Cecil Williams

Photographer and photojournalist

Cecil Williams (1937- ), from Orangeburg, South Carolina, began working as a photographer at age 9. When Williams was 11, his mentor E.C. Jones Jr. of Sumter, took him along to assist in photographing desegregation efforts in Clarendon County. During this time, Williams captured a now-famous image of attorney Thurgood Marshall arriving in Charleston to argue the Briggs v. Elliott school desegregation lawsuit. By 15, Williams was freelancing for JET magazine and other national publications, providing on-the-ground coverage of the Civil Rights movement in South Carolina. He documented the Orangeburg student movement from the 1950s through the 1960s, including the 1968 Orangeburg Massacre. He also photographed Harvey Gantt’s desegregation of Clemson University in 1963 and the 1969 Charleston hospital workers’ strike.

Image courtesy of Cecil Williams

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