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Students help preserve the photographic past of Orangeburg

A grant from Getty Images is helping make it possible to archive the negatives and prints from the Civil Rights era.

ORANGEBURG, S.C. — Claflin students are helping to preserve the photographic history of the Civil Rights movement in Orangeburg.

The money to be able do do this came from  a grant from Getty Images.   

 Many of these photos were taken through the lens of Claflin alumni and director of Historic Preservation at the university, Cecil Williams.

“Moments in time frozen by a camera. That itself is really a historical endeavor that can’t be equal by almost any kind of other profession," said Williams. 

RELATED: Claflin University to digitize photographic history, thanks to new grant

As part of the process, the students are using Epson scanners to scan multiple film negatives and  prints of varying sizes. Then they use specialized software for basic cropping and color enhancement of the digital files.

Among the photos digitized so far  the students have found  some interesting discoveries.

“I actually found this photo of my great grandmother. She is Miss Mod Lawrence, she did a lot for Claflin. She passed in 2001," said Claflin student Zion Lawrence.

Lawrence says he's always been drawn to history and the process has brought history closer to home.

RELATED: Photographer opening civil rights photography museum in Orangeburg

“My parents talk to me about it everyday like 'it’s in your blood.' Claflin is home," he said.

Antonio King also found a photo of his cousin during this process.

“I had no idea she went to Claflin, I always thought I was the only one in my family who went to Claflin so it was a moment of joy knowing my family has also been through these gates," said King.

Once the photos are fully processed and approved by Claflin University, they will be viewable on Getty Images.

“One day, I could be someone who’s in these photographs and so someone else can carry this torch and this legacy from now on," said student Otiana Thompson.

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