Ambassador Andrew Young, Dr. Henrie Monteith Treadwell Headline Events to Mark 60th Anniversary of USC 1963 Desegregation

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(Columbia, SC) — The University of South Carolina will commemorate the 60th anniversary of the second desegregation of the university with two events. The events will feature Dr. Henrie Monteith Treadwell, the student whose lawsuit ended segregation at USC, and former U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young, a key colleague of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

“The Many Lives of Andrew Young,” a conversation with Ambassador Andrew Young and Atlanta Journal-Constitution journalist Ernie Suggs, moderated by Dr. Maurice J. Hobson, a professor at Georgia State University, will be held Sunday, Sept. 10, 4 p.m. in the Karen J. Williams Courtroom of the USC School of Law, 1525 Senate Street. A reception and book signing will follow. A limited quantity of the book “The Many Lives of Andrew Young” by Ernie Suggs will be available for purchase on-site. Admission is free. Street parking and at Pendleton Street garage will be available. 

Born in New Orleans, Andrew Young earned his theology degree in 1955 and joined Dr. King at the Atlanta headquarters of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1961 to manage the voting rights program pioneered by South Carolina’s Septima Clark. Young played an important role in the 1963 Birmingham, Ala., campaign, where images of police dogs and firehoses assaulting African American children galvanized the nation in support of civil rights. In 1964, King named Young the executive director of the SCLC. Young remained one of Dr. King’s closest and most trusted advisors through campaigns in Alabama, Florida, and Chicago and witnessed King’s assassination at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis in 1968. Young was elected to Congress in 1972, was appointed as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in 1977, and was twice elected mayor of Atlanta, serving from 1982 to 1990. In 1981, he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. 

On Monday, Sept. 11, the anniversary of the 1963 desegregation, Dr. Henrie Monteith Treadwell will visit the campus for a public program, “I Do Not Wish to be a Symbol,” a conversation with acclaimed South Carolina journalist Beryl Dakers. The program will be held, 6-8 p.m., in the Campus Room of the USC Capstone Building, 902 Barnwell Street. A reception will follow. The event is co-sponsored by the Center for Civil Rights History and Research and the University South Caroliniana Society. Admission is free.

The event will also be livestreamed on the Civil Rights Center’s Facebook page, Parking will be available at 9915 Barnwell Street. 

Dr. Henrie Monteith Treadwell grew up in a Columbia family committed to civil and human rights. As a high school senior, she agreed to the request of her mother, R. Rebecca Monteith, and aunt, Modjeska Monteith Simkins, to challenge USC’s policy of segregation. In May 1962, the university summarily rejected her application, so she filed a federal lawsuit with the support of civil rights lawyers Matthew J. Perry, Jr., Lincoln C. Jenkins II, and Ernest Finney. Her victory in July 1963 paved the way for other African American students to apply, and on September 11, 1963, Dr. Monteith Treadwell, Robert Anderson and James Solomon, Jr., became the first African American students at the university in the 20th century. Dr. Monteith Treadwell earned her Bachelor of Science degree in biochemistry in 1965, becoming the first African American graduate since Reconstruction. She followed that with her master’s degree in biology at Boston University, her doctorate in biochemistry and molecular biology from Atlanta University and postdoctoral work at Harvard University. A world-renowned public health expert, Dr. Monteith Treadwell started her career as chair of mathematics and natural sciences at Morris Brown College then joined the W.K. Kellogg Foundation as program director. She currently directs the Community Voices program at Atlanta’s Morehouse School of Medicine. 

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