University of South Carolina

Robert Anderson, Henrie Monteith Treadwell, and James Solomon in 1963
From left, Robert Anderson, Henrie Monteith Treadwell, and James Solomon on campus in 1963.

Continued: Robert Anderson

"After we enrolled in September, especially during the early months, Robert was harassed quite a bit," says Solomon, who was a graduate student in mathematics and lived off campus. "Guys would bang on his dorm door late at night. When he would go to the door, they'd run, and he'd never know who it was."

'Sharp, biting sense of humor'

Matthew Perry, now a U.S. District Court judge, was a prominent Civil Rights lawyer who filed lawsuits to integrate South Carolina and Clemson University. Perry represented Anderson and Henrie Monteith Treadwell and reminded them that what they were doing was worthwhile--and would invite opposition.

"You're talking 1963 when South Carolina's education system was rigidly segregated on the basis of race," Perry says. "We conferred with all of the plaintiffs in these cases to advise them of the societal attitudes as we perceived them, that they might look forward to some resistance on the part of some people. We didn't think it would rise to the level of violence like what occurred in Mississippi, but we made sure to acquaint them with what they might face."

Thorne Compton, an English and Southern Studies professor, was a freshman at the University when Anderson enrolled. He was on the University debate team with Anderson and remembered his "sharp, biting sense of humor. He took very seriously what he was doing here, but he didn't take himself seriously."

After graduating from Carolina in 1966, Anderson, a Greenville native, moved to New York City. A combat tour in Vietnam followed, and Anderson returned to the city to work in a series of social services assignments. He helped Cuban refugees, worked with mothers and children in the Bureau of Child Welfare, and ran an alcohol counseling program. Along the way he earned a professional social work degree from Hunter College.

After retiring from the city in 1995, Anderson worked 12 more years for the Veterans Administration, assisting at homeless shelters.

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