January Timeline


At Camp Saxton in Port Royal, S.C., thousands of African Americans gathered to celebrate Emancipation Day on the very day President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation went into effect.


Actress Eartha Kitt was born in North, S.C.


Boxer Joseph “Smoking Joe” Frazier was born in Beaufort. He would later become an Olympic gold medalist and heavy-weight champion.


Students from Friendship Junior College and others went to jail after a sit-in at a segregated lunch counter in Rock Hill. The group, later known as the Friendship Nine, gained nationwide attention with their “jail, no bail” strategy and remained in prison for 30 days. Their convictions were later dismissed and declared “vacated, null and void” in 2015.


In the wake of civil rights protests and lawsuits, Governor Ernest “Fritz” Hollings used his last speech in office to acknowledge that “the day of segregation has passed” and called for the integration process to be handled “with dignity.”

Donald Russell was inaugurated as Governor of S.C. At the inaugural barbecue held on the grounds of the Governor’s Mansion, over 100 black citizens were in attendance.

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered Clemson College to admit Harvey Gantt opening the door for him to become the first African American to enroll at Clemson.

Harvey Gantt, a graduate of Charleston’s Burke High School, arrived at Clemson College and enrolled as the school’s first African American student.


Astronaut Dr. Ronald E. McNair, a native of Lake City, died in the tragic explosion of the space shuttle Challenger.


More than 46,000 rallied at the state capitol in Columbia to protest the Confederate battle flag flying atop the statehouse dome. Sponsors of the march included the NAACP, the Urban League, and the AME Church.


Donald W. Beatty, a native of Spartanburg, was sworn in as Chief Justice of the S.C. Supreme Court.