Billy Graham grew up on a dairy farm in Charlotte, N.C., just miles from South Carolina where his maternal grandparents and other family members lived. During the summers, his father would take Billy and his siblings to Myrtle Beach and Charleston to visit the beach or Magnolia Gardens for the day.
In 1950, Billy returned to South Carolina for his first major evangelistic outreach. At the time called “campaigns,” Willis Haymaker urged the Graham team to change the term to “crusade” during the preparations for the Columbia, S.C.
During their time in South Carolina, Billy and Ruth Graham were invited by Gov. Strom Thurmond – who later would serve 48 years as a member of the U.S. Senate – to be guests in the governor’s mansion where they would be introduced to many of the Thurmond’s friends, constituents and peers. At the conclusion of the Columbia Crusade, Thurmond arranged for state police to escort the Graham team for a two-week preaching-tour of South Carolina.