60 YEARS OF DESEGREGATION: USC honors three trailblazers at commemoration ceremony

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO) — Six decades ago, three African-American students at the University of South Carolina made history.

Henrie Monteith Treadwell, Robert Anderson and James Solomon were the first African-Americans to attend USC since reconstruction when they enrolled back in the fall of 1963.

 “My father said that in life, you don’t seek to do great things, you seek to do the right things,” said Carl Solomon, James Solomon’s son.

James Solomon was one of the first three African Americans students to enroll at the University of South Carolina back in the fall of 1963.

“My father said he was a grown man applying to law school,” his son said. “A young lady filed a lawsuit to integrate the university that allowed him and others to enter. He always held her in higher esteem.”

That young lady who filed the lawsuit spoke at the 60th anniversary of her enrolling at USC.

“I take great pride as I’m sure that Bob and Jim do in the changes that have been brought and much is yet to come,” said Henrie Monteith Treadwell, who graudated USC in 1965.

The third student who enrolled back in 1963, Robert Anderson, passed in 2009. His family spoke about the Greenville native at a ceremony Monday morning.

“Growing up in a religious family, he would pray to God that he would take him through an educational journey,” said Anderson’s sister Carmen. “His motto was ‘Find a way or make one.’ and that he did.”

As part of the 60th anniversary commemoration, a groundbreaking took place for a monument honoring the three trailblazers. 

“We stand here today with three bridgebuilders being recognized,” Solomon said. “I’m not sure they fully understood what they did when they ascended those steps, but they did it.”

James Solomon, who earned a graduate degree from USC’s school of mathematics, was also honored by a plaque unveiled at LeConte College. 

“This is one piece that shows us not only what we learn from the past, but all the great things we can do in the future,” Solomon said.

“For those who were not ready then and are not ready now, I have one message. Those days of old are gone and will never come again,” Treadwell concluded.

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