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1963 lawsuit set stage for school integration

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L.R. Byrd tells his desegregation story in The Greenville News. Photo: Sabrina Schaeffer/The Greenville News

“The decision to challenge Greenville’s ‘separate but equal’ system was a meticulous and well-thought out effort,” said historian Courtney Tollison ’99 in an article published in The Greenville News. The story covers a 1963 case brought by Lewis Ronald (“L.R.”) Byrd, Elaine Whittenberg, Donald Sampson Jr., Mary Baker, Beatrice Thompson and Sara Thompson, the first students to legally challenge the racial segregation policy of the Greenville County school district.

Tollison, Furman Distinguished University Public Historian and Scholar, and Professor of History Steve O’Neill ’84, have contributed to a series of articles in The Greenville News about the people who made history and the progress of public education 50 years after the desegregation of Greenville County’s schools.

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