Old Town Rock Hill, South Carolina
FOR CIVIL RIGHTS
Marshall Doswell was born in Richmond, VA in 1921 and served in the Army in the Pacific during World War II. After working in the Associated Press Chicago bureau, he came to Rock Hill as managing editor of the Evening Herald in 1957, just as the city was in the midst of a bus boycott and other racially-charged conflicts.
As he became exposed to the challenges of his new job, he realized the many injustices suffered by the African American community. However, Doswell was clear in his opposition to the Jim Crow laws of that day. He immediately began meeting with black and white leaders to help build a better understanding of specific problems and possible solutions. He used his influential platform to challenge and address the multiple Civil Rights issues that were exploding throughout the area. He openly advocated equality and justice for all citizens, writing newspaper articles and commentaries encouraging local residents to deal positively with the racial issues.
His personal philosophy throughout
his life has been to "do the right
thing, at the right time, for
the right reasons."
Doswell befriended local Civil Rights leader Reverend Cecil Ivory, calling him “Rock Hill’s Martin Luther King Jr.” He met with Ivory regularly and counseled him on ways to use the media to help advance the Civil Rights agenda. Marshall’s employer, pressured by advertisers and many readers, often refused to publish his editorials. Still, Doswell continued openly sharing his strong beliefs with peers and local leaders. As a white person in a prominent professional position, his visible advocacy was unprecedented at the time. But Marshall simply believed that it was his responsibility to use that position to mediate racial tension and stand up for social justice. Marshall was criticized by many because of his recommendations for change, but his effective voice proved to be a calming force during a turbulent time in our community. He left the newspaper business in 1962 and worked the remainder of his career in public relations for Springs Industries. That company's well-known philanthropic values matched his own, and in his new role he remained a voice for progress, retiring from Springs in 1986.
For over 60 years, numerous charities and civic initiatives have also benefited from Marshall’s quiet but significant leadership. He became a prominent, well respected Rock Hill leader who has maintained strong personal integrity. His personal philosophy throughout his life has been to “do the right thing, at the right time, for the right reasons.” He has never been shy about urging others to do the same.
Marshall Doswell’s brave convictions advocating social justice, and his consistent public service to our community, serve as an inspiration now and for future generations.