Civil Rights in Columbia

September 18, 2013

Columbia native A.C. Redd remembered for civil rights work

The Rev. A.C. Redd, a Columbia native who played a role in some of the most important events in the civil rights struggle, died Sept. 14 in Augusta at age 96.

The Rev. A.C. Redd, a Columbia native who played a role in some of the most important events in the civil rights struggle, died Sept. 14 in Augusta at age 96.

Albert Carter Redd Sr. helped Thurgood Marshall with research for one of the major civil rights lawsuits — what began as Briggs v. Elliott in South Carolina and eventually was merged with other cases as Brown v. Board of Education. He and two other ministers made news when they boarded a bus in Tallahassee, Fla., to challenge bus segregation rules. He also was on the ground in Detroit, trying to calm emotions during the 1967 riots.

Redd was proud of his roles, both behind the scenes and out front. Later in life, he made sure to point out many others played important roles in the civil rights movement and got little attention.

“There were many unsung leaders in South Carolina,” Redd said in a 2007 interview with The State encouraging an oral history effort at the University of South Carolina. “Nothing’s ever been said about them.”

Asked to speak to a class at the University of South Carolina in 2007, Redd noted how times have changed.

“I remember the time when blacks couldn’t walk across the University of South Carolina campus,” he said. “I used to have to walk around the campus to get to Booker T. Washington High School.”

Redd was born in Columbia on March 13, 1917, and received a bachelor’s degree in history with a minor in psychology from Benedict College. He earned a master of divinity degree from Howard University. Before he retired in Augusta, his many assignments by the Christian Methodist Episcopal church included stops in Columbia and Lexington.

Redd is survived by a son, Albert C. Redd Jr. of Bowie, Md., and a daughter, Althea Redd of Denver, and one grandchild. He was predeceased by his wife of 52 years, Georgia Harrison Redd.

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