The Education of Harvey Gantt

November 10, 2016

When to Tune In: Monday, Jan. 15 at 9 p.m.

Harvey Gantt was the first black student to matriculate to Clemson University in January 1963. He graduated with honors with a degree in architecture and went on to earn a master’s degree in city planning from MIT. Gantt was the first African American mayor of Charlotte serving from 1983–87.

The desegregation of Clemson is notable not only because it was the first college or university in South Carolina to accept a black student but also for its nonviolence. In an era when other Civil Rights accomplishments were heralded by riots, brutality and drama, the entrance of Harvey Gantt to Clemson University was remarkable for its peace and dignity. Because it was not a sensational news story, the desegregation of Clemson has not been well-documented or remembered. “The Education of Harvey Gantt” aims to correct that oversight and bring the story to South Carolina and the nation.

Executive Director of SC Humanities Randy Akers said, “A pivotal event in the Civil Rights movement in South Carolina was the peaceful integration of Clemson University. This story demonstrates how vision and leadership work together for the good of the state, and what new opportunities for education meant to thousands of minorities in our state.”