On Monday, November 6, Benedict College, Columbia SC 63, and the USC Center for Civil Rights History will host a panel discussion focused on the history of student activism in the 1960s.
The program, moderated by Dr. Bobby Donaldson, will take at 6:00 PM in Benedict’s historic Antisdel Chapel.
The panelists include Constance Curry, Charles McDew, Annie Hackett Ritter, and Cleveland Sellers, Jr.
Constance Curry was one of the first adult advisors for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Through her role in the National Student Association’s Southern Student Human Relations Project. Curry provided support to SNCC, including serving as an observer for sit-in demonstrations. She was present in Rock Hill, South Carolina for the Jail No Bail campaign. She later worked with the American Friends Service Committee, advocating for school desegregation in Mississippi.
Charles McDew served as one of the founding members of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, as well as its second chairman. During his tenure, SNCC organizers led the way in desegregation and voter registration efforts in the deep South. McDew attended South Carolina State University, and he led several demonstrations and marches in Orangeburg and Columbia, including a March 2, 1961 protest at the South Carolina Statehouse. He is a retired professor from Metropolitan State University in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Annie Hackett Ritter is a native of Spartanburg, South Carolina. She completed her undergraduate degree with honors from Benedict College in 1961. Involved in a number of Columbia demonstrations and sit-ins, Ritter represented Benedict at the inaugural meeting of SNCC in Raleigh, North Carolina in 1960.
Cleveland Sellers, Jr. is a South Carolina native who became active in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee while a student at Howard University. Sellers worked to register voters in Mississippi and became the program director of SNCC in 1965. Injured during the 1968 Orangeburg Massacre, Sellers was charged and convicted of starting a riot. Later, he earned his Ed.D. from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and served as the head of the African American Studies program at the University of South Carolina and the President of Voorhees College.
In addition to first hand accounts, historic documents, photographs and moving image footage from events across South Carolina will be on display.
The public is invited to come and learn.