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"H" is for Hover Scare

South Carolina A to Z larger logo

"H" is for Hover Scare (1887). Hiram E. Hover (often mis-spelled in the press as “Hoover”) formed the Co-operative Workers of America (CWA) in North Carolina. The goal of the CWA was to promote major labor reforms and establish cooperative stores. In South Carolina, Hoover addressed inter-racial crowds in Spartanburg, Greenville, and Walhalla. Other organizers, recruited by Hoover, founded CWA Branches or “Hoover Clubs” in Greenville proper, and in the rural areas of Greenville, Laurens and Spartanburg counties. Fearing an uprising by black sharecroppers and laborers that made up the membership of the CWA, whites in the upstate—with the tacit approval of state officials--formed vigilante groups. The leaders of the Hoover Clubs were rounded up and forced to abandon the CWA. South Carolina newspapers reported the events of 1887 as the “Hoover Scare.”

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.