For Columbia, SC, this undertaking was especially important and extraordinarily valuable.

In January 2012, the mayors of seven southern cities, including Columbia’s Mayor Steve Benjamin, agreed to a joint initiative recognizing and commemorating the 50th anniversary of 1963 – the height of the American Civil Rights Movement. By telling these stories in unison, the goal was to assemble a more complete record of the movement that changed America.

In the decades leading up to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Black South Carolinians waged an intense campaign for self-determination and equality. But the stories of their contributions were lost or forgotten in the decades since.

Columbia SC 63 comprised a diverse coalition of community leaders, educators, students and others. Its mission was to gather, preserve and showcase images, artifacts, and testimony to ensure that the deeper, multifaceted story of the struggle for freedom and justice in our city is told.

Today, and into the future, Columbia SC 63 will continue uncovering and celebrating Columbia’s Civil Rights story because, Our Story Matters.

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