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“E” is for Elmore v. Rice (1947)

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“E” is for Elmore v. Rice (1947). In 1944 the General Assembly repealed all statutes relating to party primaries. In 1946 George Elmore, an African American who was eligible to vote in general elections, was denied the right to vote in the Democratic Party in Richland County. The case was heard by U.S. District Judge J. Waites Waring who ruled that the sole purpose of the state’s actions had been to prevent Black Carolinians from voting. In response the Democratic Party required voters to swear they supported the separation of the races. In Judge Waring rejected the oath and his decisions were reaffirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. By the time of the 1948 primary, some 35,000 Black voters were registered and the White primary in South Carolina ceased to exist.

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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.