Gold Medal Ceremony Date Set Honoring South Carolina Desegregation Heroes

Aug 16, 2004

(Washington, DC) - Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus James E. Clyburn (D-SC) today announced the Speaker of the House has set the date for the ceremony to award the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor to four South Carolina desegregation heroes.  On Wednesday, September 8th at 2:00 p.m. in the Capitol Rotunda, the families of Reverend Joseph Delaine, Levi Pearson, and Harry and Eliza Briggs will accept the gold medals for the brave actions of these civil rights pioneers in the effort to integrate public schools. 

"This recognition has been a long time in coming," Congressman James E. Clyburn said.  "I only wish that these ordinary people who did extraordinary things could be here today to receive the accolades they so richly deserve."

The gold medal recipients were all residents of Clarendon County, South Carolina who led the fight that ultimately became Brown v. Board of Education.  Reverend DeLaine was the organizer who encouraged county residents to file lawsuits on behalf of their children.  Levi Pearson filed the first lawsuit that was later thrown out on a technicality. And Harry and Eliza Briggs were the lead petitioners in the Briggs v. Elliott lawsuit, the first of five cases that were rolled into the landmark Brown v. Board of Education

Congressman Clyburn introduced legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives, which received unanimous votes in both Houses of Congress, to award these unsung heroes the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor.

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