DBQ: How did the Growth of Tourism Impact post-WWII South Carolina?

Historical Question: How did the growth of tourism impact post-WWII South Carolina?

Introduction: This 8th grade South Carolina History DBQ challenges students to explore changes in South Carolina’s tourism industry in the second half of the 20th century.  Students must understand economic, cultural, technological and social changes in America following WWII and place these changes within the context of the growth of the tourism industry.  Students will compare changes in the tourism industry to changes in South Carolina’s social fabric, specifically in the realm of civil rights.  Furthermore, students will explore negative aspects of the tourism industry and address challenges that impact the state today.

The purpose of this DBQ is to encourage students to explore the positive and negative effects of the growth of tourism industry in their society, and to apply that knowledge to the effects of tourism on the wider world, hopefully creating a more conscious explorer.

Standards | VocabularyContext | QuestionsDoc #1 , #2, #3

Time Required:  This DBQ has been designed for three, one hour class periods.

Click here to download the full DBQ with attached handouts. How did the Growth of Tourism Impact post-WWII South Carolina?, Standard 8.5 and Sources with Questions

South Carolina Standards (2020)
Targeted Standard: Standard 8.5: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the impact of world events on South Carolina and the United States from 1929 to present.

Indicator 8.5.P: The student will analyze the transformation of South Carolina’s economy from the Great Depression to its current economic diversification.


  • Segregation
  • Recreation
  • Erosion
  • Congestion
  • Overcrowding
  • Urbanization
  • Tax Base


Historical Context and Background Information:

Throughout much of the Jim Crow era, South Carolina was a predominantly rural state.  Both blacks and whites primarily lived on small farms that struggled to break even from year to year in a cycle of debt perpetrated by the system of sharecropping.  WWI marked the beginning of changes to this system as many African-Americans began to move north, attracted by northern industries that were rapidly expanding to help with the war effort.  As immigration dried up in the wartime atmosphere, northern factories turned to southerners to fill many positions.  South Carolina did experience economic growth  in the post-war era, however, many of these advances came to an abrupt end with the onset of the Great Depression.

Though FDR’s New Deal program provided some economic relief, the 1930’s were spent by most South Carolinians in an atmosphere of poverty and stagnant social movement.  The outbreak of WWII marked an end to this economic slump as industries once again began churning products to fuel a massive war machine designed to fight a modern global war.  These changes directly affected South Carolina in the creation of military bases and increased demand for textiles, adding a much-needed boost to the economy.

Despite the fears of many, this economic boom continued after the cessation of hostilities.  In the post-war era, Americans enjoyed the creation of an Interstate Highway System, access to affordable cars, greater access to air conditioning and an increase amount of leisure time.  This atmosphere led to a tourism boom as baby boomers began taking their young nuclear families on annual vacations.  This tourism boom would dramatically change the landscape of many of America’s natural treasures and more and more travelers flocked to previously unspoiled terrains.  However, these new opportunities were not equally enjoyed by all as racism and segregation persisted.

Guiding Questions and Sources (See DBQ pdf for complete list of documents and questions)

Document 1: State Development Board. Tourism Promotional Brochure


    Guiding Questions:

  1. What do you think is the most obvious difference between the activities that used to be promoted in SC travel brochures, and those that are promoted today?
  2. What changes have taken place in the last 60 years or so that might have caused this shift in focus on tourism in SC?
  3. There is no date on Source B. Using contextual clues in the brochure, around what time period do you think it was published? What evidence led to this conclusion?










Citation: Author Unknown. (Date Unknown). State Development Board. Tourism Promotional Brochure. https://digital.scetv.org/teachingAmerhistory/tTrove/documents/StateBrochure.pdf


Document 2: The Negro Motorist Greenbook

    Guiding Questions:

  1. Why do you think Ruth had been sheltered from the effects of segregation until her family’s trip?
  2. What war do you think Ruth’s father was a veteran of?
  3. The Green Book was last published in the mid 1960s, what event do you think made it obsolete?
Citation: Green, Victor H. The Negro Travelers’ Green Book. New York: Victor H. Green & Co., 1956. USC South Caroliniana Lib., Columbia, SC.  http://digital.tcl.sc.edu/cdm/ref/collection/greenbook/id/88



















Document 3: Excerpt of a speech given by Governor Robert McNair in Columbia,  April, 1964

    Guiding Questions:

  1. According to both documents, what conclusions could you make about the tourism industry in SC from 1947-1987?
  2. In Source F, who does Gov. McNair say holds the responsibility to improve SCs tourism industry?
  3. What is the difference in tone between the two documents?
  4. In Source E, what challenges to SC’s coast does Governor Hollings highlight?
  5. What changes do you think took place between the two sources that caused the change the focus of SC’s governor?
Citation: McNair, R. (1964, April 9th). The Impact of Tourism on the State’s Economy, Spring Festival/Festival of Flowers, Columbia. http://digital.tcl.sc.edu/cdm/ref/collection/mcnair/id/322









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.

To see other collections that may be helpful to your search, visit the Digital Collections homepage or visit SCDL’s collection.

DBQ Prepared by Blake Bare, 2018

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