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Carolina Stories: African American History

February 3, 2020 - Posted in Culture by Ty Moody
students participating in student sit-in

This month we want to highlight African American history and South Carolinians who have left a lasting legacy on the palmetto state. Click the links or players below to watch the documentaries.

A True Likeness

"A True Likeness" tells the story of a little-known African-American photographer from South Carolina whose posthumous discovery transcended stereotypes and brought to light a significant legacy. Richard Samuel Roberts is heralded as one of the south's most accomplished photographers of the 1920's and 1930's.

Beyond Barbados: The Carolina Connection

Sometimes the history of a place begins elsewhere and the colony of South Carolina actually began somewhere else, almost two thousand miles across the sea. The settlement of Charles Towne that would grow into the colony of South Carolina owes its origins and success to a tiny island in the West Indies that most of us know nothing about.

Born to Rebel, Driven to Excel

In this film biography of South Carolinian Dr. Benjamin Mays, Andrew Young says it this way: “If there hadn’t been a Benjamin Mays, there wouldn’t have been a Martin Luther King, Jr.” The legacy of this South Carolina native is explored in the film, Born to Rebel, Driven to Excel from South Carolina ETV.

Charlie's Place

"Charlie’s Place," tells the story of an African American nightclub in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina that was a significant stop on the Chitlin’ Circuit in the segregated South. The owner, Charlie Fitzgerald, welcomed blacks and whites to his club. From the 1930s to the 1960s, many of the greatest black musicians played there, including Billie Holiday, Ray Charles, Ruth Brown and Little Richard.

Dizzy Gillespie: From the Be to the Bop

Much of America's blues and jazz influences are deeply rooted in the rhythms and melodies of the rural South. One artist who has greatly contributed to these genres' continued popularity is South Carolina's own John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie. Noted as one of the greatest jazz trumpeters of all time, Gillespie's complex style and compositions were difficult to copy.

The Education of Harvey Gantt

In 1960, a talented African-American student from Charleston, Harvey Gantt, graduated from high school and decided to become an architect. Clemson College was the only school in South Carolina that offered a degree in his chosen field. In January of 1963, with the help of NAACP lawyer Matthew J. Perry, Gantt won a lawsuit against Clemson and was peacefully admitted to the college.

Jail No Bail

This 30-minute long broadcast pays tribute to the 50th anniversary of the sit-in that introduced a new protest strategy and turned the tables on the establishment, while at the same time reinvigorating the Civil Rights movement nationally. The program also honors the Friendship Nine and the bold stand the men took in the face of extreme injustice.

About Carolina Stories

Carolina Stories are documentaries that highlight the rich cultural and historical landscape that is South Carolina. From the Upstate to the Lowcountry, the stories are as geographically diverse as their subject matter and they are all produced by SCETV.

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