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Posted on: October 6, 2023

Civil rights exhibit opens at Southern Georgetown Library

Two men and two women pose smiling in front of a banner that is part of the exhibit

The Georgetown County Library’s Southern Georgetown Branch will host a traveling civil rights exhibit this fall. Titled “Justice for All,” the exhibit is from the University of South Carolina’s Center for Civil Rights History and Research, and will be on display from Oct. 7 through mid-December. 

It will be the exhibit’s final stop on a two-year tour that took it to Columbia, Sumter, Orangeburg, Hartsville, Spartanburg and Beaufort.

“This exhibit symbolizes South Carolina’s pivotal role in the civil rights movement of the mid-20th Century,” said Dwight McInvaill, Georgetown County Library Director. “We appreciate the care that Professor Bobby Donaldson, Graduate Assistant Jill Found, and University of South Carolina Archivists have undertaken in compiling and sharing this incredible display based on key resources that communicate to us so clearly the importance and value of this pivotal time in America’s continuing journey toward equality and justice.”

The exhibit highlights some of South Carolina's largely overlooked chapters in the national civil rights movement. It uses panels, oral histories, news film footage, photos, postcards, newspapers, letters and more to teach about that transformational period in history.

Georgetown County was selected for the tour due to a letter McInvaill wrote as part of a grant application to fund the traveling exhibit.

“When we launched a two-year state tour, we agreed that Georgetown would be our final location, our capstone visit. Now, that time has arrived,” said  Bobby Donaldson, Ph.D., a history professor and executive director for the center. “With the exhibition and an array of programming, we are thrilled to introduce the community to The Lowcountry's rich civil rights history—from the nation’s first African-American Congressman Joseph H. Rainey, to USC trustee James A. Bowley during Reconstruction, to the NAACP state conference in 1947, and to the student movement sit-ins and freedom rides. There is much to document and discuss in the Georgetown area.”

Library Branch Manager Sharea Drayton said she was delighted when she found out the Southern Georgetown branch would host the exhibit. She hopes the community will take advantage of the opportunity to view it.

“It serves as a reminder of a time that was not so long ago, but also how far we have come,” she said. 

Once it opens Oct. 7, the exhibit will be available to view Mondays through Thursdays from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. and Saturdays from noon until 3 p.m. There will be a special opening day drop-in event with guided tours, as well as other public programs throughout the display. There is no cost to see the exhibit or participate in library programs connected with the exhibit.

The library is located at 4187 Powell Rd, in the Sampit community.

“Justice for All” was designed with groups and students in mind. Traveling trunks with materials and lesson plans for students are available by request. For information about traveling trunks or our other initiatives such as oral history interviews, please email the Center at The traveling exhibition is based on the 2019 archival exhibition “Justice for All,” which the Center created collaboratively with South Carolina Humanities, the University of South Carolina Libraries, and the College of Arts and Sciences. The traveling version is supported with funding from the Williams Companies as part of a $1.5 million gift and by the South Carolina Humanities and Central Carolina Community Foundation. For more information, visit

Upcoming programs tying in with the Justice For All exhibit

  •   Oct. 11 at 3 p.m.: Award-winning columnist and prolific author Steve Williams explores significant contributions to the Civil Rights Movement in Georgetown County history. 
  • Oct. 25 at 3 p.m.: Award-winning journalist and national columnist Claudia Smith Brinson will present on a powerful episode in the S.C. Civil Rights struggle: “400 Black Women and a Union: The 1969 Charleston Hospital Strike.” 
  • Nov. 16 at 11 a.m.: Mari N. Crabtree, Ph.D., Associate Professor of African American Studies at the College of Charleston, will talk about “Lynching’s Legacies in the U.S. South.” 
  • Dec. 7 at 3 p.m.: Bobby J. Donaldson, Ph.D., will discuss fascinating elements of the Movement in South Carolina, drawn from the exhibit. Dr. Donaldson is Associate Professor of History and Director of the Center for Civil Rights History and Research at the University of South Carolina, where his scholarship focuses on Southern history as well as African American life and culture. 

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