Determine the turning point of the Civil Rights Movement in South Carolina (1950-1970) in regard to desegregation of schools and voting rights and analyze the sentiments of participants during, before and after the pinnacle of the movement, determining the lasting impact of the movement.
Introduction: The struggle for African Americans to obtain civil rights in the United States has been a long and arduous process culminating with African Americans having the right to vote reinstated for some with the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (it was initially granted to African American men during Reconstruction), and the desegregation of public facilities including public schools with Brown V. Board of Education and later by mandate in 1970. The movement gained momentum following World War II partially because veterans returned home realizing that while they fought for the freedom of others they did not have certain liberties in their own native land. Many tactics were used to achieve rights primarily through the formation of civil rights groups such as the NAACP, or pursuing the rights through the court system and ultimately reaching the Supreme Court.
The purpose of this DBQ is to point out to students that the efforts of Reconstruction were reversed by the Jim Crow era and that the rights guaranteed by the 14th amendment were denied until almost a century later. Students will create a piece of work that demonstrates their ability to contextualize the Civil Rights Period by using the documents provided.
Time Required: The DBQ can be taught over a period of several days while ensuring students know necessary skills to complete a DBQ.
Click here to download full DBQ with attached handouts.
South Carolina Standards (2020)
Standard 5: Demonstrate the impact of America’s global leadership on technological advancements, the transition to a post-industrial society, and ongoing debates over identity in the period 1945–present
USHC.5.CC Evaluate continuities and changes during the Civil Rights Movement and other subsequent movements for equal rights.
Historical Context and Background Information
This document based question (DBQ) should be implemented in the classroom as a culminating activity to the study of the height of the Civil Rights Movement. Writing workshops can be conducted to teach students how to analyze primary resources and how to answer the questions who, what, when and why on a deeper level. Students must be able to then categorize the documents based on similarities and differences to present an argument to how the sentiments change throughout the movement and what could be considering a turning point. The students will be able to use their knowledge of the history of African Americans and the struggle that ensued to attain their civil rights.
The following is from the SC Support Documents for United States History and Constitution:
The Civil Rights Movement was a liberal movement that challenged the conservative status quo
of race relations in the United States to secure for African Americans the full rights of citizenship
including the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” In order to analyze the
strategies of the Civil Rights Movement, it is essential that students understand its goals which
were equal treatment and the right to vote. A thorough review of the failed promises of the
Declaration of Independence (USHC 1.3); Reconstruction and the thirteenth, fourteenth, and
fifteenth amendments (USHC 3.3); the Jim Crow era (USHC 3.4); and the response of African
Americans to discrimination (USHC 3.5) should establish the context for the Civil Rights Movement of the post-World War II period.
In previous USHC lessons, students learned how the Reconstruction was geared towards helping newly freed slaves achieve civil rights such as the right to vote for black men and access to education through the development of both secondary and higher education schools.
Guiding Questions and Sources, highlights. More in PDF
Document 1: Joseph DeLaine Home Burned (circa 1950)
Citation: Photograph of Joseph A. De Laine, Sr. and his family looking at their burned home in
Summerton, SC. (ca. 1950). Joseph A. DeLaine Papers. Digital Collections, South Carolina Library, Columbia, SC. Retrieved from http://digital.tcl.sc.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/jad/id/870/rec/33
Document 2: People at the Ballot Box (May 25, 1958)
Citation: Photograph of six unidentified people at the ballot box. (ca. 1958). Isaiah DeQuincey Newman
Papers. Digital Collections, South Carolina Library, Columbia, SC. Retrieved from
Citation: Hollings, E. F. (1963, January 9). Address to the South Carolina General Assembly.
Fritz Hollings: In His Own Words, South Carolina Political Collections, Digital Collections, South Carolina Library, Columbia, SC. Retrieved from
Citation: Bates, P.T., Parker, T., Peep, H.L., Waring, J.I., & Wyman, J.W. (1963, November 6). [Letter to
South Carolina Medical Association members]. Modjeska Simkins Papers. South
Carolina Political Collections, Digital Collections, South Carolina Library, Columbia, SC. Retrieved from https://digital.tcl.sc.edu/digital/collection/mmsimkins/id/1742/rec/1
Citation:Monteith interviewed about USC desegregation — outakes. [Video file]. (1963, July).Moving
Image Research Collections, Civil Rights Films from USC’S Moving Image Research Collections, South Carolina Library, Columbia, SC. Retrieved from http://digital.tcl.sc.edu/cdm/search/collection/mirccr/searchterm/treadwell/field/all/mode/all/conn/and/order/nosort/ad/asc/cosuppress/0.
Citation: Simpkins, M. (1981). Modjeska Simpkins to the editor of The State Newspaper, 1981. [Letter.]
Modjeska Simkins Papers. South Carolina Political Collections, Digital Collections, South Carolina Library, Columbia, SC. Retrieved from http://digital.tcl.sc.edu/cdm/compoundobject/collection/simkins/id/63/rec/43
Citation: Perry, M. (1995-1996). Judge Matthew Perry oral history interview conducted by Dr. Robert J.
Moore in Columbia, South Carolina. [Transcript]. South Carolina Political Collections, Digital Collections, South Carolina Library, Columbia, SC. Retrieved from https://library.sc.edu/scpc/Perry.pdf.
Citation: Madness in South Carolina. (1970, March 5). The New York Post Robert McNair: In His Own
Words, South Carolina Political Collections, Digital Collections, South Carolina Library, Columbia, SC. . Retrieved from http://digital.tcl.sc.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/mcnair/id/550/rec/2.
Citation: McNair, R. E. (1968, February 9). Statement on Orangeburg situation [Press Release]. Robert
McNair: In His Own Words, South Carolina Political Collections, Digital Collections, South Carolina Library, Columbia, SC. Retrieved from http://digital.tcl.sc.edu/cdm/compoundobject/collection/mcnair/id/156/rec/9.
Digital Collections Information
This DBQ is based on images and/or documents from several institutions including the University of South Carolina Libraries, The National Archives, and The Library of Congress. See individual images for institution information.