The Education of Harvey Gantt

SCETV and ETV Endowment of South Carolina have created an original 30-minute documentary titled The Education of Harvey Gantt that will tell the story of the peaceful desegregation of Clemson University in 1963. The documentary will have its television premiere on Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 8:00 p.m. on SCETV, and it will also be featured at a Civil Rights and Social Justice Youth Transmedia Summit on Saturday, March 2, 2013 at SCETV in Columbia. SC Humanities supported his documentary with a Planning Grant in April 2012 and a Major Grant in September 2012.

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, NC, serving from 1983 – 1987.

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 on its 50th anniversary.

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.”

The documentary will premiere on SCETV on Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 8:00 p.m. as part of the Carolina Stories program. To find your local SCETV station, please visit the website: will also be a screening at the Nickelodeon Theatre in Columbia on February 3, 2013 at 3:00 p.m. More information about the Nickelodeon, including ticket prices, can be found on their website:

The mission of SC Humanities is to enrich the cultural and intellectual lives of all South Carolinians. SC Humanities programs and initiatives are balanced, reflecting sensitivity to the diversity of ideas, encourage open dialogue, demonstrate integrity, and are ethical in operations.