African American History

Learn about the achievements of African Americans who have shaped South Carolina and American history.

Black History Month is celebrated every February to honor the achievements of African Americans who have shaped American history. Historian Carter G. Woodson hoped to raise awareness of African American's contributions to civilization by establishing Negro History Week. The event was first celebrated during a week in February 1926 that included both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass' birthdays. The week was later expanded to a month in 1976 during the United States bicentennial.

PHOTO: On March 20, 1969, Black hospital workers at the Medical College of South Carolina in Charleston went on strike to protest the firing of twelve employees and to call for higher wages and union recognition.

Within this Collection

The Charleston Hospital Strike | The World of Cecil

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The first segment of The World of Cecil: Part Two focuses on a labor strike in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1969, where hospital workers, predominantly Black women, were fighting for fair pay and...
The Orangeburg Massacre | The World of Cecil

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In the final segment of The World of Cecil: Part One, the documentary recounts events from 1968 when students from South Carolina State University, led by John Stroman, attempted to desegregate the...
Edwards v. South Carolina | The World of Cecil

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Governor Fritz Hollings opposed protests at the State Capitol in South Carolina. The pivotal Edwards vs. South Carolina case arose from a 1961 civil rights demonstration against segregation. James...
The Pink Palace | The World of Cecil

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The sixth segment delves into the historical student protest in Orangeburg, South Carolina, in 1960. The movement, inspired by the Greensboro sit-ins, featured students from Claflin and South Carolina...
Cecil and John F. Kennedy | The World of Cecil

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This chapter focuses on Cecil Williams' fascinating encounter with John F. Kennedy before he became President. When Kennedy was making an announcement at the Roosevelt Hotel, Cecil, a photographer for...
Student Protests | The World of Cecil

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Part 4 showcases the role of Orangeburg in the Civil Rights Movement and the influence of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s nonviolent resistance. Students in Orangeburg actively participated in marches...
Briggs v. Elliot | The World of Cecil

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This segment explores the early 1950s and the significant role South Carolina, particularly Clarendon County, played in the civil rights movement. It discusses Thurgood Marshall's arrival in South...