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Poster exhibit celebrates Black History Month

Posted: February 25, 2014 7:27 p.m.
Updated: February 26, 2014 5:00 a.m.

This year’s Price House Commission Black History Month Exhibit focused on “Civil Rights in America,” the theme issued by the Association of the Study of African American Life, History and Culture.

“We were encouraged to reach out to the community to submit a poster with a theme in mind,” Clifton Harryton Anderson, exhibit coordinator and Price House Commission member, said.

Anderson said the commission asked local schools, fraternities, sororities and community members to contribute posters to the Black History Month exhibit.

George Jackson, retiring director of the S.C. Department of Juvenile Justice’s Kershaw County office, is a faithful exhibit attendee.

“Since I’ve been in Kershaw County, I’ve always come to this display. I think that we need to do more of this … I don’t think I have missed one year,” Jackson said.

Jackson said he remembers many of the events covered in the displays but that seeing the posters and reading about them brings back the events. He also said that he hoped that more students would come to view the posters.

“If we could get more students in here it would be very educational. It’s a great learning opportunity.” Jackson said.

A new feature of this year’s exhibit featured white members of the community recalling their experiences of Kershaw County schools being integrated. Anderson asked them to write what they could remember about integration and display it on a poster.

Dr. John L. Thompson, director of the Kershaw County School District’s Continuous Learning Center (CLC), recalled his experience of integration when he was in school.

“The parents seemed to have more anxiety about the integration than us children did -- we had been playing sports together since we were about 5 or 6 years of age,” Thompson wrote. “I was always able to get along with most people because of the way I was brought up. If you show respect to others, they will actually show respect to you.”

In her display, Renee Johnson Thompson recalled an incident when her classmate, who was black, helped her with a classroom assignment.

“(Black and white) students helping each other out made the transition into integration much smoother for everyone” Thompson wrote.

J. Coke Goodwin wrote about his experience as Camden High School’s (CHS) principal during integration.

“Camden High School was proud of the fact that it did not lose a single minute of instruction time because of racial disturbances,” Goodwin wrote.

Both Goodwin and Thompson also wrote that other places in the nation had a more difficult time with integration. That fact was illustrated in a display where a woman recalled in a newspaper article how her classmates would not speak to her or touch her throughout her years of high school.

Other displays at the exhibit featured Civil Rights leaders Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife, Coretta Scott King; the Eta Phi Beta sorority; activist Angela Davis; Ruby Bridges; Dorothy Height; Ralph Abernathy; Sarah Collins Rudolph; and Civil Rights icon Rosa Parks.

The Price House Commission conferred awards on several displays. On the middle school level, a Lugoff-Elgin Middle School student’s display titled “Rosa Parks timeline, important events of the course of her lifetime received first place; second place went to a Camden Middle School Display on Ruby Bridges; third place to a Leslie Stover Middle School display on Dorothy Height.

A CLC student’s display on the Birmingham church bombing earned first place on the high school level; a CHS student’s display on Civil Rights law passage before 1964 earned second place.

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