U.S. JOURNAL: "SUMTER COUNTY, S.C. TURKS," The New Yorker
By Calvin Trillin
Published March 8, 1969, p. 104
Abstract from The New Yorker Online Archives:
U.S. JOURNAL about a group of people living in Sumter County, S.C. called Turks. They are not really Turks. Throughout the Southeast there have always been communities of people who constitute a third race, usually discriminated against by whites and almost always segregating themselves from Negroes. They are dark-skinned people of mysterious origin. Most of the groups apparently descend from remnants of Indian tribes that long ago intermarried with whites and with freed or escaped slaves. "The men are mostly of the small-farmer or tenant class and most of them are poor," an article in the Columbia "State" said in 1928. Every Truk is certain that he is white and certain that his neighbors are ready to believe that he is part Negro. The founders of this community were 2 men who fought with Gen. Thomas Sumter during the American Revolution and were given land by the Genl. around his plantation. They were a Frenchman called Scott and Joseph Benenhaley, who is usually identified as a Moor or an Arab. The Turks were discriminated against and segregated until a few years after World War II. At first they succeeded in getting their children admitted into Hillcrest, the local white high school; later into grade school. Eventuall most local white students went to a private high school, but some white students, not local, from Shaw Air Force Base, do go to it.