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Governor James F. Byrnes and South Carolina's "Education Revolution"

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James F. Byrnes began a revolution in education in South Carolina during his term as governor. He was elected on a strong education platform in 1950, the same year that the legality of segregation in public schools was first challenged in his state. Byrnes led the state to improve its public school facilities, making those for Negroes equal to or better than those for whites, thereby hoping to avoid desegregation; he consolidated the school districts making them more manageable; and he put the school bus system under state rather than district control making it more efficient and less expensive to operate. The improvements were financed by a three percent sales tax that the Governor had led the General Assembly to pass. Then to make certain that the schools were not desegregated, Governor Byrnes set up state committees to plan new schools and to seek ways of continuing a segregated school system. He further took certain "preparedness measures" in an attempt to forestall any action of the United States Supreme Court forcing desegregation. The Court did rule on May 17, 1954 that segregated schools were inherently unequal, but Byrnes continued the school improvement program; and when he left office in January of 1955 the state had spent $124,329,394 on school facilities, and had to that time continued to maintain segregated schools. The public schools were eventually desegregated, but the effects of Byrnes' "revolution" continued.
Thesis digitized at request of author in March 2015.
South Carolina
McCraw, Paul L. (author)
2015-07-09T20:05:27Z (accessioned)
2015-07-09T20:05:27Z (available)
1973 (issued)
http://hdl.handle.net/10339/57203 (uri)
Governor James F. Byrnes and South Carolina's "Education Revolution"

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