Toward the Meeting of the Waters

Toward the Meeting of the Waters

Currents in the Civil Rights Movement of South Carolina during the Twentieth Century

  • Author: Moore, Jr., Winfred B.; Burton, Orville Vernon
  • Publisher: University of South Carolina Press
  • ISBN: 9781570037559
  • eISBN Pdf: 9781643363363
  • Place of publication:  South Carolina , United States
  • Year of publication: 2022
  • Year of digital publication: 2022
  • Month: March
  • Pages: 497
  • DDC: 323.1196/07307570904
  • Language: English

2009 Choice Outstanding Academic Title • A provocative look into civil rights progress in the Palmetto State from activists, statesmen, and historians

Toward the Meeting of the Waters represents a watershed moment in civil rights history—bringing together voices of leading historians alongside recollections from central participants to provide the first comprehensive history of the civil rights movement as experienced by black and white South Carolinians. Edited by Winfred B. Moore Jr. and Orville Vernon Burton, this work originated with a highly publicized landmark conference on civil rights held at the Citadel in Charleston.

The volume opens with an assessment of the transition of South Carolina leaders from defiance to moderate enforcement of federally mandated integration and includes commentary by former governor and U.S. senator Ernest F. Hollings and former governor John C. West. Subsequent chapters recall defining moments of white-on-black violence and aggression to set the context for understanding the efforts of reformers such as Levi G. Byrd and Septima Poinsette Clark and for interpreting key episodes of white resistance. Emerging from these essays is arresting evidence that, although South Carolina did not experience as much violence as many other southern states, the civil rights movement here was more fiercely embattled than previously acknowledged.

The section of retrospectives serves as an oral history of the era as it was experienced by a mixture of locally and nationally recognized participants, including historians such as John Hope Franklin and Tony Badger as well as civil rights activists Joseph A. De Laine Jr., Beatrice Brown Rivers, Charles McDew, Constance Curry, Matthew J. Perry Jr., Harvey B. Gantt, and Cleveland Sellers Jr. The volume concludes with essays by historians Gavin Wright, Dan Carter, and Charles Joyner, who bring this story to the present day and examine the legacy of the civil rights movement in South Carolina from a modern perspective.

Toward the Meeting of the Waters also includes thirty-seven photographs from the period, most of them by Cecil Williams and many published here for the first time.

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • Dedication
  • Contents
  • List of Illustrations
  • Foreword
  • Preface
  • Part 1—Governors
    • From Defiance to Moderation: South Carolina Governors and Racial Change
    • Comments
      • Ernest F. Hollings
      • John C. West
    • Questions and Answers
  • Part 2—Aggressors
    • Lynching in the Outer Coastal Plain Region of South Carolina and the Origins of African American Collective Action, 1901–1910
    • Conflicting Expectations: White and Black Anticipations of Opportunities in World War I–Era South Carolina
    • An “Ominous Defiance”: The Lowman Lynchings of 1926
    • The Civil Right Not to Be Lynched: State Law, Government, and Citizen Response to the Killing of Willie Earle (1947)
    • This Magic Moment: When the Ku Klux Klan Tried to Kill Rhythm and Blues Music in South Carolina
  • Part 3—Reformers
    • Mr. NAACP: Levi G. Byrd and the Remaking of the NAACP in State and Nation, 1917–1960
    • The Impact of 1940s Civil Rights Activism on the State’s 1960s Civil Rights Scene: A Hypothesis and Historiographical Discussion
    • Seeds in Unlikely Soil: The Briggs v. Elliott School Segregation Case
    • Five Days in May: Freedom Riding in the Carolinas
    • The Developmental Leadership of Septima Clark, 1954–1967
  • Part 4—Resisters
    • Memories and Forebodings: The Fight to Preserve the White Democratic Primary in South Carolina, 1944–1950
    • Could History Repeat Itself? The Prospects for a Second Reconstruction in Post–World War II South Carolina
    • The White Citizens’ Councils of Orangeburg County, South Carolina
    • “Integration with [Relative] Dignity”: The Desegregation of Clemson College and George McMillan’s Article at Forty
    • Memory, History, and the Desegregation of Greenville, South Carolina
    • Schooling and White Supremacy: The African American Struggle for Educational Equality and Access in South Carolina, 1945–1970
  • Part 5—Retrospectives
    • Briggs v. Elliott a Half Century Later
      • John Hope Franklin
      • Joseph A. De Laine Jr.
      • Beatrice Brown Rivers
    • Questions and Answers
    • Voices from the Civil Rights Movement in South Carolina
      • Charles F. McDew
      • Constance Curry
      • Matthew J. Perry Jr.
      • Harvey B. Gantt
    • The Orangeburg Massacre
      • Cleveland L. Sellers Jr.
      • Jordan M. Simmons III
      • Jack Bass
    • “We’re Not There Yet”: Orangeburg, 1968–2003
  • Part 6—Crosscurrents at Century’s End
    • The Economics of the Civil Rights Revolution
    • Civil Rights and Politics in South Carolina: The Perspective of One Lifetime, 1940–2003
    • How Far We Have Come—How Far We Still Have to Go
  • Appendix: “Orangeburg, Let Us Heal Ourselves”
  • Contributors
  • Index
  • About the Editors


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