S.C. governor undergoes tests for brain tumor

COLUMBIA -- Former Gov. Robert McNair is resting in a Charleston hospital after learning Friday he has a brain tumor, one of his law partners confirmed Monday.

McNair, 83, found out about the tumor during a routine physical at the Medical University of South Carolina, said Bill Youngblood, managing partner of the McNair Law Firm.

Youngblood said he doesn't know whether the type of tumor has been determined. He said he visited McNair on Sunday and the former governor was "alert and in good spirits."

Youngblood said he doesn't know whether any treatment options have been settled upon.

"I know over the weekend they were conducting tests," Youngblood said.

McNair, a Democrat, was governor from 1965 until 1971.

Lt. Gov. McNair became governor when Gov. Donald Russell resigned to fill a vacant seat in the U.S. Senate. McNair defeated Joseph Rogers Jr. in 1966 to win a new term.

As governor, McNair was a progressive on race, and historians give him credit for moving a still heavily agricultural state into the industrial age.

McNair's term began on the eve of the state's bloodiest and most infamous civil rights confrontation -- the Orangeburg Massacre. Gunfire from state highway patrolmen left three black students dead.

McNair accepted responsibility for the incident in a biography published last year.

After leaving state government, the USC law school graduate became a senior partner at the McNair, Konduros and Corley law firm.

Today, the Columbia-based McNair Law Firm is the state's third largest.

McNair was born in Berkeley County in 1923 and spent his boyhood on his family's Jamestown farm.