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“M” is for McCray, John Henry (1910-1987)

“M” is for McCray, John Henry (1910-1987). Journalist, civil rights activist. McCray grew up in Lincolnville, an all-Black community near Charleston. From 1935 to 1938 he was city editor for the Charleston Messenger before founding his own newspaper, the Charleston Lighthouse. In 1941 McCray merged his paper with the People’s Informer, creating the Columbia-based Lighthouse and Informer. His newspaper fearlessly took on South Carolina’s White power structure. Before ceasing publication in 1954, the Lighthouse and Informer had become the state’s largest Black weekly. From 1954 to 1964 he was regional editor for America’s most prominent Black newspapers. In 1944 McCray was the cofounder of the Progressive Democratic Party that challenged the seating of delegates to the Democratic national conventions of 1944, 1948, and 1956. In 1964 John Henry McCray joined the staff of his alma mater, Talladega College.

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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.