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Newspaper Wars: Civil Rights and White Resistance in South Carolina, 1935-1965

Front page of an issue of the Lighthouse and Informer
USC/Thomas Cooper Library

In spite of a growing movement for journalistic neutrality in reporting the news of the 20th century, journalists enlisted on both sides of the mid-century struggle for civil rights. Indeed, against all odds, the seeds of social change found purchase in South Carolina with newspaperman John McCray and his allies at the Lighthouse and Informer, who challenged readers to "rebel and fight"--to reject the "slavery of thought and action" and become "progressive fighters" for equality.

In Newspaper Wars: Civil Rights and White Resistance in South Carolina, 1935-1965 (University of Illinois Press, 2017), Sid Bedingfield, a University of Minnesota Professor of Journalism and Mass Communications, traces the role journalism played in the fight for civil rights in South Carolina from the 1930s through the 1960s. Bedingfield tells the stories of African American progress which sparked a battle to shape South Carolina's civic life, with civil rights activists arrayed against white journalists determined to preserve segregation through massive resistance.

Bedingfield joins Dr. Edgar for a discussion of this history, along with USC’s Dr. Patricia Sullivan, author of Lift Every Voice: The NAACP and the Making of the Civil Rights Movement (The New Press, 2010).

- Originally broadcast 12/08/17 - 

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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.