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Photo by Cecil Williams - "Lenny Glover, April 1961"

Freedom and Justice: Cecil Williams Captures Columbia's Civil Rights Movement

Most histories of the American civil rights movement focus on places like Montgomery, Little Rock, Birmingham, and Selma. Our hometown of Columbia, SC is a lesser recognized but important hotbed of meaningful civil rights activism in the 1960s and surrounding decades.

South Carolina students, attorneys, and civil rights groups organized sit-ins, marches, pickets, protests and legal battles here in Columbia in order to end segregation and economic disparities, and gain social justice and equal access to quality education. These efforts did not go unnoticed by civil rights leaders and supporters such as W.E.B. DuBois, Malcom X, Martin Luther King, Jr., and John F. Kennedy, who visited the city to lend their assistance and encouragement.

Photographer Cecil Williams, a native of Orangeburg, SC, was a participant and witness throughout Columbia's and the state's civil rights movement, capturing this struggle for fundamental human rights in a series of striking images.

Freedom and Justice: Cecil Williams Captures Columbia's Civil Rights Movement, illuminates the local campaign for equality and tells the stories of those who risked everything to break through racial barriers in South Carolina's capital city. This exhibit, also including video footage and news coverage from the time period, is on display now through September in the Gallery at Richland Library Main, 1431 Assembly Street, on the Garden Level.

This exhibit is made possible through a partnership with the Columbia SC 63 Initiative, with support from the University of South Carolina's Moving Images Research Collections.


Amazon Says: This collection of essays by eight historians -- along with an epilogue by noted scholar Donald G. Mathews -- not only expands historical investigation of race and ethnicity i more...
Amazon Says: This collection of essays by eight historians -- along with an epilogue by noted scholar Donald G. Mathews -- not only expands historical investigation of race and ethnicity in the South in fresh directions, but also dissects more thoroughly some traditional aspects of the topic. Addressing subjects from the 1830s to the 1990s, all of the essays underscore the constant struggle to define and redefine ethnic boundaries and etiquettes to match changing historical circumstances. Two essays use the history of military activity in the South to offer insights about evolving relationships between whites and Indians. Samuel J. Watson investigates the Seminole War in Florida while Clayton E. Jewett looks at battles between white Texans and Indians during the early period of the Civil War.James Wilson and David McGee contribute to historians' deepening understanding of the redefinition of racial and ethnic relations during Reconstruction. Wilson analyzes the postbellum implications of Louisiana's three-tiered antebellum racial structure, while McGee delves into the differing fortunes of urban and rural blacks in Wake County, North Carolina, following Emancipation.Angela Boswell and Stephen Brown ensure that other ethnic identities in the South are not forgotten. Boswell addresses domestic violence in nineteenth-century Colorado County, Texas, and includes Germans, as well as blacks and other whites, in her pathbreaking study. Brown offers a subtle reinterpretation of the Leo Frank lunching by examining Frank's Jewish identity within the context of southern honor and "whiteness."Nancy Lopez and Jeff Roche subject more recent events to close study. Lopez tells the story of the childmurders in Atlanta in the late 1970s and early 1980s and relates them to the racial tensions remaining in the city despite the civil rights movement. Roche presents the equally fascinating story of Asa/Forrest Carter, a white supremacist from Alabama who cunningly adopted an Indian identity as the author of the much-loved "autobiographical" The Education of Little Tree. These emerging scholars contribute to the study of legal, military, cultural, and women's history, while demonstrating that race and ethnicity are woven deeply into all those aspects of the South's past. less...
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Amazon Says: Autographed Special Edition: Out-of-the-Box in Dixie: Cecil Williams Photography of the South Carolina Events that Changed America constitutes the most comprehensive and inclu more...
Amazon Says: Autographed Special Edition: Out-of-the-Box in Dixie: Cecil Williams Photography of the South Carolina Events that Changed America constitutes the most comprehensive and inclusive chronicle of the America s civil rights history to date, culminating with a stunning 4-color look at recent South Carolina events including efforts to remove the Confederate flag from atop the state capitol. In exclusive and large format photography, Orangeburg native Cecil Williams chronicles the lives and accomplishments of the heroic people of this state who began and led the struggle for desegregation in America. This is the story of people who changed the course of United States history and caused the national office of the NAACP to redirect its approach from suing separate but equal facilities to challenging segregation as a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, stated Williams. The Orangeburg Freedom Movement the second wave was the catalyst for the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which many historians claim was the beginning of America s Civil Rights Movement. Until recently, few people have heard of Briggs v. Elliott or the Orangeburg Freedom Movement. Spanning more than a half century of racial change from Briggs vs. Elliott in 1949 to Rally for Removal of the Confederate Flag, in 2000, Williams explores the Civil Rights Movement from the inside perspective of an activist and photojournalist. Out-of-the-Box is more than a sequel to Freedom and Justice, Williams first civil rights documentary published in 1995 by Mercer University. It is a huge book, eleven by eleven inches, containing 320 pages and of the 486 photographs, more than 100 have never before published. All photographs are printed in duotone and 32 pages are in 4-color. It is wrapped in a beautiful dustjacket, laminated four-color hardcover, weighs nearly four pounds and reasonably priced at $60. For history, culture, and heritage, Out-of-the-Box in Dixie adds a new dimension to our understanding of the real origin of the Civil Rights Movement. less...
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Amazon Says: Orangeburg 1968 documents one of the least remembered chapters of America's Civil Rights history the Orangeburg Massacre. On February 8, 1968, over 150 students gathered on th more...
Amazon Says: Orangeburg 1968 documents one of the least remembered chapters of America's Civil Rights history the Orangeburg Massacre. On February 8, 1968, over 150 students gathered on the campus of South Carolina State University to protest the segregation policies of the town s only bowling alley. Amid escalating tensions, students protested by building a bonfire on the edge of the campus. State Highway Patrolmen fired live ammunition into the unarmed group in an attempt to end the protest. Killed were Henry Smith, Samuel Hammond, both students at South Carolina State University, and Delano Middleton, a 17-year-old Wilkinson High School student. The Orangeburg Massacre was the first incident of its kind on an American university campus but it received little national attention and almost no mention in histories of the Civil Rights Movement. In producing this outstanding volume, Sonny DuBose, author of The Road to Brown, and Cecil Williams, author-photographer of Out-of-the Box in Dixie, and Freedom and Justice, compiled interviews and photographs of living participants and observers. In addition, participants are included interviewed by Avery Research Institute College of Charleston. Williams exclusive and extraordinary photographs from this publication will also be featured in 10 seconds in Orangeburg, a PBS documentary scheduled in March 2008 and Black Magic, an ESPN program to debut in 2008. less...
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Columbia by Vennie Deas-Moore
Amazon Says: South Carolina's capital city enjoys a strong African-American presence, one that has had considerable influence on the growth and development of Columbia's commerce and cultu more...
Amazon Says: South Carolina's capital city enjoys a strong African-American presence, one that has had considerable influence on the growth and development of Columbia's commerce and culture since the city's creation in the late 1700s. The challenges of the antebellum South, Reconstruction, the Civil Rights era, and even the present have shaped a vibrant and dynamic black community, which supplies a wealth of leaders for the city, state, and nation. less...
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Amazon Says: Lower Richland County encompasses approximately 360 square miles in the heart of South Carolina's geographic center. The Wateree River cradles it to the east, and the Congaree more...
Amazon Says: Lower Richland County encompasses approximately 360 square miles in the heart of South Carolina's geographic center. The Wateree River cradles it to the east, and the Congaree River borders the south and southwest. Virginia settlers discovered this rich land over 250 years ago. They became wealthy planters and accumulated large land tracts, creating plantation systems that sustained the economy. From 1783 until 1820, cotton was the principal cash crop, and the slave population increased tremendously and played a vital role in the development of agriculture and the economy in the area. less...
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Amazon Says: Two classic collections of freedom songs by historians Guy and Candie Carawan, We Shall Overcome (1963) and Freedom is a Constant Struggle (1968), are reprinted here in a sing more...
Amazon Says: Two classic collections of freedom songs by historians Guy and Candie Carawan, We Shall Overcome (1963) and Freedom is a Constant Struggle (1968), are reprinted here in a single edition. Sing for Freedom includes a major new introduction by the editors, as well as words and music to original songs from the Civil Rights movement. The book also offers documentary photographs and scores of firsthand accounts by participants in the movement. less...
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