Somebody Had To Do It, But What Have We Done?

The College of Charleston’s Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture and the Race and Social Justice Initiative will present a special event entitled, “Somebody Had to Do It, But What Have We Done?: Revisiting South Carolina School Desegregation.” The event will be held at the College of Charleston’s Marlene and Nathan Addlestone Library in Charleston, South Carolina, on Saturday March 10, 2018, at 1:00 p.m. SC Humanities supported this event with a Major Grant.

In remembrance of the upcoming 55-year anniversary of school desegregation in South Carolina, they are recognizing the surviving petitioners in the Brown vs. Charleston County School Board District 20 case. After the acknowledgement of the surviving members and their families, “Somebody Had to Do It: But What Have We Done” will feature a panel discussion on the impact the 1963 school integration decision had—and continues to have—on the “The First Children” of the movement and its current implications on the public school system today. Following the panel, they hope to replicate the 1963 photograph (attached) for archival purposes and to create mementos of the occasion with the updated picture.

The “Somebody Had to Do It, But What Have We Done?” event is a product of the larger Somebody Had to Do It: First Children in School Desegregation (SHTDI) project housed at the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture. This initiative was launched in 2006 as a collaborative, multi-institutional project to identify and collect oral histories from individuals who were the first Black students to integrate all-White schools during the twentieth-century civil rights movement. You can listen to these interviews via the Lowcountry Digital Library (LCDL) at and they are a part of an online exhibit at

This event is sponsored by the Avery Research Center, the Race and Social Justice Initiative, Lowcountry Digital History Initiative, South Carolina Humanities, and Starbucks. For more information or to reserve a spot on Saturday, March 10, 2018, at 1:00 p.m., please contact Daron Lee Calhoun II by email at or in the office at 843.953.7612.

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.

Image: Courtesy of Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture