SC Governors – James Francis Byrnes, 1951-1955
South Carolina SC History SC Governors Governor James Francis Byrnes
Also see: SC Government
- Born: May 2, 1882 in Charleston
"It is now accepted that James Byrnes was born May 2, 1882. May 2, 1879 was his sister Leonora's date of birth. In 1900, when Byrnes needed to be 21 in order for his cousin Governor Miles B. McSweeney to appoint him as a clerk for Judge Robert Aldrich of Aiken, Byrnes, his mother Elizabeth McSweeney Byrnes, and Governor McSweeney just changed his date of birth to that of his sister Leonora's. Shortly after he arrived in Aiken he left the Catholic Church, as McSweeney had done for political purposes, and joined St Thaddeus Episcopal Church in Aiken where he met Maude Busch in the choir." (Special thanks to Sam Crews of Columbia for sending us this information)
- Baptized: St John the Baptist Catholic Church in Charleston
- Died: April 9, 1972 in Columbia
- Buried: Trinity Episcopal Cathedral churchyard in Columbia
- Religion: Catholic, Episcopalian
- Political Party: Democrat
- St Patrick's Parochial School, Charleston (withdrew at 14)
- Byrnes was awarded honorary LL.D. degrees from John Marshall College, University of South Carolina, Columbia University, Yale University, and Washington and Lee University
- Editor of the Aiken Review and Journal
Major Events and Accomplishments, 1951–1955
- November 7, 1950 – At age 68, Byrnes was the oldest person ever to be elected governor of South Carolina
- 1951 – South Carolina's 1,200 school districts were consolidated into just 102 school districts
- April 19, 1951 – The General Assembly levied a three percent sales tax to fund the improvement of black schools
- November 4, 1952 – South Carolina voters approved an amendment to the state constitution granting the General Assembly the power to close public schools to avoid integration
- June 19, 1953 – WCSC in Charleston, South Carolina's first television station, went on the air
- The General Assembly passed legislation making South Carolina a Right to Work state
- May 17, 1954 – The US Supreme Court ruled that segregated schools were unconstitutional in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. This ruling lead to the establishment of equalization schools.
Other Government Positions
- US House of Representatives, 1911-1925
- US Senate, 1931-1941
- US Supreme Court, 1941-1942
- US Secretary of State, 1945-1947
Other Accomplishments, Honors, Distinctions
- Byrnes accompanied President Franklin D. Roosevelt to the Yalta Conference.
- Byrnes accompanied President Harry Truman to the Potsdam Conference in 1945.
- Byrnes authored Speaking Frankly and All In One Lifetime.
- The James F. Byrnes Foundation, which grants college scholarships, was established in 1948.
|Democratic Primary – 1950
|James Francis Byrnes
|General Election – November 7, 1950
Byrnes was elected without opposition, receiving 50,633 votes.