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All Around Town Teaches History to 3rd Graders

Library Partners With Museum, Local Author to Enrich Third Graders’ Experience

In South Carolina, there is a noticeable gap in third grade reading levels and limited opportunities for students to experience authentic education on South Carolina history.

Hoping to bridge the gap and expand students’ historical knowledge, Richland Library and Columbia Museum of Art have teamed up to pilot an art and literacy initiative called "All Around the Town: All Around the State."

Focusing on at-risk students, the program will target 2,000 third graders in Richland, Fairfield and Orangeburg counties during the months of March and April, 2013. All Around the Town will provide first-time exposure to public cultural venues in the state of South Carolina and expose children to the work of two famous South Carolina artists—Dinah Johnson and Richard Samuel Roberts.

Through a variety of activities built around Johnson’s book and Roberts’ photographs, students will get to experience what life was like for Columbia’s Africa-American community during the early twentieth century.

More than half a century after the photographs were taken, the library and museum are finding new ways to inspire a future generation of South Carolinians by bringing Roberts’s collection and Johnson’s lyrical text together to illustrate the pride, joy and strength of our bustling community.

The All Around Town initiative is made possible by a Library Services and Technology Act grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services administered by the South Carolina State Library. Special thanks to Claflin University and Family Medicine Centers of South Carolina for their support of this project.