Sandlapper Society

Well-known Political Figures from SC

Ben Bernanke

John Edwards

Fritz Hollings

Strom Thurmond

Andrew Jackson

Jesse Jackson

 

Ben Bernanke

Though born in Augusta, Georgia, Ben Bernanke was raised in Dillon. During high school and on breaks from college, Bernanke worked at the famous I-95 landmark South Of The Border. He was appointed Chair of the Federal Reserve Board in 2005 by President George W. Bush after the retirement of Alan Greenspan. President Obama reappointed him to the post in 2009.

James F. Byrnes

One of the state’s most renowned politicians, James Byrnes was born in Charleston in 1882. He served in both the US House and Senate, served as Governor of South Carolina, was Secretary of State under President Truman and was a Justice on the United States Supreme Court. Remarkably, Byrnes never went to high school or college. Instead, he was an apprentice to a lawyer, which was a common practice in his day.

John C. Calhoun

Calhoun, born in 1782 in Abbeville, served as Vice President of the United States under Presidents John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson. After a disagreement with Jackson, he became the first Vice President to resign from office. He also served in the US House and Senate, and as Secretary of War under President Monroe and Secretary of State under President Tyler. He was known as a fierce advocate of slavery and states rights. His plantation, Fort Hill, is now a part of Clemson University.

John Edwards

A native of Seneca, Edwards made a name for himself as a plaintiff’s lawyer before turning to politics. A US Senator from North Carolina, Edwards ran as Vice President on the Democratic ticket with al gore in 2004. He also ran for President in 2008, but his bid was derailed by an affair with a campaign videographer and it’s alleged he fathered a child with her.

Fritz Hollings

Ernest Fredrick “Fritz” Hollings was born in Charleston in 1922. After graduating from The Citadel, he fought in world War II. Hollings served as Governor of SC from 1959-1963 and created the state’s technical college system. He represented the state in the US Senate from 1966 through 2005 and was known for his many colorful quotes. He ran for President in 1984. He played a Southern senator in the 1996 Al Pacino movie City Hall.

Strom Thurmond

Strom Thurmond is the only US Senator to reach the age of 100 while still in office. This colorful politician was born in 1902 in Edgefield. He was Governor from 1947 – 1951, and then US Senator from 1945 – 2003. He ran for President as a Dixiecrat on a segregationist platform in 1948. His second wife, Nancy Moore, was a Miss SC pageant winner. She was 22 and he was 66 when they married. After his death, it was revealed Thurmond had an African American daughter he never acknowledged, Essie May Washington Williams.

Andrew Jackson

Born in Waxhaw, South Carolina in 1767, Jackson went on to become the 7th U.S. president of the United States. He was also the military governor of Florida, commander of the American forces at the Battle of New Orleans, a founder of the modern Democratic Party and dominated American politics until his death in 1845. Renowned for his toughness, his nickname was Old Hickory.

Jesse Jackson

Rev. Jesse Louis Jackson Sr., founder and president of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, is one of America’s foremost civil rights, religious and political figures. Over the past 40 years he has played a pivotal role in virtually every movement for empowerment, peace, civil rights, gender equality, and economic and social justice. Born in 1941 in Greenville, he became a full-time organizer for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and was appointed by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to direct SCLC’s Operation Breadbasket program. Jackson campaigned for president in 1984 and in 1988. 

Joseph P. Riley, Jr.

 Now serving his ninth term as Mayor, Joe Riley was born in Charleston in 1943. After graduating from The Citadel, he attained a law degree at the University of South Carolina. He served in the SC House of Representatives from 1968 – 1974 and was elected Mayor of Charleston in 1975. Under his leadership, Charleston has made great strides in crime reduction, affordable housing, urban renewal and revitalizing the historic and business districts. Riley was instrumental in bringing the Spoleto Festival to the Holy City and was the driving force behind the city’s waterfront park.

 

 

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