In essence, the law guaranteed at least a seven-month school term for all white children. Additionally, it shifted the financial responsibility away from local districts, which often lacked resources, to the state.
In his 1925 inaugural address, Governor Thomas McLeod proudly proclaimed the 6–0–1 Law to be “the most progressive step . . . South Carolina had taken on educational lines since the establishment of the public school system.” Passed by the General Assembly on March 21, 1924, the 6–0–1 Law was hailed as a landmark in education reform. In essence, the law guaranteed at least a seven-month school term for all white children. Additionally, it shifted the financial responsibility away from local districts, which often lacked resources, to the state. Although in many ways progressive, the 6–0–1 Law nevertheless reinforced South Carolina’s commitment to a racially segregated education system because its provisions did not apply to African Americans.
Reform advocates imbedded the formula for funding the guaranteed seven-month school term in the law’s title. The state paid all teacher salaries for six months (“6”) provided that local school districts paid for one month (“1”). Counties were encouraged, but not required, to supply additional funding to further expand the school term (“0”). Prior to this act, local districts funded their own schools largely from property taxes. Consequently, school terms varied widely depending on the resources and property values in individual districts. Equalizing educational opportunities for rural white children was the primary objective of 6–0–1 Law advocates. Representative Claud Sapp of Richland County, a supporter of the law, regularly expressed the sentiment that “every white child in the state should be given the opportunity to be educated” and that the only way to accomplish this was to “tax all the property of the state for that purpose, eradicate the county lines, and make the state the unit of education.”
Hudson, Janet Goodrum. “Maintaining White Supremacy: Race, Class, and Reform in South Carolina, 1917–1924.” Ph.D. diss., University of South Carolina, 1996.
–––. “South Carolina’s 6–0–1 Law of 1924: A Study of Educational Reform.” Master’s thesis, University of South Carolina, 1992.