August 10, 1948

African Americans vote in record numbers in the Democratic Party primary after Judge Waites Waring strikes down an oath requiring party members to swear to uphold segregation. … Read More

April 22, 1951

Hoping to prevent desegregation if Briggs v. Elliott was successful, South Carolina Governor James Byrnes signs a three-cent sales tax for education. This tax aims to equalize school facilities to avoid integration. This funding led to the construction of the auditorium building for Booker T. Washington High School in Columbia. Read More

June 23, 1951

The South Carolina District Court rules in favor of the Clarendon County School Board in Briggs v. Elliott by 2-1 split decision. In his dissenting opinion, Judge Waring declares “segregation is per se inequality” and called upon the Supreme Court to render justice “for… Read More

May 1953

The city of Columbia desegregates its fire department, hiring eight black firemen. They operated the Harden Street fire station. Read More

September 20, 1953

NAACP lawyer Thurgood Marshall visits Columbia for an appearance at Allen University. The South Carolina NAACP presents him with a $5000 check to support continued lawsuits for desegregation. Read More

May 17, 1954

The Briggs v. Elliott case was combined with four other cases under the name Brown v. Board of Education when it was heard by the United States Supreme Court. In the Brown v. Board of Education… Read More

June 22, 1954

Sarah Mae Flemming, a young African American domestic worker from Eastover, was struck by a Columbia bus driver for sitting in a seat reserved for white passengers and ejected from the bus on the corner of Main and Washington streets. Local activist Modjeska Monteith Simkins assists… Read More

February 16, 1955

NAACP lawyers Mathew J. Perry and Lincoln C. Jenkins file the lawsuit, Sarah Mae Flemming v. South Carolina Electric and Gas. The lawsuit was filed nearly ten months before Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat, sparking the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Read More

January 26, 1956

Over 3,500 people attend a Citizens Council rally at Columbia’s Township Auditorium. Segregationist Mississippi Senator James O. Eastland delivers the keynote address. Read More

September 29, 1959

The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) meets in Columbia at the Township Auditorium and First Calvary Baptist Church. The meeting was organized by Ella Baker. SCLC President Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke at the meeting. … Read More