“Justice for All” exhibit in Beaufort

The traveling exhibit “Justice for All: South Carolina and the American Civil Rights Movement,” created by the Center for Civil Rights History and Research at the University of South Carolina, will be on display in Beaufort at the Reconstruction Era National Park from July 10 – September 30, 2023. SC Humanities supported the traveling exhibit with a Major Grant.

The “Justice for All” traveling exhibit highlights some of South Carolina’s largely overlooked chapters in the national Civil Rights Movement, such as when Sarah Mae Fleming was ejected from a bus in downtown Columbia in 1954 for sitting in the whites’ only section and the Citizenship School opened by Esau Jenkins, Septima Clark, and Bernice Robinson on Johns Island in 1957. The exhibit shares about the roots of the movement, education, public demonstrations, public segregation, voting rights, economic rights, and the legacy of the movement.

“Students and visitors to the exhibit will learn about individuals and institutions who struggled for and demanded racial justice in South Carolina and across the country,” said Dr. Bobby Donaldson, professor of history and the Executive 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 will allow visitors to see firsthand the struggles of those who pushed for equal rights and the efforts of those who worked to curtail them.”

Comprised of interpretive panels; video, audio, and interactive elements; reproductions and images of items in University collections; and artifacts, the “Justice for All” traveling exhibit will allow more South Carolinians to learn about the Civil Rights history of our state and to make specific and local connections to those stories. Additionally, the traveling exhibition was designed with groups and students in mind. Traveling trunks with materials and lesson plans for students are available. Groups may request a guided tour or a traveling trunk by emailing the Center, sccivilrights@sc.edu. In addition to funding from SC Humanities, this exhibit received support from the Central Carolina Community Foundation and the Williams Company.

“Justice for All: South Carolina and the American Civil Rights Movement” will be on display at the Reconstruction Era National Park (Darrah Hall) from July 10 – September 30, 2023. The library is located at 24 Penn Center Circle West, St. Helena Island, SC 29920. It is open during park hours – Tuesday – Saturday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

On September 30, the Center for Civil Rights History and Research will be holding an event in Beaufort, Eyewitnesses to the Movement: The Lowcountry and the Civil Rights Movement. Join us for a closing drop-in tour of the Justice for All Exhibit at Darrah Hall from 11-2, prior to the event. Following the open house, join us for a conversation and reception with veterans of the Civil Rights Movement in the Lowcountry of South Carolina. Panelists include Rodney Hurst, Oveta Glover, and Millicent Brown. Learn how their resilience, tenacity, and determination changed and continue to change the world. Follow the Center on social media (Facebook: @uofscccrc; Instagram: @civilrightscenter) for more information!

There will be a special program on Saturday, August 19: “Dr. Andrew Billingsley Book Launch and Reception” at 4:00 p.m. at the Tabernacle Baptist Church (901 Craven Street, Beaufort). Join the Center for Civil Rights History and Research and USC Press for a book signing and reception with Dr. Andrew Billingsley to celebrate the release of a new paperback edition of his classic biography of Robert Smalls, Yearning To Breathe Free, which tells the thrilling story of Smalls’ self-emancipation during the Civil War and its effect on his life and future generations.

The “Justice for All” traveling exhibit is available to travel to other cultural organizations and public venues in South Carolina in 2024. For more information about this opportunity, contact the Center for Civil Rights History and Research at the University of South Carolina at 803-777-2220 or sccivilrights@sc.edu.

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 21-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. South Carolina Humanities receives funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities as well as corporate, foundation and individual donors. The National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy demands wisdom.

Image courtesy of the Center for Civil Rights History and Research at the University of South Carolina