Congressman James E. Clyburn was the featured guest speaker on Tuesday, August 6 for the conclusion of the “Justice for All: South Carolina and the American Civil Rights Movement” exhibit at the University of South Carolina’ Hollings Library.
Congressman Clyburn toured the exhibit and interjected personal recollections about the different portraits. During the tour, Congressman Clyburn said that he had the opportunity to watch SELMA with his granddaughter Sydney. He said she was on her electronic device and when she heard the explosion, the show had her attention all the way through to the end.
Rep. Clyburn said that he recently awarded thirty-five (35) $1,000 scholarships to high school students, including laptops and software packages. He said that the students are going to college to get good paying jobs. But the best value is obtained in the work that one does for free.
Later in the evening, Congressman Clyburn addressed an audience of local civil rights leaders and guests in the Lecture Hall. He said that it was nothing special about him or the other civil rights leaders.
“We were just there at that time,” Clyburn said. “Judge Matthew Perry called him his favorite witness. When persons spoke out publicly or took a stand for justice, they would lose their job or worse. My Dad was a Minister and my Mother a beautician, so our family wasn’t affected as bad as others.”
Many community greats were in attendance including former Senator Kay Patterson, Mayor Steve Benjamin, Civil Rights photographer Cecil Williams, I.S. Levy Johnson, Judge Joseph Strickland, Columbia Urban League CEO J.T. McLawhorn, Margie Hammock, Jean Hopkins, Viviane Thompson Coaxum, and Mignon Clyburn.
Dr. Bobby Donaldson, Director of the Center for Civil Rights History and Research at USC, said that the exhibit has been seen by more than 3300 people so far and will be going on tour around the state.