Mr. Byrnes is one of the few public servants to have served in
all three branches of federal government. He served in the executive
branch as the Assistant President (Director of Economic Stabilization
and Director of War Mobilization); in the judicial
branch, Mr. Byrnes was appointed to the US Supreme Court; and
in the legislative branch, he served in
both the US House of Representatives and the US Senate.
As a stenographer and House member, Mr. Byrnes learned one important
lesson: "In relationships in life, happiness and success can
be achieved only by a willingness to make concessions."
When President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed Mr. Byrnes as Director
of War Mobilization, he gave him more authority than had previously
been delegated to any public official. The appointment gave Mr.
Byrnes "power to originate policies and lay out programs that
would coordinate the work of all the war agencies and federal departments
in any way connected with the production, procurement, transportation
and distribution of both civilian and military supplies."
Mr. Byrnes met with the scientists who developed the atomic bomb
to discuss government policy concerning the bomb. The meeting occurred
at the request of Dr. Albert Einstein and took place in Spartanburg,
SC. Present at the meeting were many scientists who were concerned
about how the government planned to use nuclear weapons.
Mr. Byrnes believed that it was better to keep talking with the
Soviets to make a "step by step progress towards peace" than
to cut all connections and increase the risks of total war. Strength
and power, Mr. Byrnes believed, are no substitutes for peaceful negotiations.
Mr. Byrnes was considered as a possible running mate for President
Roosevelt in the 1944 election.
As Director of War Mobilization, Mr. Byrnes was responsible for
ensuring that the Manhattan (nuclear bomb) Project had top priority
as far as men and material were concerned. The project required the
services of 100,000 men.
En route to Potsdam in 1945, President Truman and Secretary of
State Byrnes were not allowed to fly on the same plane because, there
being no Vice President at the time, Byrnes was successor in the
event of the President's death.
As Governor,of South Carolina, Mr. Byrnes
greatly improved the state's hospital for the mentally ill. He initiated
a building program. He also began a program for the training of mentally-handicapped
Mr. Byrnes once said that he shared Tolstoy's philosophy: "The
sole meaning of life is to serve humanity."
Mr. Byrnes was the 24th inductee into the South Carolina Hall of
Fame. He was enshrined posthumously on January 11, 1982.
The S.C. General Assembly proclaimed June 12, 1999, as James F.
Byrnes day statewide in celebration of 50 years of Byrnes Scholarship
2021 Application Process Closed
The application process for 2021 is closed. Scholarship announcements will be posted to the website in early June. The application for 2022 will be available December 2021. Please check back then.
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In return for their generosity and support, Mom and Pop Byrnes asked only two things from us: become the very best people we could become in life, and make sure their legacy of family continues for those who come after us.
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