On the Lived Theology Reading List: Stories of Struggle

Stories of Struggle: The Clash over Civil Rights in South Carolina, by Claudia Smith BrinsonThe Clash over Civil Rights in South Carolina

Through extensive research and interviews with more than one hundred fifty civil rights activists, many of whom had never shared their stories with anyone, author Claudia Brinson chronicles twenty pivotal years of petitioning, preaching, picketing, boycotting, marching, and holding sit-ins in Stories of Struggle. These intimate stories of courage and conviction, both heartbreaking and inspiring, shine a light on the progress achieved by nonviolent civil rights activists while also revealing white South Carolinians’ often violent resistance to change.

Brinson highlights contributions made by remarkable but lesser-known activists, including James M. Hinton Sr., president of the South Carolina Conference of Branches of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and Mary Moultrie, grassroots leader of the 1969 hospital workers’ strike. She also includes firsthand accounts from petitioners who risked their lives by supporting Summerton’s Briggs v. Elliot ― a lawsuit that led to the historic Brown v. Board of Education decision ― the thousands of students who were arrested and jailed in 1960 for protests in Rock Hill, Orangeburg, Denmark, Columbia, and Sumter, and many more participants who have never had their stories told.

This pioneering study details the lynchings, beatings, bombings, cross burnings, death threats, arson, and venomous hatred that black South Carolinians endured―as well as the astonishing courage, devotion, dignity, and compassion of those who risked their lives for equality. Although significant racial disparities remain, the sacrifices of these brave men and women produced real progress―and hope for the future.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

Stories of Struggle is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the fight for racial justice in South Carolina. The riveting stories are horrifying in their depiction of what African American activists in the state endured, yet inspiring and uplifting in their description of what all these heroes accomplished. The book is a tremendous contribution to the history of South Carolina and the nation, and to the history of the civil rights movement.”―Marjorie J. Spruill, author of Divided We Stand: The Battle Over Women’s Rights and Family Values That Polarized American Politics

“In Stories of Struggle, Claudia Smith Brinson does an exceptional job in detailing in depth the full story of the significant role black South Carolinians played in the ultimate struggle that led to the U. S. Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education that brought an end to racial segregation in public schools and ultimately the passage of 1964 Civil Right Act and 1965 Voting Rights Act that followed.”―Jack Bass, author of The Palmetto State: The Making of Modern South Carolina

“If you think nothing of significance involving civil rights happened in South Carolina read Stories of Struggle. If you think South Carolina lacked drama, cruelty, violence, and above all courage during the civil rights era read this book. If you are not familiar with James M. Hinton, Cecil Ivory, Mae Frances Moultrie, Rosetta Simmons, and many others, read this book. There are no statues of these men and women, but they are some of the toughest, bravest, and most resourceful people that South Carolina has ever produced.”―William C. Hine, author of South Carolina State University: A Black Land-Grant College in Jim Crow America

For more information on the publication, click here.

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