As the 1960s began, Clemson College
enrolled approximately 3,900 white male students and approximately 100 white
students. Eighty percent were from South Carolina, and ninety-four percent were
from the South. Annual tuition, including room
and board, was $882 for in-state students and $1082 for out-of-state students
Students could choose from twenty-nine
majors in the Schools of Agriculture, Architecture, Arts and Sciences, Engineering,
Textiles. All unmarried, male students under age 21 were required to complete
two years of basic ROTC (Reserve Officers' Training Corps).
Single male students lived in six
dormitories (Johnstone Hall and the five dormitories that comprise the current
with two more under construction. There were three housing projects for married
students. No dormitories were provided for women,
although one was under construction. Freshmen were not allowed to have cars
The YMCA (Holtzendorff) and the new
Student Center (Johnstone) were the centers of extra-curricular life. There
were no social
fraternities or sororities. Dances, concerts and intramural sports were popular
campus activities. Intercollegiate athletics attracted
large crowds. Memorial Stadium could seat 44,000 football fans.
The Library (the current Sikes Hall)
desperately needed more space as enrollment increased each year. The newest
included Earle Hall, the School of Architecture Building (Lee), the Robert Franklin
Poole Agricultural Center and the Physics
Local black residents worked for
the College from its earliest days, but were mostly limited to jobs as custodians,
and cafeteria workers. Black entertainers were hired for college dances by the
1950s. But, there were no black students, faculty or
administrators before 1963.
"Separate But Equal"
In 1896, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled
in the case Plessy v. Ferguson that racial segregation was allowed as
long as equal facilities
were provided for both races. Although Plessy v. Ferguson involved only
passenger accommodations on a railroad, the principle of
"separate but equal" was applied to all aspects of public life. By
1914, every Southern state had passed laws creating separate
facilities for blacks, including schools, restaurants, streetcars, health-care
institutions and cemeteries. This artificial structure was
maintained by denying black people the right to vote.
Gradual changes by the 1940s started
the country on the long path toward ending "separate but equal." Large
numbers of blacks
moving west and north during World War II brought the issue to national attention.
And black soldiers and sailors who returned from
fighting for their country against injustice overseas were less tolerant of
inequality at home.
Many white leaders continued to fight
desegregation at all costs, although some attempts were made to forestall arguments
equal facilities were not provided. In South Carolina higher education, the
state maintained a separate law school at South Carolina
State College beginning in 1945. The South Carolina Area Trade School was founded
in 1947. And the South Carolina Regional
Education Board paid the difference between in-state and out-of-state fees for
black students to attend colleges in other states if
their field of interest was not available at South Carolina State College.
Brown v Board of Education,
1954 overrules "Separate But Equal"
On May 17, 1954 the Supreme Court
decided the landmark case Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas.
Linda Brown was
denied admission to an elementary school in Topeka because she was black. Her
case was brought together with cases from South
Carolina, Virginia, and Delaware which involved the same basic question: Does
the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment
prohibit racial segregation in the public schools? In a unanimous opinion
delivered by Chief Justice Earl Warren, the Supreme Court
declared that "separate education facilities are inherently unequal."
Many white southerners, from politicians
to business leaders to ordinary citizens, criticized the Supreme Court and refused
by the Brown decision. The 1956 session of the South Carolina General
Assembly was called the "Segregation Session" because
so many acts passed by the legislature were designed to prevent desegregating
schools, parks and other facilities.
White Citizens' Councils and other
groups that pledged to preserve white supremacy sprang up in many states, including
Carolina. Threats, intimidation and violence were used against blacks, as well
as whites, who supported the Brown decision. In
response, there was an increase in peaceful public protests, including sit-in
demonstrations and economic boycotts, as well legal
action to bring about integration. By 1963, every state except South Carolina
had integrated at least one of its colleges or universities.
Other Black Applicants
The earliest known black applicant
to Clemson College was Spencer Bracey, a student at South Carolina A&M College
Neither he nor 1956 applicant John L. Gainey, a soldier, pursued enrollment.
Cornelius T. Fludd graduated with
Harvey Gantt from Burke High School in Charleston. He enrolled at Morehouse
College in Atlanta
and later joined Gantt at Iowa State. Fludd also wanted to transfer to Clemson
and completed the same stages in the application
process through the Spring of 1962. At that time, he decided not to continue
his efforts to attend Clemson. Fludd currently is an
assistant athletic director at the University of Texas.
Harvey B. Gantt
Harvey B. Gantt was born in 1943
in Charleston where he grew up with four younger sisters. His father, Christopher
several jobs to support his family and also was a member of the NAACP (National
Association for the Advancement of Colored
People). Harvey Gantt was eleven years old when the Brown v. Board of Education
ruling was made. He began to take an interest
in the issues of race about that time, later becoming part of the NAACP Youth
Council and participating in at least one sit-in protest
Gantt graduated from Burke High School
in 1960. He was interested in studying architecture and during his senior year
of high school
asked for application materials from Clemson, the only architecture school in
South Carolina. But Clemson did not admit black students
in 1960, so Gantt enrolled at Iowa State University. The South Carolina Regional
Education Board paid $149.51 per quarter (the
difference in cost between in-state and out-of-state enrollment) for him to
study architecture at Iowa State University instead of at
"Will you please send
me a bulletin for the 1960-61 school year. I should like the bulletin to include
the different curriculums
and the cost of attending Clemson for one year. Also I am asking that you send
me some applications for admission next
semester or the fall of '61."
-- Harvey Gantt to Registrar's Office, November 2, 1960
The Registrar's office staff eventually
sent Gantt a catalog and application card which he returned in December 1960.
realized Gantt was black from the race question on the card.
"Your application for
entrance in September, 1961 has been received. On inquiry, we find that the
South Carolina Regional
Education Board is paying, and expects to continue to pay provided you qualify,
the difference in cost between in-state and
out-of-state enrollment. In view of the above and your satisfactory progress
at Iowa State University, we are returning your
-- Registrar's Office to Harvey Gantt, January 23, 1961
Gantt repeated his desire to attend
Clemson and returned his application to be considered for enrollment in the
Fall 1961 semester.
Harvey Gantt's application was put
in the "incomplete" file and eventually he was advised that it was
too late for him to be considered
for the 1961 Fall semester. Gantt applied for admission again in December 1961,
asking to be admitted either for the 1962 Spring
semester or 1962 Fall semester.
In June 1962, Harvey Gantt traveled
to Clemson and talked with Clemson Registrar Kenneth Vickery. He was told the
waiting for his transcripts from Iowa State University. On July 2, he was advised
that he needed to submit a portfolio of his work in
architecture before his application could be reviewed.
"The plaintiff has not
been granted admission to Clemson College although he is fully qualified for
such admission and
has met all requirements for such admission and although white students who
applied after plaintiff applied and whose
academic records are inferior to those of the plaintiff have been admitted.
The admission of the plaintiff has been denied
by the registrar of Clemson College solely because of the race and color of
the plaintiff and pursuant to the policy, practice,
custom and usage of limiting admission to Clemson College to white persons only."
- Complaint, Harvey Gantt v. Clemson Agricultural College of South Carolina,
July 7, 1962
On July 7, 1962 Harvey Gantt filed
a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of South Carolina,
The lawsuit was filed on his behalf by his father, Christopher Gantt, because
Harvey Gantt was a minor. Gantt's lead attorney was
Matthew Perry of Columbia. He also was represented by several NAACP attorneys
from Greenville and New York, including
Constance Baker Motley who represented James Meredith in his legal action against
the University of Mississippi.
On July 9, 1962 a summons to be answered
within twenty days, a complaint and a motion for preliminary injunction was
President R.C. Edwards and Registrar Kenneth Vickery. Within the week similar
papers were served to each member of the
Board of Trustees and State Superintendent of Education J. T. Anderson.
On September 6, 1962, C. C. Wyche,
U.S. District Judge for the Western District in South Carolina, denied the motion
preliminary injunction. The decision was appealed and heard in the United States
Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Alexandria,
Virginia on September 25 and October 4, 1962. On October 5, 1962, the Fourth
Circuit Court of Appeals denied the request for
a temporary injunction and expressed its desire that the case be heard on its
merits by the District Court as soon as possible.
Matthew Perry was
born in Columbia in 1921. After serving in the Army from 1942 to 1946, he completed
his B.S. degree in
1948 and his law degree in 1951 at South Carolina State College. As a young
civil rights lawyer, Perry was instrumental in
achieving many successes for blacks. He was an attorney with the Columbia firm
of Jenkins, Perry and Pride and also legal
counsel in South Carolina for the NAACP.
Perry tried cases
that led to the integration of beaches, parks, restaurants, and public schools
and his trial work led to the
release of some 7,000 people arrested for sit-in protests. Harvey Gantt first
met Matthew Perry when Perry gave a speech
at Gantt's church in 1958.
Robert Cook Edwards
Robert C. Edwards
graduated from Clemson in 1933 with a degree in textile engineering. He served
in the army during World
War II and worked at Deering-Milliken. In 1956, Edwards began working at Clemson
as vice president for development, a new
position in which he supervised fundraising and public and alumni relations.
When President Poole
died in June 1958, R.C. Edwards was named acting president. In April 1959 he
was the unanimous
choice to be Clemson's president.
Kenneth N. Vickery
graduated from Clemson in 1938 and began working as assistant to the Registrar.
He returned to Clemson
after serving for 4 ½ years in the Army during World War II. Vickery
became Director of Admissions in 1949, Registrar in 1955
and Director of Admissions and Registration in 1961.
Meanwhile, In Mississippi
On September 10, 1962, a federal
court ordered the University of Mississippi to accept James Meredith, a twenty-eight-year-old
Air Force veteran, as the school's first black student. Governor Ross Barnett
vowed he would never allow the school to be
integrated and personally blocked Meredith's enrollment. He was supported by
hundreds of state policemen, sheriffs, residents
To protect Meredith, U.S. Attorney
General Robert Kennedy sent 123 deputy federal marshals, 316 U.S. border guards
federal prison guards. They were attacked with guns, bricks and bottles. As
violence escalated in late September, President
John F. Kennedy sent more than 16,000 federal troops. Two people were killed,
twenty-eight marshals were shot and 160 people
were injured. Meredith finally enrolled on October 1, 1962. Federal troops remained
on campus to protect him until he graduated
The situation in Mississippi had
a tremendous impact on Clemson and its supporters. Many people who opposed integrating
school more strongly opposed the violence and destruction that took place in
Behind the Scenes
In early 1961, R.C. Edwards discussed
with John Cauthen whether state leaders would support a policy of law and order
courts ordered Harvey Gantt to be admitted to Clemson. Cauthen began lining
up support among business and political leaders
for a non-violent course of action. They were joined, informally, by Charles
Daniel, Edgar Brown, Ernest Hollings and Wayne
Freeman. Freeman was editor of the Greenville News and a member of the Gressette
Committee that dealt with the state's
In July 1961, Charles Daniel made
a speech at the annual Watermelon Festival in Hampton County saying that the
to deal openly with desegregation in a manner that would benefit all citizens
of the state. The general public was much harder to
convince, however. In early 1962, Governor Hollings told newspaper editors to
begin preparing their readers for the "inevitable" -
a black student being admitted to a previously all-white college. Newspapers
began to cover the Gantt case in detail. And the
public began to take notice.
Charles Daniel, a
graduate of The Citadel and veteran of World War I, founded Daniel Construction
Company in 1935. Eventually,
Daniel International became one of the largest construction companies in the
world. His company also built many of the buildings
on Clemson's campus.
Daniel was a prominent
business leader and served on the board of many national corporations and organizations.
instrumental in getting many businesses and industries to build in South Carolina.
In 1954, Daniel was appointed by Governor
James F. Byrnes to fill an unexpired U. S. Senate term. He also served as a
life member of the Clemson College Board of
Trustees from 1949 to 1958.
John K. Cauthen
John K. Cauthen, from
North Augusta, South Carolina, wrote for newspapers in Charleston and Columbia
before becoming the
state's first radio commentator for Columbia's station WIS in the late 1930s.
He continued to work for the state in public affairs
positions. In the 1940s, Cauthen served as executive secretary to two governors
and later wrote speeches for several more. He
also was a skilled lobbyist.
From 1945 to 1971,
Cauthen was executive vice president of the South Carolina Textile Manufacturers
Association. He worked
with Charles Daniel and textile leaders to create an economic development policy
that made the state an attractive place for industry.
Edgar A. Brown
Edgar A. Brown worked
as a law clerk and court stenographer before passing the bar exam when he was
twenty-one. He was
Chairman of the state Democratic Party and served on executive committees on
county, state and national levels. Brown was a
state representative from 1921 to 1926, including one year as Speaker of the
House. He was elected to the South Carolina
Senate in 1928 and served until 1972, becoming one of the state's most powerful
leaders. From 1942 to 1971 he was
President Pro Tempore and Chairman of the Finance Committee.
Brown also served
as an appointed member of the Clemson Board of Trustees from 1934 to 1946 and
as a life trustee from
1948 to 1975. He received an honorary degree from Clemson in 1955.
A native of Charleston,
Fritz Hollings graduated from The Citadel in 1942. He served as an officer in
World War II before
graduating from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1947. The
following year, at age 26, he began his long career
of public service when he was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives.
In his second term, Hollings' peers
voted him Speaker Pro Tempore, a post to which he was re-elected in 1953. Two
years later, he became Lieutenant Governor.
In 1958, at age 36,
Hollings became the youngest man in the 20th century to be elected Governor
of South Carolina. As Governor,
Hollings stressed economic growth and development and developed the state's
system of technical colleges. Donald S. Russell
succeeded Hollings as governor of South Carolina in mid-January 1963.
Legal Action Continues
Harvey Gantt v. The Clemson Agricultural
College of South Carolina was heard by Judge C.C. Wyche in Anderson, South
Carolina, November 19 - 21, 1962. Clemson's defense was based on two points:
"We contend that Harvey Gantt
has never completed an application for admission to Clemson and that he has
"We contend that his application
has been processed and treated in every other way in precisely the same manner
all other applicants similarly situated without regard to race."
On December 22, 1962 Judge Wyche
again ruled that Gantt's entrance to Clemson should be denied, stating that
he failed to
complete application requirements. He also ruled that the college's actions
in the Gantt case were not based on race.
The case was appealed to the Fourth
Circuit Court. On January 16, 1963 the Fourth Circuit Court reversed the
decision and ordered Gantt admitted to Clemson for the Spring semester which
would begin on January 28, 1963.
Clemson then asked the Fourth Circuit Court, and then the U.S. Supreme Court,
for a stay of the enforcement of the decision.
Both requests were denied.
On January 22, 1963, in compliance
with the ruling of the Court of Appeals of the Fourth Circuit Court, Judge Wyche
order that Harvey Gantt be admitted to Clemson College.
After the ruling, several members
of the state legislature debated closing Clemson to prevent Gantt from enrolling.
But, few others
supported that course of action. President R. C. Edwards, John Cauthen and their
small group of associates had continued to plan
for the peaceful integration of Clemson College whenever it was to take place.
Rather than waiting for reactions to a legal ruling,
they had lined up supporters in advance.
On January 24th, Governor Russell,
State Senator Marion Gressette and President Edwards all held press conferences
there be no violence or disruption. Gressette was head of the Gressette Committee,
also known as the School Segregation
Committee because it dealt with all the state's racial issues. His participation
was significant in sending a message that there would
be no support for blocking Gantt's enrollment.
"I feel that I have the confidence
of the student body in saying that the students at Clemson will react with the
of Clemson men and that there will be no violence connected with the admittance
of Harvey Gantt."
-- Clemson student body president Bill Hendrix, c January 17, 1963
"An overwhelming majority
of the major business, industrial and professional interests of the state strongly
approve the announced
determination of the board of trustees and the administration of Clemson College
to maintain law and order at all times, thereby
guaranteeing that control of the institution will remain, without interruption,
under the direction of constituted authorities of the state
of South Carolina. Not only must we insure law and order at Clemson College,
but we must preserve and project the good name
of South Carolina - demonstrating to the rest of the nation and the world that
our dedication to the established and prevailing
American way of life is consistent and enduring."
-- statement released c January 20, 1963 by the South Carolina State Chamber
of Commerce, South Carolina
Textile Manufacturers Association, South Carolina Bankers Association and South
Carolina Broadcasters Association.
Religious leaders of the state issued
a similar statement.
"If the ultimate decision
of the Federal courts directs that Harvey Gantt should be admitted, my position
is that the board of trustees
and the administration at Clemson College will not tolerate violence on the
-- State Senator and Clemson Board of Trustees member Edgar Brown, late December
"However distasteful these
federal decisions may be to us and whatever may be our opinion as to the justice
of such decisions,
we shall meet and solve this problem peaceably, without violence, without disorder,
and with proper regard for the good name of
our State and her people."
- Governor Donald Russell, January 24, 1963
"We have all argued that
the Supreme Court decision of 1954 is not the law of the land. But everyone
must agree that it is the
fact of the land
If and when every legal remedy has been exhausted, this
General Assembly must make clear South Carolina's
choice, a government of laws rather than a government of men."
-- Governor Ernest F. Hollings, Farewell Address to the South Carolina General
Assembly, January 1963
In October 1962, Governor Hollings sent J. P. Strom, the chief of the South
Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED), to Oxford,
Mississippi to study the situation and use the information to work out a detailed
security plan for Clemson. The plan was used on
January 28th. More than 100 policemen, highway patrolmen and SLED officers were
assigned to campus. They set up ten
checkpoints to review identification cards of everyone arriving on campus. The
SLED plane was available for aerial patrol if
needed. Governor Donald Russell refused an offer for federal troops from U.S.
Attorney General Robert Kennedy.
Students were issued identification
cards to carry at all times. They were told: "Your only reason for being
at Clemson is for the
purpose of obtaining an education. You are expected to continue to carry out
the duties of a mature student as you pursue this
objective. . . . Lawlessness and disorder will no more be tolerated on the Clemson
campus in the future than it has been in the
past. Please do not let idle curiosity allow you to become involved in a situation
in which you have no connection or responsibility."
Joe Sherman was raised
in Clemson and graduated from the College in 1934. He took over full-time the
college news bureau
he had started as a student. Sherman did both general college publicity and
sports publicity for Clemson until 1947. Then he
went to work at the University of Florida and later as an editor with the National
Collegiate Athletic Bureau of the NCAA. He
returned to Clemson as director of public and alumni relations in 1956 and began
Tigerama later that year.
Walter T. Cox
Walter T. Cox graduated
from Clemson in 1939 and began working the next year as assistant football coach,
and athletic business manager. In 1950, he became director of public relations
and alumni affairs and assistant to the president.
In 1955, Cox was named vice president for student affairs.
January 28, 1963
Only new and transfer students reported
to Clemson on Monday, January 28th. Classes didn't begin until Friday. Harvey
left Charleston early in the morning and arrived at Clemson around 1 pm with
his attorney, Matthew Perry. He first went to Tillman
Hall where he enrolled in the Registrar's Office and then spoke outside to the
gathered media. Next Gantt went to the School of
Architecture (Lee Hall) where he met with Dean Harlan McClure. He met briefly
with President Edwards and then went to his
room, Room 502 in Dormitory B (Johnstone Hall). He wasn't assigned a roommate.
The press followed Gantt to each
location. Over a hundred students followed the crowd at first, usually laughing
and joking. Most
eventually lost interest.
Harvey Gantt attended orientation
sessions on January 29, signed up for classes on January 30 and then had a day
classes began on February 1.
More than 150 members of the press
from around the country -- including three black reporters -- arrived in Clemson
Harvey Gantt's admission. The Clemson House was set up as their headquarters,
with additional telephones and teletype
machines. For security reasons, all newsmen had to show press credentials and
to register to be on campus.
President Edwards held two press
conferences and Joe Sherman held one. They issued a list of rules that reporters
were to follow. The peaceful enrollment of Harvey Gantt, the first black student
to attend a formerly all-white school in South
Carolina, was reported all over the world.
Harvey Gantt was followed around
by plainclothes officers acting as bodyguards for several months. But, he experienced
little trouble. In September 1963, Lucinda Brawley became the second black student,
and the first black woman, to enroll at
Clemson. She and Gantt were married in 1964.
More about Harvey Gantt
Harvey Gantt was selected for the
Minarets, Clemson's local architectural honor society and for Tau Sigma Delta,
architectural honor society. He graduated from Clemson in 1965.
The University of South Carolina
admitted its first black students in the Fall of 1963. By 1965, all of the state's
and twelve of twenty-five private colleges were admitting qualified students
without regard to race.
Harvey Gantt worked for an architectural
firm in Charlotte after graduating from Clemson. He received a master's degree
City Planning from MIT in 1970 and formed the Charlotte architectural firm of
Gantt, Huberman and Associates.
In 1974, Gantt was elected to the
first of three terms on the Charlotte City Council. In 1983, he became Charlotte's
mayor, serving two terms. In 1990 and 1996 Gantt ran for the U.S. Senate seat
held by Jesse Helms. In 1995 President Bill
Clinton appointed him chairman of the National Capital Planning Commission,
where he served until 2000.
Harvey Gantt has continued to guest
lecture at Clemson through the years. In 1988 the University launched the Harvey
Scholarship Endowment to fund scholarships for black students at Clemson. And
in 2000, the multicultural affairs office suite in
the Hendrix Student Center was named for Harvey and Lucinda Gantt.
Harvey Gantt speaks at "Integration
With Dignity: A Celebration of 40 Years"
on January 28, 2003