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Courage: The Carolina Story that Changed America
Rev. J.A. De Laine and his rural Clarenden County neighbors filed the first lawsuit leading to the 1954 landmark Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education.
Exhibit Dates:
1/30/2004 -

Created by renowned exhibit designer Darcie Fohrman, curated by Museum historian Tom Hanchett, assisted by the children of Rev. J.A. De Laine.
COURAGE: The Carolina Story That Changed America

Half a century ago Carolina families launched a lawsuit that changed America. This lawsuit was the first of five across the country that would lead to the 1954 landmark Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education. The Brown decision ruled racially segregated schools unconstitutional and set in motion a series of events that continue to shape our lives today.

Few Americans realize that what’s known as the case of the century, started in the Carolinas. The final chapters of Brown played out in the Supreme Court, but the story began when a country preacher named Rev. J. A. De Laine and his neighbors in Clarendon County, SC filed a lawsuit demanding the end of separate, unequal schools for their children.

On January 31, Levine Museum of the New South opens COURAGE: The Carolina Story That Changed America. This groundbreaking new exhibit tells the story of ordinary people – people outside the traditional power structure, without wealth and often with little classroom education – and how they worked together to begin the process that ended legal segregation of the races in America’s schools.

An exhibition of national importance, COURAGE will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Brown decision. COURAGE is the Museum’s first major exhibit since the 2001 unveiling of the award-winning permanent exhibit Cotton Fields to Skyscrapers. It will be on display at the Museum through August 15, 2004, after which it will travel to the McKissick Museum in Columbia, SC.

COURAGE has been created by Darcie Fohrman and Museum historian Dr. Tom Hanchett. Ms. Fohrman, an internationally acclaimed exhibit designer, is best known for “Daniel’s Story,” the powerful installation at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Dr. Hanchett has written and taught extensively about the New South, and led the development of Cotton Fields to Skyscrapers. As curator for this project, Dr. Hanchett worked closely with the children of Rev. J. A. De Laine.

COURAGE opens with a celebration and symposium on January 30-31, 2004. A weekend of discussions on the legacy of the De Laine family and on the Brown vs. Board of Education decision, featured speakers include NPR correspondent Juan Williams, De Laine family members, and a conversation with esteemed historian John Hope Franklin.

Throughout the exhibit, the Museum will offer a variety of related programs. Please visit our calendar for a listing of upcoming events.

Supported By
John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Bank of America
The Charlotte Observer

Jane and Hugh McColl
Community Building Initiative
Foundation for the Carolinas
Hubbard Automotive Group
Kennedy Covington Lobdell & Hickman LLP
Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft
McGuireWoods LLP
Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein LLP
Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson PA