The Daily Gamecock

In Our Opinion: Honor the past by maintaining its precedent

Until 1963, black students weren’t allowed to enroll at USC.

It wasn’t until Sept. 11 that year — 50 years ago today — that Robert Anderson, James Solomon and Henrie Monteith Treadwell came to campus and walked out of Osborne as the first black students at USC since Reconstruction.

Many students were angry. State police were posted across campus. The atmosphere was tense.

But there weren’t riots, and there wasn’t overt opposition. The tension would ease, and USC would blossom as a diverse school.

As the nation wrangled with issues of race, the university made it through desegregation peacefully. Todd Wilson, then the student body president, thought at the time, “We could set a good example by doing it right.”

He was right then, and he’s right now.

It’s sobering to think that 50 years and 1 day ago black students weren’t allowed here. USC — and our society — has made huge progress since.

But the work is not done yet.

We’ve made great strides in the past, but we are still far from the idealism that we strive for. Our campus is desegregated, but it isn’t yet fully integrated. As much as the university has advanced, it’s still marked by social divisions.

Race is still an issue here and throughout society. Gender and sexual orientation are, too.
Fifty years ago, USC set an example in a state that lagged behind much of the nation in its views on race. South Carolina still isn’t progressive. It still faces socioeconomic and racial divides, and it’s conservative on social issues like gay marriage.
The progress of the last 50 years gives us pause today, and we hope that the advances the university, the state and the U.S. make over the next 50 will too. Just like it did in 1963, that change can — and should — start here.

We still have a ways to go. Let’s set a good example again


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