The Historical Briggs Family Bible, one of the most coveted artifacts of the civil rights movement era, has been placed in the Cecil Williams Civil Rights Museum by members of the Briggs family, of Summerton (Clarendon County), South Carolina.

The Sunday, September 8th invitation-only dedication, was attended by more than ten of the top historians in the Palmetto State, members of the Briggs family, and state, county, and political officials.

Nathaniel Briggs, and Catherine Eliza Briggs Smith, son and daughter of Harry Briggs, Sr., original petitioner in the Briggs v. Elliott school desegregation case, were on hand to make the presentation.

“The Museum you have created is a remarkable achievement and the acquisition of the Briggs Bible (and the clock) are just amazing accomplishments of major importance and I hope it will bring attention to the SC's leading role in the Civil Rights movement,” stated, Dr. Vernon Burton, Clemson University, professor of history. “What I feel when I contemplate what the Briggs family and other plaintiffs had to undergo in Briggs v. Elliott, I know that civil rights are a moral immensity of right over wrong. The Bible presented on September 8 to Cecil Williams’ South Carolina Civil Rights Museum exemplifies that goodness.”

“For over four decades, museums all over the country have been seeking the Historic Briggs Family Bible, but now, it is available for all to see,” stated Cecil Williams, founder of the first museum in the state centering on the civil rights movement. “I am also asking the public to consider donating historically significant artifacts from the era of the South Carolina civil rights movement to the museum.”

Briggs Bible

Pictured (left to right):  Angela Laverne Smith, Nathaniel Briggs, Catherine Eliza Briggs Smith and Cecil Williams

The Cecil Williams Civil Rights Museum in Orangeburg, featuring, “The South Carolina Events That Changed America,” recently opened by appointment for visitors and tours. The ultra-modern, minimalist styled facility displays 35 historically significant exhibits consisting of 500 photographs and over 200 artifacts.

The Cecil Williams Civil Rights Museum consist of eight major exhibit areas; such as, The Matthew Perry Media Center, named in honor of the late U.S. District Judge; a yet to be named outdoor Pavilion, and a commemoration gallery in honor of the heroes of the Orangeburg Massacre.

The museum is located at 1865 Lake Drive in Orangeburg, SC. It opens Saturdays at 10 a.m., Sunday at 3 p.m., and weekdays by appointment only. To set up an appointment, call (803) 531-1662. Learn more at

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