Gloria Blackwell Rackley

Teacher and civil rights activist

Dr. Gloria Blackwell Rackley (1927-2010), worked for the NAACP in Dillon County. She also led nonviolent demonstrations to desegregate public spaces. In 1961, Rackley filed a lawsuit against the Orangeburg Regional Hospital, where she was arrested for refusing to leave a “whites only” waiting room while seeking care for her daughter. Attorney Matthew J. Perry defended Rackley in Rackley v. Tri-County Hospital (1962), which led to the integration of the hospital. In 1963, Rackley marched with hundreds of high school and college students who challenged segregated facilities in downtown Orangeburg. As a result of Rackley’s activism, white school officials fired her from her teaching job. Later, Rackley earned a Ph.D. from Emory University and taught at Clark College in Atlanta.

Image courtesy of South Carolina Political Collections

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