Oral histories describe S.C. civil rights struggle





A group of South Carolina professors and historians are gathering oral histories to preserve a piece of the state's civil rights history. They have been traveling throughout the state to videotape leaders and grass-roots participants in the struggle for civil rights as they recount their experiences growing up and during the movement.

Their research and documentaries are being carried out individually and for different projects, but they share a common goal of preserving the state's carried out individually and for different projects, but they share a common goal of preserving the state's history for generations to come.

For example, Fred Moore knew he had a lot to lose in 1955 when a group of activists approached him, asking him to lead a student boycott of the White Citizens Council's businesses in Orangeburg County.

Moore was student body president at South Carolina State College, and the school's president, Benner Turner, reminded him he was about to graduate, that he had a shot at a Harvard Law School scholarship, that he had a future. This was not his fight, Turner said.

But Moore, a James Island native, was raised to demand dignity, he said. The council's discrimination against the black men and women who signed a petition for desegregation was wrong. Moore never graduated from South Carolina State. He was expelled just two weeks before graduation for his role in the protests.



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