruction.

In this edition of Narrative, the Columbia attorney talks about the community effort that helped him win and ultimately add to South Carolina history.

Prof. Jon N. Hale
College of Charleston

Created in 1964 as part of the Mississippi Freedom Summer, the Mississippi Freedom Schools were launched by educators and activists to provide an alternative education for African American students that would facilitate student activism and participatory democracy. The schools, as Jon N.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., speaking in Kingstree, SC, May 8, 1966.
Moving Image Research Collections, University of South Carolina

  On Mother's Day 1966, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. visited Kingstree, South Carolina and gave a remarkable public speech urging the audience of more than 5,000 to exercise their right to vote as a means to pursue social and economic justice. On August 6, 1965—just a eight months prior to Dr. King's speech— President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the Voting Rights Act, allowing the majority of Kingstree's citizens the right to vote.

Salley McInerney

    Journey Proud (Abe Books, 2013) is the story of four white children growing up in the early 1960s in a middle-class neighborhood in Columbia, South Carolina. This coming-of-age tale set in the South during the civil rights movement exposes the inequities of the period and shows how childhood innocence is often replaced by harsh realities.

Walter Edgar talks with author Salley McAden McInerney. McInerney is a journalist, freelance writer and former columnist for the Anderson Independent-Mail, the Gwinnett Daily News, The Columbia Record and The State newspapers.

All Stations: Fri, Dec 18, 12 pm | News Stations: Sun, Dec 19, 4 pm

  The Voting Rights Act was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson in August of1965. This landmark legislation aimed to eliminate obstacles created by state and local governments to keep African Americans from exercising their right to vote under the 15th Amendment (1870) to the Constitution.

Walter Edgar talks with University of South Carolina historians Bobby Donaldson and Patricia Sullivan about the history leading to passage of the Voting Rights Act, and about its impact through the years.

All Stations: Fri, Dec 11, 12 pm | News Stations: Sun, Dec 13, 4 pm

  “C” is for Citizens’ Councils. Founded in 1954, in Indianola, Mississippi, Citizens’ Councils quickly spread across the South. The organization promoted a membership as a “respectable” way for disgruntled segregationists to protest civil rights activism. The councils distributed pro-segregation propaganda and attempted to protect the legality of racial segregation. Although they denounced violence, they encouraged organized economic pressure against African Americans and whites that were sympathetic to desegregation. South Carolina’s first council appeared in Orangeburg County in August 1955. By October representatives of thirty-eight chapters met in Columbia to form the Association of Citizens’ Councils of South Carolina. Within a year they claimed forty thousand members in fifty-five councils. The driving force behind the state organization was S. Emory Rogers. Although Citizens’ Councils remained active into the 1960s, after 1958, membership never topped one thousand.

Updated at 2:28 p.m. ET

A judge in South Carolina has thrown out the convictions of the Friendship Nine, nine black men who integrated a whites-only lunch counter in 1961, at the peak of the civil rights movement.

"We cannot rewrite history, but we can right history," Judge John C. Hayes III said before signing the order that vacated their trespassing convictions. (Hayes is the nephew of the judge who handed down the original sentence.) The prosecutor apologized to the eight surviving members of the Friendship Nine who were in the courtroom.