University of South Carolina Celebrates the 150th Anniversary of the Enrollment of Its First Black Student

Most people believe that the first Black students admitted to flagship state universities in the South occurred in the early 1960s. But this is not the case.

Henry E. Hayne, the son of an enslaved woman and a White planter, enrolled at the University of South Carolina in 1873. Hayne later served in the state Senate and as a South Carolina secretary of state.

The university fully integrated during the Reconstruction Era, with Black students becoming a majority at the university during much of that era. After the Hayes-Tilden Compromise following the 1876 presidential election, federal troops were removed from the southern states and Whites once again took control over all state institutions. The University of South Carolina was closed in 1877 and reopened in 1880, but only White students were allowed to enroll.

It would be 90 years after Hayne’s historic enrollment when three African American students again ended segregation at the University of South Carolina when Henrie Monteith Treadwell, Robert G. Anderson, and James L. Solomon Jr. enrolled in 1963.

The university recently held ceremonies on campus recognizing the 150th anniversary of Henry Hayne’s enrollment.

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