December Timeline


South Carolina seceded from the union to preserve the institution of slavery.


Robert Blake, powder boy aboard the U.S.S. Marblelhead, was the first black awarded the Medal of Honor “for conspicuous gallantry, extraordinary heroism, and intrepidity at the risk of his own life” in a battle that occurred off the coast of S.C.


S.C. issues one of the first set of black codes “to regulate the relations of persons of color.” The codes addressed a number of issues, including illegal interracial marriages, master apprentice relations, and service contracts.


Joseph Hayne Rainey, born in Georgetown, S.C., was elected to Congress and becomes the first African American seated in the U.S. House of Representatives. He served until March 3, 1879.


Modjeska Monteith Simkins, educator, journalist, human rights activist, and a founder of the South Carolina NAACP, was born in Columbia.


Annie Green Nelson, one South Carolina’s first known, published, female African American authors, was born in Darlington County. Nelson later moves to Columbia.


Facing protest, five movie theaters in Columbia, S.C. agreed to a gradual desegregation plan where only two African American patrons were admitted during a showing.


St. Julian Devine was sworn in as the first African American member of the Charleston City Council since the 1870s.


The South Carolina NAACP held a special appreciation program in Cheraw for one of its founders, Levi G. Byrd, a skilled plumber who served for many years as the organization’s treasurer. NAACP leader Roy Wilkins delivered the keynote address.


George Rogers, a University of South Carolina standout player was awarded the Heisman Trophy in New York City.

J.C. Caroline, a standout football player at Columbia’s Booker T. Washington High School, an All-American at the University of Illinois, and a defensive back for the Chicago Bears, was inducted to the College Football Hall of Fame.


Ernest A. Finney Jr., a lawyer practicing in Sumter and a former member of the General Assembly, was sworn in as the first African American Chief Justice of the S.C. Supreme Court.


Essie Mae Washington-Williams acknowledged that her father was Strom Thurmond, a longtime U.S. Senator and a former governor who championed segregation.


Appointed by Gov. Nikki Haley, Tim Scott became the first African American from S.C. to serve in the U.S. Senate.