In 1946, George Elmore attempted to vote in the all-White Democratic primary but was denied the right to vote.
In February 1947, the NAACP filed a class-action lawsuit in federal court against John I. Rice, manager of Columbia's Ward Nine and Richland County Democratic Executive Committee. In July 1947, Judge J. Waties Waring ruled that the Democratic primary could not exclude African-Americans from voting in primary elections. In August 1948, for the first time since reconstruction, Blacks voted in large numbers. Approximately 30,000 voted.
Whites resisted enforcing the Judge's ruling and a second suit was brought in 1948, which ended the Democratic Primary. As a result of his actions, George Elmore, a manager of the Waverly Five and Dime Store, faced economic reprisals and was financially devastated.