Before 12 years of age, Cecil Williams’ camera had captured the petitioners in Clarendon County as they lit the torch of freedom. At 14, he played Arthur Ashe at Bethune-Cookman College winning three games from the soon to be world tennis champion. In 10th grade, he photographed Thurgood Marshall coming to Charleston for the Briggs case, and again one year later, speaking at Claflin. In 1955, he became the youngest-ever JET Magazine photographer. In 1960, upon being thrown out of a New York press conference, he became JFK’s favorite lensman.
At 38 years old—40 years before solar electricity became popularized—he designed a solar-operated (photovoltaic) home featured in EBONY. One year later, he designed the Envirodome, an energy-light impulsive roof-top device considered for patent by Sears. To fulfill a childhood obsession to defeat Senator Strom Thurmond—twice he ran for United States Senate. In 2015, he designed the Filmtoaster, a device now used around the world to digitize film.
Now, after a 30 year obsession to create a museum for his civil rights era collection, he's doing it! ...because; something inside so strong!
Cecil Williams South Carolina Civil Rights Museum is a non-profit 501 (c) 3 operating with strict guidelines adhering to the mission of non-profits. Cecil Williams Photography, LLC, is a for-profit business transitioning into a perfect model to share the vast image collections captured by the founder and at same time striving to operate a viable enterprise. It was within this model, the founder was able to create the museum concept solely funded from his resources. Your understanding and support will be greatly appreciated.
Being a blessing to someone is philanthropy. Born enslaved, Harriett Tubman gave freedom. Robbed of education, Catherine Ferguson started a school. After shattering ceilings, Madam C.J. Walker opened doors. With every blessing received, we pay it forward by investing in people and communities with our wealth, our work, and our wisdom.