ORANGEBURG, S.C. — Legendary photographer Cecil Williams is opening a new civil rights photography museum in Orangeburg.
“Photography has been my life,” says Williams, who to date has taken nearly a half a million pictures since he started snapping photos in his early childhood.
Many of those photographs will be on display in the new 5,000 square foot civil rights photography museum.
Williams says, “In my lifetime I wanted to see this happen so just recently I decided that I would do it myself because so many people that participated have gone unnoticed by the history books and there is no place preserving what they did.”
Williams describes his life by saying that through photography he’s had a front row to seat to history.
He’s published five books worth of photography during the civil right era and has photographed every president since Eisenhower but this museum will be more than just images of those well known figures.
Williams says, “There are thousands of people who are nameless and who really contributed to creating the things that we really enjoy today like freedom, justice and equality.”
Walking through the facility that is still under construction, Williams talks about the names of civil rights activist from South Carolina that don’t get a lot of attention.
“Here we have Septima Clark, during Martin Luther King’s time he referred to her as the mother of the Civil Rights movement she’s from Charleston, South Carolina," he explains. "History says it’s Rosa Parks but who did he take with him when he won the Nobel peace prize, that was Septima Clark.”
Williams goes on to say, “I am just driven by the fact that so many people go unknown, so many people who need to be remembered so that their deeds won’t go unknown for history “
The museum is slated to open in May of this year.