Four South Carolinians To Receive Medal Of Honor for Desegregation Efforts
Four South Carolinians who challenged the state’s segregated school system will receive Congress’ highest honor for civilians this month, according to lawmakers.
The Congressional Gold Medal will be posthumously awarded to the Rev. Joseph A. DeLaine, Harry and Eliza Briggs and Levi Pearson this month during a ceremony at the U.S. Capitol rotunda.
The lawsuit that DeLaine helped file, Briggs vs. Elliot, became one of five leading cases rolled into the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court Brown v. Board of Education case.
Pearson had filed an earlier lawsuit focusing on Clarendon County schools that was dismissed.
Sen. Ernest “Fritz” Hollings, D-S.C., and Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., have pushed for the recognition of the four.
“These were ordinary citizens who did an extraordinary thing,” Clyburn said. “Their courage and commitment to fight for a better education for their children in Clarendon County, South Carolina, has benefited generations of children nationwide.”
Since 1776, Congress has awarded the medal fewer than 250 times.
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