NAACP forms its first state organization, headed by Reverend A.W. Wright as president. Other leaders include Levi S. Byrd of Cheraw and Reverend James M. Hinton of Columbia.
Desegregation was not only a factor for blacks. Native Americans also faced questionable “separate but equal” treatment. Nineteen elementary schools were classified as “Special Schools” to serve the Native American community.
Some of these schools were Cross Roads School of Westminister, The Sardis Indian School, The Summerville Indian School, The Varnertown Indian School and the Catawba Indian School.
Harry Briggs is the first name on a list of more than a hundred petitioners in a test case filed with Clarendon County by the state NAACP, asking for total educational equality. It goes beyond the earlier 1947 request for equal transportation (Pearson v. County Board of Education).
South Carolina Governor James Byrnes supports a three cent sales tax for education, mainly to improve African-American schools in hopes of avoiding integration.
May 17. The Supreme Court rules on the landmark case Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas., unanimously agreeing that segregation in public schools is unconstitutional. This decision not only affected Black schools, but Native American schools, whose facilities were also inferior in comparison to white schools.
August. Fourteen-year-old Emmett Till is visiting family in Mississippi when he is kidnapped, brutally beaten, and shot. Two white men are arrested and acquitted by an all-white jury. The case becomes a motivator of the civil rights movement.
December 1. Montgomery Alabama NAACP member Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat at the front of the "colored section" of a bus to a white passenger.
September. Little Rock, Arkansas. Nine black students are blocked from entering all-white Central High School on the orders of Governor Orval Faubus. President Eisenhower sends federal troops and the National Guard to intervene on behalf of the students, who become known as the "Little Rock Nine."
February 1. In Greensboro, N.C. Four black students from North Carolina A&T College begin a sit-in at a segregated Woolworth's lunch counter. Student sit-ins would be effective throughout the Deep South in integrating parks, swimming pools, theaters, libraries, and other public facilities.
April. Raleigh, N.C. The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) is founded at Shaw University, providing young blacks with a place in the civil rights movement.
Youth activism continued to rise around the country. The National Indian Youth Council (NIYC) organization was formed to resurrect a sense of national pride among young Native Americans and to instill an activist message.
Harvey Gantt becomes the first African-American to enroll in Clemson University, with little vocal opposition. Years later Gantt becomes mayor of Charlotte and ran for the U.S. Senate in North Carolina.
August 28. Sumter NAACP leader James T. McCain was one of the background organizers for the 1963 March on Washington. Members of the Cherokee Indian Tribe of SC-ECSIUT were in attendance.
Nationally, the March on Washington attracted more than 250,000 people to the nation’s capital. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is passed under the leadership of Democratic President Lyndon Johnson, ending segregation laws in all public facilities and easing voting restrictions somewhat. The percentage of African-Americans registered to vote in the state more than doubles from the previous presidential election, rising to nearly thirty-nine percent.
March 7. Selma, Ala. Blacks begin a march to Montgomery in support of voting rights police use tear gas, whips, and clubs against them. The incident is dubbed "Bloody Sunday" by the media. The march is considered the catalyst for pushing through the voting rights act five months later.
August 10. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is passed, which leads to further gains in African-American voter participation all over the South.
February. The Orangeburg Massacre takes place when white highway patrol officers shooting into a crowd of students killing three students and wounding twenty-eight more.
April 3. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee where he was to lead a protest with the city garbage workers.
April 11. President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1968, prohibiting discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of housing.
300 female workers at the 1969 Charleston Hospital go on strike with the support of labor and civil rights groups protesting poor working conditions and low wages. The strike lasted 100 days and was led by Coretta Scott King. The strike took place eleven months after the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr (April 3, 1968).
November. I.S. Leevy Johnson (pictured above), James Felder, and Herbert Fielding are elected to the S.C. House in the General Assembly, the first African-Americans since 1902.
April 20. The Supreme Court in Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education upholds busing as a legitimate means for achieving integration of public schools.