Harvey Gantt & the Desegregation of Clemson University, 1963–
In 1963, Harvey Gantt, a Charleston, South Carolina resident by birth, was admitted to Clemson University into the aschool of architecture. He was Clemson's first African American student, and today he operates an architecture practice and is an active member of the Democratic Party in North Carolina. Gantt is the protagonist of Clemson's "integration with dignity" narrative, but that is far from the whole story. Before Gantt was admitted, he had to fight for admittance.
After submitting an application for a transfer to Clemson from Iowa State University, Harvey Gantt was repeatedly told that his application was missing some key information and that until that information was submitted, his application could not be processed. This became a somewhat heated back-and-forth correspondence over the course of several semesters until Gantt decided to pursue legal action, after which point the University processed his application and accepted his transfer.
Not wanting another incident like the one at Ole Miss to occur on his own campus, Robert C. Edwards, Clemson's eighth president, who held office from 1958 until 1979, went to great lengths to ensure a smooth transition for Gantt. And thus, because Gantt's admission was met without a riotous frenzy, it was remembered as dignified, despite the apparent administrative forces which were initially against him and the long and strained correspondence which took place before his eventual admission.