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Dawn of Desegregation
J. A. De Laine and Briggs v. Elliott

Ophelia De Laine Gona

An inspirational biography of an unsung civil rights champion from South Carolina

At the forefront of a new era in American history, Briggs v. Elliott was one of the five school-segregation lawsuits argued consecutively before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1952. The genesis of Briggs was in 1947, when the black community of Clarendon County, South Carolina, took action against the abysmally poor educational services provided for their children. In a move that would define him as an early champion for civil rights justice, Joseph A. De Laine, pastor and school principal, led his neighbors to challenge South Carolina's "separate but equal" practice of racial segregation in public schools.

In this engrossing memoir, Ophelia De Laine Gona, the daughter of Reverend De Laine, becomes the first to cite and adequately credit the forces responsible for filing Briggs. Based on Reverend De Laine's writings and papers, witness testimonies, and the author's personal knowledge, Gona's memoir fills a gap in civil rights history by providing a poignant
insider's view of the events and personalities—including NAACP attorney Thurgood Marshall and federal district judge J. Waties Waring—central to this trailblazing case.

Ophelia De Laine Gona is retired from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. In addition to scientific publications, Gona's previous writings include articles about her father and the Briggs lawsuit.

"Dawn of Desegregation contributes greatly to the history of education progress in South Carolina. The case was absolutely critical in the elimination of legal segregation. We are so fortunate that Reverend De Laine's daughter, realizing the significance of her father's life and of the Briggs case, has chosen to share this story."—Richard W. Riley, former governor of South Carolina and U.S. secretary of education

"Gona paints her father and other leaders of the movement as heroic, but she tells their story with clarity and a delicate turn of phrase. Reading this book sometimes feels like hearing the tale straight from residents of Clarendon County in the 1950s…. Gona has done her father proud. She provides an insider's view of her father's experience along with a gripping account of the treacherous struggle for civil rights in South Carolina."—Charleston (S.C.) Post and Courier 



Dawn of Desegregation


(2011) 6 x 9
232 pages
17 illus.
ISBN 978-1-61117-140-2
paperback, $21.95s

eISBN 978-1-61117-174-7
ebook, $20.99t

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