"P" is for Progressive Democratic Party

May 16, 2019

Credit SC Public Radio

"P" is for Progressive Democratic Party. Aware that many white Democrats in South Carolina opposed President Franklin Roosevelt’s reelection to a fourth term in 1944, African American activists sought to demonstrate their loyalty to the national party by mobilizing black support for the president. Within a few months, a statewide club movement (“Fourth Term for Roosevelt Democratic Clubs”) morphed into the Progressive Democratic Party (PDP). In 1944, the PDP nominated Osceola E. McKaine to run against Olin D. Johnson for the U.S. Senate. In 1948, the PDP mounted a serious and bitter—but unsuccessful--challenge to the state’s official Democratic delegation to the national convention. During the 1950s, the party experienced a steady erosion in strength due in part to absent leadership. By 1958, the organization had become formally known as the Progressive Democratic Caucus and by 1964 the Progressive Democratic Party had ceased to exist.