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The Spirit of an Activist

The Life and Work of I. DeQuincey Newman

Sadye L. M. Logan

Publication Year: 2014

The Spirit of an Activist chronicles the life and distinguished career of Isaiah DeQuincey Newman (1911–1985), a Protestant pastor, civil rights leader, and South Carolina statesman. Known as a tenacious advocate for racial equality, Newman was also renowned for his diplomatic skills when working with opponents and his advocacy of nonviolent protest over confrontation. His leadership and dedication to peaceful change played an important role in the dismantling of segregation in South Carolina. The thirteen narratives in this volume by such diverse contributors as Richard W. Riley, William Saunders, Esther Nell Witherspoon, and Donald L. Fowler attest to Newman's impact on South Carolina. Editor Sadye L. M. Logan orchestrates these many contributions into an informative, moving, and sometimes passionate collage of Newman's challenges, triumphs, and small and significant everyday acts of courage. Through this collection Logan takes the reader on an extraordinary journey from Newman's childhood in Darlington County, South Carolina, to his death at the age of seventy-four. Along that journey Newman led the state's African Americans to join the Democratic Party and was a delegate to several Democratic Presidential Conventions. In 1983 he became the first African American South Carolinian elected to the State Senate in nearly a century. The Spirit of an Activist is essentially biographical, but it uses a diverse chorus of voices to capture Newman's rich and varied contributions in transforming South Carolina's rigid and unjust social systems. His quiet dignity and appeals to reason won him the confidence, and ultimately the support, of key white political and economic leaders. In effect Newman served both as chief strategist for the protest movement and as chief negotiator at the conference table, becoming the "unofficial liaison" between South Carolina's African American citizens and the state's white power structure. In the years that followed formal desegregation, Newman remained active in politics and became a trusted confidant of state leaders, many of whom are featured in this volume. The Spirit of an Activist includes a foreword by attorney and civil rights activist Vernon E. Jordan, Jr., and a prologue by South Carolina congressman James E. Clyburn, both personal friends of Newman who worked with him during the civil rights struggle.

Published by: University of South Carolina Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-v

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

List of Illustrations

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pp. ix-x

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Foreword

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pp. xi-xiv

When I think of the Reverend I. DeQuincey Newman, verses from one of Longfellow’s poems reverberate in my mind: “Lives of great men all remind us we can make our lives sublime. And departing leave behind us foot prints on the sands of time.” I. DeQuincey Newman was, by any measure, a great...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xv-xvi

As I viewed images in Out-of-the-Box in Dixie: Photography of the South Carolina Events that Changed America in preparation for writing this book, the faces of former classmates at South Carolina State College (now University) stared back at me. Only then I realized that the Reverend I. DeQuincey Newman...

Chronology

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pp. xvii-xxviii

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Prologue

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pp. 1-3

It is quite an honor for me to write the prologue to this book honoring the life and legacy of I. DeQuincey Newman. As the first South Carolinian and the second African American to rise to the third ranking position in the United States House of Representatives, I am acutely aware of how important it is...

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Introduction

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pp. 4-7

This book has been a journey of discoveries about Reverend Isaiah DeQuincey Newman, his family, his colleagues, the history of the state of South Carolina, as well as about the one doing the discovering. It is intended that readers will also experience a journey of discoveries—that they too will leave...

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Isaiah DeQuincey Newman: The Servant Leader

Sadye L. M. Logan..

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pp. 8-46

Isaiah DeQuincey Newman’s life embodied many contradictions. He described himself as a country preacher, though he graduated from an esteemed theological seminary. He was an intellectual and so to speak, “walked with kings, but never lost the common touch.” Like most educated African Americans...

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Making the Impossible Possible: Building Alliance between Religion and Politics

Sadye L. M. Logan and Josephine A. McRant

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pp. 47-62

The United States Supreme Court, the highest court of the nation, interpreted the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States to mean that church and state shall remain separate. Simply stated, the state shall not have the influence either to prohibit or to promote a person’s religious belief. There have been numerous debates over this interpretation...

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The NAACP Years: Newman as South Carolina Field Director

Millicent E. Brown

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pp. 63-82

Newman assumed a leadership role in the NAACP beginning in 1943. During that time (1940–46) the NAACP experienced an increase in black registered voters. The period of his leadership, the 1950s through the 1960s, was one of revitalization of commitment and was a legacy of rich activism and...

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Leadership in Black and White: Newman’s Struggles with Race and Politics

Wim Roefs

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pp. 83-100

This essay contains an examination of the approach and success of 1940s civil rights activism in South Carolina, which helped to shape the fight over desegregation in the state during the 1960s, and the influence of this period’s leadership, which conditioned and gave opportunities for the style of...

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A Vision for Change: Community Planning and Development in Rural South Carolina

Wallace Brown, Sr., G. Robert Cook, Carrie Crawford Washington, and Karen Ross Grant

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pp. 101-111

The war on poverty was not officially declared in the United States until 1964. However, in South Carolina poverty was not “discovered” until 1968.1 One of South Carolina’s first responses to poverty was the development in 1971 of the Rural Regional Coordination Demonstration Project (RRCDP). Three years later, in October 1974, Governor John West appointed the Reverend...

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Impacting the State’s Economy: Challenging Discriminatory Practices in Employment

Tanya S. Brice and Sadye L. M. Logan

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pp. 112-124

Isaiah DeQuincey Newman lived during a time of great economic transition in the state and the nation. He was born during an era when sharecropping was the major economic and employment activity for African Americans in South Carolina. This and related menial jobs kept African Americans dependent...

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Narratives: I. DeQuincey Newman Remembered

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pp. 125-160

This collection of thirteen personal narratives about Isaiah DeQuincey Newman provides a diverse mixture of voices that paints an informative, moving, and sometimes passionate collage of the challenges, triumphs, and small and large everyday acts of courage in living. It has been said that when memory...

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Conclusion: Newman’s Vision of a “Just” South Carolina

Sadye L. M. Logan

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pp. 161-174

At the turn of the century and at the time of I. DeQuincey Newman’s birth in 1911, the United States was on the brink of major transformation. This was a time of great hope. The progressive spirit of reform was spreading rapidly across our nation. One might surmise that this was the perfect time for the...

Appendix: Time Line of the Central Jurisdiction and Events Leading Up to Its Creation

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pp. 175-176

Bibliography

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pp. 177-188

Contributors

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pp. 189-192

Index

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pp. 193-201


E-ISBN-13: 9781611173284
E-ISBN-10: 1611173280
Print-ISBN-13: 9781611173277

Page Count: 232
Publication Year: 2014

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Subject Headings

  • Newman, I. DeQuincy, 1911-1985.
  • African American legislators -- South Carolina -- Biography.
  • Legislators -- South Carolina -- Biography.
  • South Carolina. General Assembly -- Biography.
  • African American political activists -- South Carolina -- Biography.
  • Methodist Church -- South Carolina -- Clergy -- Biography.
  • African Americans -- Civil rights -- South Carolina -- History -- 20th century.
  • Civil rights movements -- South Carolina -- History -- 20th century.
  • South Carolina -- Politics and government -- 1951-.
  • South Carolina -- Race relations -- History -- 20th century.
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