From its founding in the 1930s until its full integration in 1966, the South Carolina State Park system operated with strictly segregated facilities. As early as 1938, African American leaders worked to secure access to state parks. Their efforts resulted in the establishment of separate recreation areas for black citizens. These included portions of Lake Greenwood, Hunting Island and Huntington Beach State Parks. The system also included segregated African American parks at Pleasant Ridge, Campbell’s Pond and Mill Creek.
From 1955-1965, African American students, activists and civil rights organizations, including the NAACP, challenged park segregation. Their struggles, undertaken at significant personal, social and economic risk, eventually resulted in full integration of the state parks. Today the parks are open to all people.
For more information on this topic, you can view the digital exhibit Remembering and Acknowledging the History of Segregation in South Carolina State Parks. Interpretive signs about the struggle for equal access are also located at Lake Greenwood State Park.
In addition, you can take a Virtual Tour of Civil Rights Memory Sites in the South Carolina State Parks. In this virtual tour you can trace the history of important Civil Rights events that took place on the parks.
For more information on African American cultural sites in South Carolina, visit the Green Book of SC website.