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Nov. 18, 2013

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As the old cliche goes, “You don’t know where you are going until you know where you have been.”

The USC Athletics Department celebrated its first African-American student-athletes this past weekend with a Friday evening reception and a Saturday recognition during the Gamecocks’ football game with Florida.

“We are amongst leaders,” said USC Director of Athletics Ray Tanner at Friday evening’s reception. “You took advantage of an opportunity and became Gamecocks. You opened the doors for many and our world has become a better place for it.”

The recognition was part of the University’s 50th anniversary of desegregation, “Embracing Change. Fulfilling the Dream.”

Jackie Brown came to Carolina on a baseball scholarship in 1969 and switched to football in the fall of 1970. He became the first black starter for Carolina in football and the first African-American to earn a varsity letter in football. Jackie, who passed away in 1994, was represented by his family at the weekend events.

Carlton Haywood was the first African-American recruited to Carolina, coming from Macon, Ga. He played on the 1969 freshman team, redshirted in 1970 and earned a varsity letter in 1971, a year in which he rushed for 179 yards.

Casey Manning came to Carolina in 1969 and was a member of three NCAA Tournament teams for Coach Frank McGuire’s basketball squad. Casey who has been a Circuit Court Judge in South Carolina since 1994, has kept up his Gamecock roots, serving on the Gamecock Radio Network for basketball since 1994.

Also honored during the weekend was Harold White, Carolina’s first African-American coach. He came to USC in 1971 as a graduate assistant coach and became an academic counselor in 1973. He was on the Carolina staff for nearly 40 years.

In addition to these four Pioneers, all African-American student-athletes during the first 10 years of Carolina athletics integration (1969-79) were recognized at the Friday evening reception.