SPOTLIGHT ON: Isaiah DeQuincey Newman, clergyman and civil rights leader

Isaiah DeQuincey Newman, a Darlington County native, was an esteemed clergyman and important civil rights leader. Educated in Williamsburg County public schools and Claflin College, he was ordained in the United Methodist Church (UMC) in 1931. In 1943, he helped organize the Orangeburg branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)….

SPOTLIGHT ON: Henry Hannibal Butler, educator and ordained preacher

During the Great Depression, Butler was in charge of the distribution of relief supplies to the African-American community, and as a Mason and an Odd Fellow, he was respected by religious and business leaders both black and white. According to “Rev. Henry Hannibal Butler,” a remembrance written by Horace Fraser Rudisill, Butler, among his many other worthy and laudable accomplishments, was “remembered as always being immaculately dressed in coat, tie and vest with a gold watch chain prominently displayed.”

SPOTLIGHT ON: Harold Brasington, builder of the Darlington Raceway

Darlington Raceway, the first super speedway in NASCAR history, was constructed in 1950 by Harold Brasington, a local race promoter who saw asphalt-paved tracks as an advance over the dirt tracks.  Brasington wanted a 500-mile stock car race that rivaled the Indianapolis 500.  On September 4, 1950, the Darlington Raceway hosted the first Southern 500,…

“A Giver to Everyone”: Remembering Lucile H. Windham

I sometimes think of our files as children, and I bemoan the fact that some are fat and happy and receiving lots of attention, while others are skinny and sad and starved for affection. Ironically, our vast collection of files is housed in the old Darlington County Jail…

SPOTLIGHT ON: Lawrence Reese, master carpenter and merchant

At the age of 21 or 22, Lawrence Reese came to Darlington, S.C., where he married Lula Aiken. According to an article in The Community Times dated May 3, 2001, Dr. McGirt, Lula’s father, asked young Lawrence how he would support his new bride, and Lawrence replied that he was a carpenter. Dr. McGirt, needing proof, marked off some area on his land and instructed Lawrence to build a house. . .and, a day or two later, that’s just what Lawrence did.

The Book and Toy Company of Darlington, S.C.

The Commission’s archives are housed in the old Darlington County Jail. The top two floors are where we keep the majority of our files and artifacts, and every time I climb those steep steps, I start to feel like a kid on Christmas morning. I get so excited about what I might discover in those rows and rows of filing cabinets that my heart starts to beat faster and faster.

Letter from General Nathanael Greene to Francis Marion, the Swamp Fox

On April 24, 1781, General Nathanael Greene sent the following letter to Francis Marion, the Swamp Fox. Written and sent from his camp in Camden, Greene wrote: When I consider how much you have done and suffered, and under what difficulties you have maintained your ground, I am at a loss which to admire most,…

Doolittle Raid: Timeline for Lt. Billy Farrow, April 18-20, 1942

April 18, 1942 At 8am aboard the USS Hornet, the Klaxon horns sounded, and Captain Marc Mitscher gave the order to Lt. Farrow and the other Doolittle Raiders: “Army pilots–man your planes. Army pilots–man your planes.” The mission wasn’t scheduled to launch for another eight hours, but a Japanese patrol vessel had been sighted just…

Hearts and Minds: A Brief Study of Darlington Operation Alert

But what I can’t tell you about is the fear and loathing of Communism.

And I certainly can’t tell you what it felt like to be afraid—viscerally, palpably, genuinely terrified—of the Soviet Union launching a nuclear attack on the United States. Because thirty years ago whenever good ole Bert the Turtle instructed me to “duck and cover,” I kneeled down under my desk with a smirk on my face and a near-empty head, my only thought being whether Mom had packed a Kit Kat bar in my lunch that day.