A new exhibition of works by Orangeburg-based photographer Cecil Williams, known for his images of the civil rights movement in South Carolina, will open at the Charleston County Public Library on Sunday, July 1.
The show, called “Unforgettable: Celebrating a Time of Life, Hope and Bravery,” will be on view in the lobby area of the main branch, 68 Calhoun St., through Sept. 30.
A reception and book talk attended by Williams is planned for 6 p.m. July 30. The reception is free but registration is encouraged. Go to http://bit.ly/CecilAtCCPL, or call 843-805-6904.
The exhibition coincides with the publication of Williams’ latest book, “Unforgettable.” The collection of 40 images portrays events, people and significant moments of social change from the 1950s through the 1970s. The show also will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Charleston Hospital Workers Strike (1968-69) and feature several of Williams’ images of the strike.
Williams, 80, published a photo-documentary book titled “Out of the Box in Dixie” in 2006. “Unforgettable,” released last year, is a sequel to that publication.
He began taking pictures at 9 years of age, capturing images of the plaintiffs in the important Briggs v. Elliott case. At 11, Williams met NAACP attorney Thurgood Marshall at the train station and took a picture as the great litigator prepared to step off the train to work on the Briggs case. At 14, he contributed photographs to Jet Magazine.
As a Claflin University student, Williams became the school’s official photographer, and he shot pictures for the Orangeburg chapter of the NAACP.
Among the people Williams has captured on film include Sen. John Kennedy, educator Septima Clark, the Rock Hill Nine, Burke High School graduate and architect Harvey Gantt, boxers Joe Lewis and Muhammad Ali, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and actor-singer Harry Belafonte.