The City of Columbia will be commemorating the pivotal year of 1963 when segregation began to fall in the south. This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of several seminal events of the Civil Rights struggle including Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech and the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala. In which 4 young girls died. Besides Columbia and Birmingham, other cities participating in the observance are Memphis, Tenn., Selma and Montgomery, Ala., Jackson, Miss., and Washington, D.C.
While Columbia’s story is less raw and avoided the confrontations of Alabama and Mississippi, It is, according to Mayor Steve Benjamin, compelling enough to generate the kind of tourism that draws visitors to Charleston, Birmingham and Montgomery, cities that have showcased their African-American history and civil rights struggles. In collaboration with the University of South Carolina and the Historic Columbia Foundation, “We are starting to piece together the texture of this great city.” Mayor Benjamin said.
Several events will be held to commemorate Columbia’s Civil Rights story. They are:
- The Annual Statewide Ethnic History Parade and Gospel Soiree at Martin Luther King Park at 2300 Greene Street. The event is free and will be held from 12-5 p.m. February 2. For further information, please call 803-361-5470 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Feb 3, 3 p.m: Premiere of “The Education of Harvey Gantt,” a 30-minute documentary depicting the story of Gantt’s peaceful integration of Clemson in January, 1963. Nickelodeon Theatre, 1607 Main Street, Free, email@example.com or 254-8234
- Feb 10, 2 p.m: Premiere of Waverly Neighborhood Walking Tour. Part of the Historic Columbia Foundation’s “Second Sunday Stroll” program. Meets at First Calvary Baptist Church, 1401 Pine Street. Free for Historic Columbia members &6 for adults and $3 for youth.
- Feb 12, 5:30-7 p.m:”Architecture of Segregation,” lecture by Robert “bob Gwyneth, co-director of USC’s Public History Program and the current president of the National Council on Public History. Richland County Public Library, 1413 Assembly Street, Walker Local History Room. Free and open to the public. Reservations suggested but not required. 803-252-1770 ex 24 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: The State
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