COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – Lawmakers across the state and country both Republican and Democrat have been reflecting on the legacy and contributions of United States Senator Ernest “Fritz” Hollings.
The Charleston native died at his Isle of Palms Saturday. He was 97 years old and spent more than half of his life serving the people of South Carolina as a representative, Lieutenant Governor, and Governor.
Hollings was very instrumental in helping the University of South Carolina to develop its political collections. The special library highlights monumental political figures life and work.
Herbert Hartsook, the founder of the special collections library, described a few of the former governor’s contributions on display.
“He got into government to do things, to make life better for people everything from starting ETV and the technical education system,” said Hartsook.
Dorothy Walker, a former intern of Hollings and current director of the SC Political Collections, elaborated some more on Hollings’ work.
Walker added,” He was very interested in policy and fact-finding and research and bringing all that together for improving people’s lives.”
Every moment of Hollings’ service is documented at the University of South Carolina in a special library named after him, the Ernest F. Hollings Special Collections Library.
Hollings has more than 1 million documents in the special library that features photographs, videos, speeches, and hand-written notes.
“We have things going back to his early life including his active service duty that he rarely talked about but he fought in North African,” continued Hartsook.
The Charleston Democrat stood out in a field of Republican-dominated leadership, but it wasn’t for his political affiliation.
Hartsook went into detail about some of the key initiatives the Citadel graduated spearheaded that helped shape South Carolina for the better.
“He had been laying the groundwork for the peaceful integration of higher education, Harvey Gantt’s admission to Clemson. At the end of his talk, he said ‘we need to show the world that we are people who follow the law’ and called for the desegregation and people urged him not to do that. But he spoke about it anyway and that was Hollings.”
Senator Hollings’ body will lie in state at the State House before his funeral in his hometown of Charleston.