National recognition sought for SC sites involved in fight to end segregation in schools

A National Historic Site about how segregation was outlawed in America’s public schools should be expanded to South Carolina to recognize the pivotal role of a lawsuit that started here, historians said Monday.

Historians and family members of the South Carolinians who courageously fought for the education of Black children, starting in the late 1940s, made their announcement in front of the downtown Columbia home of pioneering civil rights leader Modjeska Monteith Simkins.

Efforts to expand the Kansas site’s reach have federal support, with U.S. House Majority Leader Jim Clyburn, D-Columbia and U.S. Sen. Chris Coons, D-Delaware, filing legislation in Congress earlier this month to add schools in the other states involved in the case.

South Carolina’s two GOP senators, Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott, have signed on as co-sponsors of the bill.

South Carolina historians want to expand the designation further.

The designation would mean more prominent signage, opportunities for grants to upgrade, remodel and build education centers around the sites, as well as the potential for bringing tourism revenue.