Rebel Underground

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The Rebel Underground was a racist handbill purporting to be the voice of the old Rebel sensibility in early 1963, as African-American graduate architecture student Harvey Gantt gained admission to Clemson University as its first black student.

In February, 1963, the first issue of about three of a virulently racist student "newspaper", a single-sheet type-written document, the Rebel Underground, circulates hand-to-hand on campus which states in its second paragraph, "The REBEL UNDERGROUND is composed of students on the Clemson Campus who are unwilling to accept integration as 'inevitable.' We believe with the CONCERNED ALUMNI that integration is Communism in action. There is ample documentary evidence to prove this. RU opposes Communism in its entirety - - this naturally includes integration." In concluding statements, it reads "BEWARE OF STUDENT INFORMERS! Be sure you know who you are talking to. There are those who are acting as segregationists only to gather information for the rabid race-mixers in high places." As is so frequently the case in these campaigns antithetical to free speech, the document is unsigned. (Eisiminger, Skip, editor, "Integration with Dignity: A Celebration of Harvey Gantt's Admission to Clemson", Clemson University Digital Press, Clemson, South Carolina, 2003, ISBN 0-9741516-1-0, page 82.) In its third, and apparently last issue, the Rebel Underground attacks Gantt with ugly language, and says of Dean Walter Cox, "[i]n recognition for services rendered, the RU has proclaimed him to be an 'Honorary N-----.'" Quite rightly, Dean Cox, using the power mandated to him as dean of student affairs, suppresses the publication which had been influential in promoting violence at the University of Mississippi. (Wunder, John R., "A Good Sport: Walter Thompson Cox, 1985-1986", McKale, Donald M., editor, "Tradition: A History of the Presidency of Clemson University", Mercer University Press, Macon, Georgia, 1988, ISBN 0-86554-296-1, page 249.)

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