Clarendon County - Summerton High School
The building that housed Summerton High School from circa 1936 to the mid-1960s is located at 12 South Church Street in Summerton. In the middle of the twentieth century, the all-white high school was said to have been "uncrowded, and maintained in first class condition" while schools for African American children in the same district were "old and overcrowded and in a dilapidated condition."
In 1949, more than 100 people signed a petition to improve conditions in the black schools. The petition was ignored. The result was that, with the help of the NAACP, twenty plaintiffs filed the Harry Briggs, Jr., et al. vs. Elliott, et al. lawsuit that challenged segregation in public schools. After losing in District Court, the NAACP lawyers appealed the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Briggs case was heard along with four similar lawsuits from Kansas, Virginia, Delaware and the District of Columbia. In 1954, the Supreme Court decided in favor of the plaintiffs and struck down segregation in public education in the United States. The cases and the decision are commonly known as Brown v. Board of Education.
Clarendon County did not integrate its schools until forced to do so in the mid-1960s. After only one year of integration, Summerton High School closed, leaving Scott's Branch High School (located on U.S. Route 301N) as the only high school in that school district.
The building that formerly served as Summerton High School is now occupied by the school district's administrative offices. The old Scott's Branch School was razed and the site is now occupied by Scott's Branch Intermediate School.