South Carolina ETV and Public Radio’s (SCETV) new two-part documentary, The World of Cecil, highlights the life and accomplishments of one of the most influential figures in American photography and civil rights activism, Cecil J. Williams. Part one of the documentary premieres Sept. 14 at 9 p.m. on ETV-HD, with part two airing the next week on Sept. 21 at 9 p.m.
This documentary shines a light on the remarkable life and work of Williams, showcasing his profound impact in documenting South Carolina's primary and vital role in civil rights history. It traces his early days of capturing candid moments at weddings and family parties through his work as staff photographer for Claflin University and SC State College, to becoming the “unofficial” photographer for the state NAACP. Highlighting Williams’ photographic documentation, The World of Cecil gives viewers a glimpse into some of the most significant civil rights events in South Carolina and underscores Williams’ quest to have South Carolina’s contributions to the national civil rights movement recognized and acknowledged.
The World of Cecil features exclusive interviews with family members, friends, colleagues and those whose lives were forever changed by events chronicled in Williams' photographs. Through their stories and from Williams himself, viewers will gain insights into the challenges faced and the triumphs achieved as he captured the essence of a pivotal era in South Carolina's history.
Williams' photography and art have been showcased in numerous galleries across the Southeast, earning him widespread recognition and respect. His work has graced the pages of hundreds of books, newspapers, and television documentaries, serving as a testament to the timeless impact of his lens.
Amidst exploring Williams’ history as a photographer, the documentary also sheds light on Williams as a person— a man who wears many hats and has participated in numerous ventures. Whether photojournalist, publisher, inventor, architect or solar energy pioneer, Williams has always been on the cutting edge of innovation and discovery. The World of Cecil leads us through some of these surprising endeavors, including establishing his own museum.
Produced by SCETV, production funding for The World of Cecil is provided by the ETV Endowment of South Carolina. The World of Cecil was produced by SCETV journalist and broadcasting pioneer, Beryl Dakers, who has spent her professional life documenting the people, places and monumental events of South Carolina. Throughout a 50-year career, she has been instrumental in opening a series of doors previously locked to women and minorities. Enthusiastically sharing the rich cultural and social history of the Palmetto State with SCETV viewers since 1977, she has received numerous awards and recognitions for her work.
"I've always believed that photographs have the ability to change hearts and minds. My camera has been my weapon for justice, and my art has been a voice for the voiceless. I am grateful for this documentary, as it allows my story to reach new horizons and inspire others to stand up for what they believe in. More importantly, it tells the true story of many brave South Carolinians whose efforts have previously gone unnoted." –Photographer, publisher and civil rights activist Cecil Williams
"We are honored to bring the impactful story told in The World of Cecil to our audience. Cecil Williams' story is a powerful testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the transformative power of art. Through this documentary, we hope to celebrate his legacy and inspire viewers to fight for what they believe in.” –The World of Cecil Executive Producer Beryl Dakers
- The new two-part documentary, The World of Cecil, airs Sept. 14 and 21 at 9 p.m. on ETV-HD.
- The World of Cecil shines a light on the remarkable life and work of Williams, showcasing his profound impact on documenting South Carolina's civil rights movement.
- Williams' photography and art have been showcased in numerous galleries across the Southeast, earning him widespread recognition and respect.
- The World of Cecil features exclusive interviews with family members, friends and colleagues of Williams, as well as interviews with Williams himself.
- For more information about The World of Cecil visit scetv.org, and to learn more about Cecil Williams visit www.cecilwilliams.com.
About South Carolina ETV and Public Radio
South Carolina ETV and Public Radio (SCETV) is the state's public educational broadcasting network. SCETV amplifies South Carolina voices, provides educational experiences and strengthens communities, while working toward creating a stronger, more connected and informed South Carolina. In addition to airing local programs, such as Carolina Classrooms, Making It Grow, and This Week in South Carolina, SCETV also presents multiple programs to regional and national audiences, including By The River, After Action, Reconnecting Roots, Reel South, Somewhere South, Yoga in Practice and How She Rolls. In addition, SC Public Radio produces the national radio production, Chamber Music from Spoleto Festival USA.