Clarendon County, S.C.: Confronting the Shame of the Past

Hanging prominently in the foyer of Joseph Elliott's home in Summerton, S.C., is a portrait of the Confederate Army general, Robert E. Lee. Nearby, however, Elliott just as proudly displays newspaper clippings of his late great-uncle, a real-life Atticus Finch who defended blacks in the era of Jim Crow. Elliott, 64, has struggled a lifetime to reconcile these mixed images of the South. But one picture noticeably absent from his gallery is that of his late grandfather, R.M. Elliott, a wealthy sawmill owner and former Summerton school-board chairman who, in the 1940s, refused to provide bus transportation for black students to...

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