Henry E. Hayne

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Henry E. Hayne (b.c.1840–d.n.d.) was a Republican politician in South Carolina during the Reconstruction era. He was elected to the state legislature in 1870 and then as Secretary of State in 1872. Later while serving as secretary of state, in 1873 Hayne enrolled as the first student of color in the University of South Carolina medical school. The legislature had passed a new constitution in 1868 making public facilities available to all students.

Born into slavery, Hayne was of mixed race; his enslaved mother was also of mixed race. His father was a white planter and state politician. He acknowledged Hayne and helped him get some education.

Early life and career

Henry E. Hayne was born c.1840 into slavery; his mixed-race mother was enslaved. His father was a white planter and state politician.[1] His father acknowledged him and arranged for him to get some education, to provide social capital to help him in his later life.

Reconstruction era and political career

During Reconstruction, Hayne became active in the Republican Party, which had supported citizenship and suffrage for freedmen. He was elected in 1870 to represent Marion County in the South Carolina Senate. He was next elected as Secretary of State of South Carolina, serving from 1872 to 1877.[2]

While serving as secretary of state, in the fall of 1873 Hayne enrolled in the medical school of the University of South Carolina, becoming the university's first student of color.[1] He was majority white in ancestry. The event made national news and was covered by The New York Times; it described Hayne "as white as any of his ancestors".[1] Some faculty resigned in protest. In 1870 the university had hired its first black faculty member, Richard Greener, a recent graduate of Harvard University.

After Democrats regained control of the state legislature and governor's office in the election of 1876, in early 1877 they closed the college by legislative fiat. The Assembly passed a law prohibiting blacks from admission to the college, and authorized Claflin College in Orangeburg as the only institution for higher education for African Americans in the state. Hayne completed his education elsewhere.


  • South Carolina General Assembly: 2007 Resolution honoring African-American government officials during the 19th century
  • Eric Foner, A Short History of Reconstruction, 1863-1877


  1. ^ a b c '1873-1877, The End of Reconstruction', University of South Carolina, Office of Multicultural Student Affairs
  2. ^ "Minutes of the state board of canvassers," Election Commission, South Carolina Department of Archives and History, S 155013.
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