Date of Award

Summer 2023

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies

First Advisor

Allison D. Anders


Higher education institutions (HEIs) often are characterized by how they compete with other institutions. Institutions try to secure the most resources for their benefit, and this often includes expansion and land accumulation.1 Increasingly common is land acquisition for athletics expansion or enhancement, because successful athletics programs build perception and prominence.2 Historically, for large public universities in urban centers, athletics expansion or enhancement has negatively affected surrounding areas. Often, city centers are populated by Black and Brown community members due to the migration patterns of Blacks after World War II and subsequent racial segregation efforts that further segregated Communities by Color.3

This historiography of one urban university’s athletics venue expansion into surrounding predominantly Black communities addresses two urban renewal projects in Columbia, South Carolina from 1964-1971, the processes of displacement and expansion, and the effects on former and current residents of surrounding communities. Using archival materials from the University of South Carolina (USC) and the Columbia Housing Authority (CHA), state records and documents, and interviews with former and current residents, the researcher reveals a complex system of collaboration across federal, state, and local officials and deleterious effects on community members. Specifically, analyzing events surrounding USC’s creation of the Carolina Coliseum, which opened in 1968 as the site for intercollegiate athletics, and the Solomon Blatt Physical Education Center, opened in 1971 as a site for intercollegiate athletics and intramural sports, these urban renewal projects displaced thousands of people living in the Ward One and Wheeler Hill communities.4 The researcher amplifies voices from Black communities that have been long silenced in community histories in the South. This historiography represents a complex historical account of the events that took place and generates key insights for contemporary community-university relations regarding university athletic venue expansion and the potential impact on nearby communities. The researcher argues that HEIs must find ways to sustain their operations while working in relation with their surrounding communities. Histories of exploitation and dispossession must not be repeated.


© 2023, Theresa M. Harrison

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