Date of Award

Spring 5-2021

Document Type

Thesis

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Degree Program

History

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Thesis Advisor

O. Jennifer Dixon-McKnight

Committee Member

Gregory D. Bell

Committee Member

Edward Lee

Abstract

South Carolina, like many southern states, spent fifteen years avoiding complete compliance with the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka ruling to desegregate schools. Despite the statewide attempts to keep schools segregated, some South Carolina school districts slowly made strides to integrate with little resistance. By the mid 1960s, the Clover School District, even with trepidation, began to integrate its schools. These efforts to give African American students equal access often came at a cost. The process of integration often involved diminishing the value and very presence of traditionally all-black public schools.

The Roosevelt School, Clover’s only all-black K-12 School, prior to Brown v. Board, was among the local institutions that suffered obliteration due to integration. Today, all that remains of this pillar of Clover’s Black community is a historical marker that has been erected where the school once stood. The school’s history is mainly carried on in the minds and memories of those who walked its halls and in the surrounding community, now known as the Roosevelt community. In recent years, the Clover School District has worked with the local community to revitalize and maintain the legacy of this iconic school that was much more than just a place to learn. This thesis will examine the history of the Roosevelt School as a window into the shift from segregated education to integration in the South. Examining local school integration from the perspective of the African American community expands the Brown v. Board narrative to include its devastating impact on local schools and the surrounding communities. It also provides an opportunity to explore the aftermath iii of Brown by giving voice to those who now hold the memories of those experiences that are too precious to be forgotten and deserve a proper place in the historical narrative.

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