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Students participate in Civil Rights tour


On Friday, January 5, nearly 100 students and staff from Richland School District Two high schools will participate in a walking Civil Rights tour of downtown Columbia. The morning will start with a presentation at the site of the former Booker T. Washington High School before students tour the State House grounds. Next, students will learn about several sites along Main Street before meeting at one of several historically black churches downtown.

The tour is a field study of the African American Studies course offered for the first time at Ridge View, Westwood and Richland Northeast high schools. The schools have partnered with the University of South Carolina Center for Civil Rights History and Research and the Columbia SC 63 project. The African American Studies course is designed to provide students with a comprehensive overview of the African American experience beginning with Africa through modern times. In addition, the course will highlight the social, cultural and political contributions of African Americans to American society.

In particular, the Columbia SC 63 website notes that many of the stories and contributions of black South Carolinians to the civil rights movement have been lost or forgotten in the decades since.

 “We are very excited that our students have the opportunity to see and experience the rich heritage of the Civil Rights movement in our home city. It was the work of local everyday citizens in cities across the country who had to sometimes sit down to stand up for equal rights for all people,” said district Chief Diversity and Multicultural Inclusion Officer, Dr. Helen Nelson Grant. “As we remember the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. this month and prepare for Black History Month in February, it is very fitting that we take time to learn about contributions here in Columbia.”