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South Carolina - Orangeburg: Cecil Williams Interviewee [Part 1]
Dent, Thomas C.
Tom Dent interviews professional photographer, videographer, and publisher Cecil Williams in Orangeburg, South Carolina. He has published a weekly Black oriented newspaper View South News since 1979. It started as a magazine. He talks about the history of his family in the Orangeburg area. His great-grandparents were of mixed Black and White heritage. Orangeburg has a large Black middle class for a town of its size, thanks to the presence of Claflin College and South Carolina State College. Benjamin Mays used to make an annual Easter speech at the South Carolina State. Williams is a 1960 graduate of Claflin and describes some of its history. He compares and contrasts Claflin with South Carolina State. The high schools were all public. Williams explains the layout of Clarendon, Orangeburg, and Calhoun counties. He attended Claflin Elementary, Dunton Memorial Elementary, Felton Middle School (part of South Carolina State), and Wilkinson High School. He reflects on the quality education he received at Wilkinson. There was very little interaction between Black people and White people in the educational system. As a photographer he was in and out of places he would not otherwise have gone. The all White trustee board at South Carolina State was not friendly to him. Williams talks about college president Benner C. Turner and his relationship with the Black community of Orangeburg. He also discusses presidents John J. Seabrook and Hubert V. Manning of Claflin College. The community and the school have a strained relationship. Some White people in the community would rather go out of state for their education than attend South Carolina State. There were multiple anti-Black organizations in Orangeburg. There are White students in the public schools. Williams recalls his childhood in the segregated South, include a line painted around the inside the public buses, separating the areas for White and Black passengers. Recreational facilities were also segregated. Williams talks about how he got into the photography profession and how he became affiliated with the NAACP through his relationship with Reverend I. DeQuincey Newman.
Recording starts and stops before recording begins at 0:00:49.
Tulane University Digital Library
Box 147, Item 12, Side 1, Tom Dent collection, Amistad Research Center at Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana
Physical rights are retained by the Amistad Research Center. Copyright is retained in accordance with U.S. copyright laws.