Title

The Radical Experiment of South Carolina: The History and Legacy of a Reconstructed University

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-1-2020

Publication Title

Journal of African American History

Volume

105

Issue

4

First page number:

539

Last page number:

566

Abstract

South Carolina’s electoral politics provided unique venues for Black empowerment during Reconstruction. Though largely overlooked in the historiography, the state’s flagship institution, the University of South Carolina, was a crucial piece of its Reconstruction philosophy. By 1868, legislators and university trustees radically altered their approach to higher education by expanding student scholarships and declaring it was a “tuition-free” institution open to all, regardless of race or class. These adjustments allowed Black men to matriculate by 1873, and they eventually comprised the majority of students until it was resegregated in 1877. This article reviews the Reconstruction government’s policies toward educational equality, the public response to the governmental shifts, and how students viewed their time at the institution. I reveal how African American politics in South Carolina directly intersected with educational concerns throughout the Reconstruction period. I conclude the essay by exploring how this historical moment was remembered or denied by subsequent generations.

Keywords

African american history; South carolina; Black empowerment; Reconstruction; University of south carolina

Disciplines

African American Studies | Arts and Humanities | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies

Language

English

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