Mount Pleasant residents recount memories of segregation for proposed exhibit downtown
MOUNT PLEASANT – When Arthur Pinckney graduated from segregated Laing High in 1962, black students such as him walked to school while white students rode a free bus to Moultrie High.
That’s one example of the vast inequality that existed at the time, he said. And it was one of many stories told tonight at a community meeting.
“There’s so much history here,” he said.
Charleston County school leaders plan to invest about $50,000 in a public exhibit that would memorialize the “equalization” schools built during the 1950s, and they invited residents to contribute stories, mementos and ideas at a gathering at Laing Middle. Two more meetings are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday.
The state passed its first sales tax in 1951 to build and improve segregated black schools in the Lowcountry and across the state. State officials thought doing so would forestall integration and allow the state to continue its separate but equal system.
More than 700 new schools were built during the next decade, but many either have been or will be demolished and rebuilt. The proposed exhibit at Charleston Progressive Academy is planned to ensure their legacy continues.