Our Mission

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The University of South Carolina Center for Civil Rights History & Research is the first organization dedicated to telling South Carolina’s civil rights story.

A joint initiative of the College of Arts and Sciences and University Libraries, the Center seeks to bring our civil rights history to life and inspire an informed dialogue about today’s social justice issues.

The center was founded in November 2015 with the receipt of the congressional papers of Representative James E. Clyburn, the state’s first African-American member of Congress since Reconstruction.

The Center focuses on these primary areas:

  • Engaging the community in programming to foster advocacy and action
  • Informing curriculum for K-12 and higher education
  • Serving students, educators, researchers and the community in identifying and utilizing University collections and resources that include:
    • – Irreplaceable films, photographs and recorded interviews of freedom fighters
    • – Historic letters, diaries and notes of elected officials who stood on different sides of the civil rights debate
    • – News footage and reports about everyday people who simply refused to accept the status quo

The Center relies on the materials, collections staff expertise at University Libraries, including South Caroliniana Library, Thomas Cooper Library, the Music Library, Ernest F. Hollings Special Collections Library, and collections areas Moving Image Research Collections, Digital Collections, and the Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections.