Art+Social Justice: The Legacy of the Freedom Riders

The Gibbes Museum of Art will present “Art+Social Justice: The Legacy of the Freedom Riders,” a two-part program designed to engage members of the Charleston community in the socially-conscious work of South Carolina-born artist Charles Williams, and to spark dialogue across generations about the Freedom Rides of the Civil Rights movement. On Wednesday, November 20, 2019 there will be a panel discussion featuring artist Charles Williams with Ray Arsenault (Professor of Southern History) and Freedom Riders Ms. Catherine Burks-Brooks and Dr. Bernard LaFayette. On Thursday, November 21, the Gibbes will screen the film Freedom Riders. SC Humanities supported this programming with a Mini Grant.

Charles Williams’ exhibit SUN + LIGHT will be on display at the Gibbes Museum of Art from October 11, 2019 – February 2, 2020. SUN + LIGHT juxtaposes the artist’s contemporary personal encounters with the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. Williams attempts to strike a balance between both the peaceful and violent protests of the movement and of varied expressions of power. Learn more about the exhibit.

The panel discussion on November 20 (6:00 – 7:30 p.m.) will focus on the legacy of the Freedom Riders as one of the most effective nonviolent movements in American history, whose members risked their lives to challenge Jim Crow segregation. From May – November 1961, move than 400 riders endured beatings and imprisonment for traveling on buses and trains to test the 1960 Supreme Court ruling in Boyton v. Virginia that declared segregation in interstate bus and rail stations unconstitutional.

The PBS American Experience documentary Freedom Riders by Stanley Nelson will extend the conversation when it is screened for audiences on November 21 (12:00 – 2:00 p.m.).

The panel discussion is $20 Members, $30 Non-Members, and $10 Students/Faculty with valid ID. The documentary screening is free with museum admission. For more information or to reserve tickets, visit: .

The mission of SC Humanities is to enrich the cultural and intellectual lives of all South Carolinians. Established in 1973, this 501(c) 3 organization is governed by a volunteer 20-member Board of Directors comprised of community leaders from throughout the state. It presents and/or supports literary initiatives, lectures, exhibits, festivals, publications, oral history projects, videos and other humanities-based experiences that directly or indirectly reach more than 250,000 citizens annually.