District 25 Historical NarrativeIn 1942 the US Military established what was originally named Greenville Army Air Base to support the World War II effort. In 1948 the name was changed to Greenville Air Force Base and later in 1951 renamed Donaldson Air Force Base in honor the late John Owen Donaldson who was a Greenville native and flew for the Royal Air Force during World War I. He became an ace with eight victories during the war.
In January of 1963, Donaldson Air Force Base was deactivated and merged with Hunter Air Force Base, Georgia. The Air Force Base with deeded jointly to the City and County of Greenville and the entire 2600 acre facility was renamed Donaldson Center Airport. The name was later shortened to Donaldson Center and now known as SCTAC (South Carolina Technology and Aviation Center).
Many of the civilian employees of the Air Force Base lived within a 3 mile radius of the facility. Once closed, many of the former employees moved away creating a large housing surplus in the area which African American residents began to fill. This happened at the height of the Civil Rights Era which saw the passage of the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act and the Fair Housing Act. Once African Americans began moving into the area, many of the remaining white residents participated in what was known at the time as white flight, opening up even more housing for African Americans.
By the early 1970s, new African American neighborhoods had been built and schools to handle the large increase in residents in the area. Additionally, the Voting Rights Act led to the end of muti-member districts and a change to single member districts, giving African Americans the opportunity to have elected representation for the first time in the history of Greenville County. The late 1970s saw a continued push to increase voter registration and participation among African Americans in District 25.
In 1984 Theo Michell was elected to the South Carolina State Senate and Rev. Dr. E.D. Dixon was elected to Greenville County Council. Later, Rev. Dr. W.B. McMahand was elected to represent District 25 in the South Carolina House of Representatives and Leola Robinson-Simpson on the Greenville County School Board. Today, District 25 is the only majority minority district in Greenville County comprised of almost 45,000 residents. Currently, Michelle Goodwin-Calwile represents the District on the Greenville County School Board, Dr. Ennis M. Fant, Greenville County Council, Wendell Jones, SC House of Representatives and Karl B. Allen, the SC State Senate.
With more industrial zoned property than any other district, District 25 leads the way in economic growth and job creation. District 25 is the home of the first and only Business and Technology District in Greenville County comprised of more than 1000 acres along the Highway 25 Corridor. Additionally, SCTAC currently is the home for more than 120 businesses including 3M, Michelin and Lockheed Martin, home of the F-16 Fighter Jet.
With its current focus on expanding homeownership, revitalizing the Augusta Road Corridor at I-85, creating Greenville County's first Urban Development District; thus, creating a new gateway into Downtown Greenville, both the present and future are bright for District 25.