Senate honors 21 teachers who quit after 1956 anti-NAACP law

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina Senate is going to honor 21 black Orangeburg County teachers who resigned their jobs in 1956 to protest a law that prevented state employees from being members of the NAACP.

Sen. John Matthews said the group called the “Elloree 21” is scheduled to be in the Senate chambers at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday. The Democrat from Orangeburg says they changed the course of history through their protests.

The teachers brought national attention to a law passed by the South Carolina Legislature in 1956 preventing state employees like teachers from belonging to the NAACP. Lawmakers were unhappy the civil rights organization was fighting for integration.

The protests brought so much attention the General Assembly repealed the law the next year.