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“U” is for United Citizens Party

South Carolina from A to Z logo

“U” is for United Citizens Party. The United Citizens Party (UCP) is a political party unique to South Carolina. Its purpose is to promote through the electoral process, human, civil, workers’, and reproductive rights, in addition to advocating environmental protection and governmental reform. Organized in 1969, primarily by the civil rights activist John Roy Harper, the UCP grew largely from disquieted Democrats angered by their party’s refusal to nominate African American candidates for pubic offices. In the aftermath of sit-ins and boycotts, civil rights took a more political approach through the UCP. The party’s strategy was to run candidates for the General Assembly and local government in counties with black majority populations. In 1970 in its first campaign United Citizens Party support succeeded in getting three Black candidates elected to the South Carolina General Assembly.

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.