Peace family's impact on Greenville unequaled


Perhaps no family has had as great an impact on the Greenville community than Bony Hampton Peace Sr. and his descendants, which include brothers B.H. Peace Jr. and Roger Craft Peace (1899-1968).

Roger Craft Peace (May 19, 1899-Aug. 20, 1968) was a writer, publisher and civic leader who also served a brief stint as a U.S. Senator. Born in Greenville, he attended Greenville High School and graduated from Furman University in 1919 – the same year in which he successfully encouraged his father, Daily News business manager Bony Hampton Peace Sr., to purchase the newspaper on Main Street. Bony Peace changed the name of the paper to the Greenville News; Roger Craft Peace worked through the ranks as a reporter, sports editor, editor, business manager, and eventually publisher.

Roger Peace served as a Furman University trustee from 1938-48. In Aug. 1941, Peace was appointed on as a Democrat to the U.S. Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Alva Lumpkin. He served four months and chose not be a candidate for election to the vacancy, instead resuming his career of writing, publishing, and civic activities.

At the time of his death, Roger Peace was chairman of Multimedia, Inc., a corporation that began with the Greenville News and Greenville Piedmont and expanded to nearly three dozen newspapers throughout the southeast. It later merged with the Gannett Corporation.

Circulation of the Daily News grew dramatically after Bony Hampton Peace Sr., had joined the staff was appointed business manager. Bony Peace Jr. later became vice-president of the company and president of WFBC radio.

More than 70 years later, the Peace family – the surviving spouses and children of the late Roger C. Peace, B.H. Peace Jr. and Frances Peace Graham -- unconditionally donated $10 million to begin the foundation that provided the Peace Center for the Performing Arts. The family later raised that total to $13.6 million, at the time the largest cash contribution in the state, to the capital campaign.

Even before that gift, the Peace family had earned a reputation for philanthropy in the community with large gifts to the Bon Secours St. Francis Hospital System, the Greenville Literacy Association, the Greenville Symphony Association and the Greenville County Art Museum