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Understand SC

Understand SC: South Carolina's Civil Rights history, through the lens of Cecil Williams

A Post and Courier Podcast

  • Updated

Cecil Williams had a front-row seat to South Carolina's Civil Rights history. 

Look up photos of major events from the Civil Rights Movement, and his name will be on the photos. 

Starting in his very early teens, he captured images of iconic people and moments: Thurgood Marshall getting off a train in Charleston, protesters marching outside All-Star Bowling Lanes before the Orangeburg Massacre and hospital workers in Charleston striking for fair pay. 

Thurgood Marshall in Charleston (copy)

Thurgood Marshall arrives in Charleston for a hearing in Briggs v. Elliott. Cecil Williams captured this photo as a young teenager. Cecil Williams/Provided

In 2019, Williams opened his own Civil Rights museum in his hometown of Orangeburg. His photos fill the walls. 

He'd become frustrated after advocating for years to have a museum like that built and figured if he was going to see it happen, he probably had to do it himself. 

This week on the show, Cecil Williams reflects on his experience capturing history in real time and shares why he thinks Black South Carolinians who fought for equal rights during that era haven't been given their due in the history books.

Listen now for more.

To learn more about the Cecil Williams Museum or to take a virtual tour, visit

Post and Courier coverage celebrating Black History Month can be found at

Understand SC is a weekly podcast from The Post and Courier that draws from the reporting resources and knowledge of our newsroom to help you better understand South Carolina. This episode was hosted and edited by Emily Williams.

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Reach Emily Williams at 843-607-0894. Follow her on Twitter @emilye_williams.

Emily Williams is a business reporter at The Post and Courier, covering tourism and aerospace. She also writes the Business Headlines newsletter and co-hosts the weekly news podcast Understand SC.

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