"Whites Come to Be Majority," A Report on Population Shifts, South Carolina: A Handbook, 1927

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Published in 1927, by a joint resolution of the General Assembly, this handbook to South Carolina aimed “to inform accurately and as fully as space allowed, and . . .  to emphasize the state’s attractions as a home for worthy people and prosperous industries.”  Along these lines, the report highlights the recent population shift of the state, as the population estimate for 1925 gives whites a majority for the first time in over 100 years.  Throughout the 1920s, in a population shift known as the Great Migration, African Americans left farmland destroyed by over-production and the boll weevil in South Carolina and other southern states, to work in post-war northern industries.  The guide states that the loss of the black population in the state is “not in an economic sense calamitous,” since most of the “colored labor” did not own their farms and worked lands that were no longer fertile.  While the handbook makes no mention of the political and social persecution of Jim Crow laws as an additional force in the move to the North, it does indicate the agricultural reasons for the move, along with the willingness of the government and other whites to see their black neighbors leave.


Department of Agriculture, Commerce and Industries and Clemson College.  “Population – Whites Come to be Majority.”  In South Carolina: A Handbook.  Columbia: 1927, 20-4.

Correlating SC Social Studies Academic Standards: 

Standard 3-5: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the major developments in South Carolina in the late nineteenth century and the twentieth century.

Indicator 3-5.3 Summarize the changes in South Carolina’s economy in the twentieth century, including the rise and fall of the cotton/textile markets and the development of tourism and other industries.

Standard 8-6: The student will demonstrate an understanding of South Carolina’s development during the early twentieth century.

Indicator 8-6.2 Explain the impact of World War I on South Carolina, including the building of new military bases and the economic impact of emigration to industrial jobs in the North.

Indicator 8-6.3 Summarize the political, social, and economic situation in South Carolina following World War I, including progress in suffrage for women, improvements in daily life in urban and rural areas, and changes in agriculture and industry.

Indicator 8-7.3 Explain how the increased industrialization and mechanization, the reduction in cotton production, and the emigration of African Americans both resulted from and contributed to agricultural decline in South Carolina.

Standard USHC-7: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the economic boom-and-bust in America in the 1920s and 1930s, its resultant political instability, and the subsequent worldwide response.

Indicator USHC-7.3 Explain the causes and effects of the social conflict and change that took place during the 1920s, including the role of women and their attainment of the right to vote, the “Red Scare” and the Sacco and Vanzetti case, the resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan, immigration quotas, Prohibition, and the Scopes trial.



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