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History and Preservation

The Palmer Campus is a proud member of the Eastside Community and is dedicated to preserving its history and ensuring it has a thriving future.

Palmer Campus sits on the site of the former C.A. Brown High School, which holds an important place in Charleston and Civil Rights history. In December 1951, the NAACP filed Briggs v. Elliott, a class-action suit that asked the court to end the practice of segregating South Carolina public schools. Briggs eventually became part of Brown v. Board of Education, the 1954 landmark case in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled segregation illegal and mandated integration.

School districts across the South scrambled to defend the practice of “separate but equal” by pouring money into black schools or creating “equalization schools.”  In the early 1960s the Charleston County School District received a grant from the state of South Carolina to build a new black high school. Its purpose, chairman C.A. Brown noted, was to furnish “separate but equal facilities for both races.”

C.A. Brown High School opened on Sept. 4, 1962, the result of a last-ditch effort by Charleston County school board officials to stave off integration by providing better facilities for African-American students.  The strategy failed, as Charleston’s public schools would be desegregated the next year. While failing to prevent integration, the school district succeeded in creating an anchor for the Eastside community and providing Charleston with a new generation of African-American leaders.

The former C.A. Brown High School was named one of five sites to receive a Civil Rights Historic Marker by The Preservation Society of Charleston in 2012.

To celebrate the community, Palmer Campus holds special events such as Eastside Day during Spirit Week, health fairs, community symposiums and walking tours.