The Education of Harvey Gantt
About This Episode
Even after the Supreme Court decided the landmark case Brown v. Board of Education, South Carolina's General Assembly passed numerous acts to maintain segregation in public facilities, including schools. The state held firm to its stance through 1962, despite every other state integrating at least one of its colleges and universities.
When South Carolina's institutions of higher learning finally opened their doors to African Americans in 1963, they did so in a systematic, nonviolent manner. On January 28, 1963, a young black man named Harvey Gantt became the first African American accepted to a white school in the state. The absence of drama made headlines, but it soon faded from the public consciousness.
Narrated by actor Phylicia Rashad, The Education of Harvey Gantt tells this pivotal, yet largely forgotten, story of desegregation. Interviews with Gantt, scholars and civil rights veterans as well as archival footage and reenactment illuminate the events leading up to his enrollment at Clemson College, and the impact of integration on the state and the nation. In recounting this chapter of American civil rights history, the documentary illustrates how a determined young man, his family and his legal champions brought about permanent change.