Date of Award

Spring 1976

Document Type

Legacy Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)




College of Humanities and Fine Arts

First Advisor

James Branham


The factors that influenced the development of Coastal South Carolina are also those which made South Carolina history - Reconstruction, violence, White Supremacy, poverty, agrarianism, and integration - to name a few. But Coastal South Carolina, defined here as Beaufort, Charleston, Georgetown, and Horry Counties, is also unique. This paper is designed to trace this uniqueness within the context of national and South Carolina history in the years 1895-1976. To best accomplish this, in Chapter I, Politics and Problems, there is an overview of South Carolina history. This pays particular attention to the political doctrine of white supremacy and the social forces that caused its evolution. The cross-overs from Wade Hampton paternalism to Tillman agrarianism to Blease racism are dealt with since their Democratic system remained intact from 1877-1947 - solidly in control and solidly white. In the careers of two more South Carolina statesmen, U. S. Senator Ellison D. "Cotton Ed" Smith and Gov. James F. Byrnes, we see the evolution from 19th Century racism to modern politics. James F. Byrnes was especially instrumental in this change. South Carolina history is also a history of two races in conflict or attempt at conciliation, and Chapter II, The Negro, deals with this relationship. The life, livelihoods, and oppression of black South Carolinians by their fellow citizens, though ugly, must be told. There is not much Southern myth or romance in this story, but this is not a fairy tale or a W. G. Simms novel and if any progress is to be made it must start with the facts. There are two bright spots, however, the relatively peaceful integration of the last few years and the hope for a better future because of its success. Progress through moderation is the philosophy that has spared South Carolina the bitterness of her sister states. Having seen South Carolina and its statewide issues, Chapter III, The Low Country, deals specifically with the problems, issues, and development of Beaufort, Charleston, and Georgetown Counties. They are grouped together because of their similar historical, cultural and economic backgrounds. Theirs is a history of lost grandeur regained - but not without hardship and sacrifice. The three counties are compared where possible, but each is also discussed in a separate section for a more detailed look at their individual identities. Finally, Chapter IV, Horry County, is the history of the Grand Strand. But it is also much more than that. Horry shared none of the social heritage of Charleston and, from its beginnings, coveted the title of the "Independent Republic of Horry." The poverty of this area, until developers turned sand into gold, is an amazing tribute to those who stayed, lived, and died because of their belief in Horry County. The development of Coastal South Carolina in the 1950's and 1960's is even more remarkable when contrasted to the poverty of the pre-1950's. What comes through most vividly is the character of a people neither mellowed by time nor hardened by defeat but determined, finally, to build a better South Carolina for all her citizens.