Unforgettable: Celebrating a Time of Life, Hope and Bravery.
An Orangeburg native, Cecil Williams started taking pictures when he was 9 years old with his brother's, hand-me-down, Brownie. As the Claflin yearbook photographer in the 1960's he honed his skills taking over 40,000 photographs of Claflin and South Carolina State College students from 1967-1969. These include his passionate documentation of the fatal Orangeburg Massacre on February 8, 1968.
As a journalistic photographer, Williams continued to chronicle South Carolina's civil rights movement for the NAACP, Jet magazine and the Associated Press. Cecil is also an accomplished writer and the author of: Out of the Box in Dixie, Freedom & Justice and co-author of,Orangeburg 1968. Notably, Mr. Williams made two unsuccessful bids for the Democratic nomination in the 1986 and 1994 senate race against Strom Thurmond.
While his photograph collection resides at Claflin Unversity, Richland Library's Walker Local and Family History Center is also a recipient of Mr. Williams' generosity. He recently donated one of his early civil rights photographs to the local history room and allowed our librarians to interview him for an oral history in 2007. He has received many recognitions and awards for his community service including Claflin University's highest honor, the Blythewood Award.
Local History Manager