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January 20, 2014

University of South Carolina - Peaceful Integration

Today is a day to reflect on the courage and leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. However, it is also a day to reflect on other notable men and women who had a lasting impact on the civil rights movement.

Does the name Henrie D. Monteith sound familiar?

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Henrie Monteith, of Columbia, was one of the first African American students enrolled at University of South Carolina, along with Robert G. Anderson of Greenville and James L. Solomon of Sumpter. She was also the first female African American student enrolled at Univ. of South Carolina.

In July of 1963, U.S. District Judge J. Robert Martin ruled that USC must allow Monteith to enroll. By the time the ruling was made official, USC leaders and students had already determined to proceed with dignity and no violence.

We want no hotheads stirring up trouble at our state university. With intelligence, faith and regard for our fellow students, the integration problem can be settled in the spirit of which our Carolina community was founded.” -Joan Wolcott, editor of the Gamecock student newspaper.

On Sept. 11, 1963 Monteith, along with Anderson and Solomon, was registered for courses within minutes of her early arrival on USC's campus without incident.

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Henrie Monteith went on to earn a Ph.D. and became prominent in the field of public health. She is a professor in the department of community health and preventive medicine at the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta and author of a new book, “Beyond Stereotypes in Black and White: How Everyday Leaders Can Build Healthier Opportunities for African American Boys and Men.”

You can read more about Monteith and USC's integration via's article "USC in ’63: Black students step onto campus, into history".

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