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"S" is for South Carolina Plan (1944)

"S" is for South Carolina Plan (1944). On April 3, 1944, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Smith v. Allwright, that the white primary in Texas was unconstitutional. On April 12, 1944, South Carolina governor Olin D. Johnston called a special session of the General Assembly and urged the legislators to repeal all primary laws from the statute books—in order to maintain white supremacy in the state’s primaries. The General Assembly responded by passing 147 bills in six days separating party primaries from the control of state government. The legislators also approved legislation deleting a provision in the state constitution dealing with primaries. In the fall, the state’s voters approved the constitutional amendment that was ratified by the General Assembly in 1945. The South Carolina Plan to maintain an all-white primary was declared unconstitutional in 1947.

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Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.