The first chapters of the NAACP began in Charleston and Columbia in 1917. By 1929 a total of 12 chapters had been formed in the state. At that time the state organizations focused on registering Black voters and securing military jobs.
In South Carolina, the NAACP had become inactive by the early 1930s. Prior to Byrd's involvement there was no centralized state-wide organization, which he created in 1939.