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"Justice for All: South Carolina and the American Civil Rights Movement"

Free exhibit illuminates South Carolina's pivotal role in the Civil Rights Movement

A new exhibit featuring hundreds of items from the University of South Carolina’s special collections tells the story of the state’s fundamental role in the national Civil Rights Movement.

Open through August 9, 2019, “Justice for All: South Carolina and the American Civil Rights Movement” uses oral history recordings, film clips, photographs, postcards, diaries and manuscripts to highlight largely overlooked chapters in the history of the movement. “Justice for All” is the work of the Center for Civil Rights History and Research at the University of South Carolina, in partnership with the University of South Carolina Libraries and the College of Arts and Sciences, with grant funding from South Carolina Humanities.

“Students and visitors to the exhibit will be able to see how individuals and institutions in the state pushed for the movement for equal rights that brought about change in South Carolina and across the country,” said Dr. Bobby Donaldson, professor of history and the Director of the Center for Civil Rights History and Research.

“The materials cover a broad time span, from Reconstruction through the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, and range from manuscript correspondence from Coretta Scott King and Jackie Robinson, to publications from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, to telegrams sent from the Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan to Governor Robert McNair," Donaldson said. "Audio recordings from University Libraries’ Office of Oral History, including interviews with civil rights activists, and footage from the Moving Image Research Collections of demonstrations and press conferences will allow visitors to see and hear firsthand the struggles of those who pushed for equal rights and the efforts of those who worked to curtail them.”

Visitors will see items from many collections at University Libraries, including South Carolina Political Collections, Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Moving Image Research Collections, the Music Library, and South Caroliniana Library. Major themes explored in the exhibit include voting rights, educational justice and desegregation.

“Desegregation resistance is part of the Civil Rights Movement story, and the exhibit addresses that resistance with material on the Ku Klux Klan and Jim Crow Laws,” said Dr. Michael Weisenburg, Outreach Librarian in the Irvin Department and the exhibit’s facilitator. “Not everyone is on the right side of history. We need to remember that this happened, that there were those who sided against racial equality, and that we continue to fight for civil rights on many levels.”

“Justice for All” is free and open to the public through August 9, 2019, in the Ernest F. Hollings Special Collections Library on the University of South Carolina campus in Columbia. Driving and parking instructions can be found here.

A "Justice for All" digital exhibit has been created by University Libraries Digital Collections as a complement to the physical exhibit in Hollings Library. 

To arrange a tour for a special group, including K-12, contact Dr. Michael Weisenburg at weisenbu@mailbox.sc.edu.

For more information and media inquiries, contact Nicole Carrico at 803-777-2115 or carrico@mailbox.sc.edu.