A $100,000 contribution to the Cecil Williams Civil Rights Museum in Orangeburg has been announced with naming rights to one of the museum’s eight history galleries.
“In accordance with wishes of the donors, Kathy and Kenneth Chenault of the Ayco Charitable Foundation, the entrance foyer and gallery in the museum has been named the, ‘Briggs-Delaine-Pearson Gallery Sponsored by the Quick Family,” stated museum founder and photographer, Cecil Williams.
The Gallery, named in recognition of Harry Briggs, Sr., Rev. J.A. Delaine and Levi Pearson of Clarendon County were individuals involved in the court case, Briggs v. Elliott, credited with sparking the Civil Rights Movement, and the historic US Supreme Court decision, Brown v. Board of Education.
“This donation was a surprise and blessing,” stated Williams, who single-handedly created a history museum August 8 in Orangeburg. “The proceeds will be used to enhance facilities, acquire historic artifacts, and provide us with an unstoppable momentum. My obsession in this effort is to preserve the extraordinary contributions by South Carolinians to the Civil Rights Movement Era —to make this museum—second to none,” he stated. “Without a museum of the type I have created, the pioneering contributions and wisdom of countless minds, hearts, and lives would be lost.”
The Chenault contribution came along as a direct result of a July 4 reunion visit and tour of the Cecil Williams Museum by the Quick Family, descendants of Addison Evans Quick and Lucy Ann Allman Quick.
In the Quick Family reunion group that visited the Cecil Williams Civil Rights Museum, sat Kathy and Kenneth Chenault. Kenneth Chenault, is an American business executive formerly CEO and Chairman of American Express from 2001 until 2018. He is the third African American CEO of a Fortune 500 company.
The entire Quick family have a long-standing connection with South Carolina and Orangeburg. As recently reported in the press, the first Quicks, Addison Evans Quick and his wife, Lucy Ann Allman, came to Orangeburg in around 1909 and moved into a home near, Quicktown; an area extending off East Russell Street. Rev. Quick became Pastor of Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church located on Boulevard, in Orangeburg. During the 1960s—the peak of civil rights activism—almost all of Rev. Quick’s family participated in the movement and obtained degrees from Claflin University and SC State University.
Thanks to rising visitations and support from organizations, the newly established Cecil Williams Civil Rights Museum, the Palmetto state’s only Civil Rights Movement museum, is rapidly moving forward.
Other significant contributions made to the museum include those by: Cecil & Barbara Williams, Brenda Williams, Andre Rice, Booker T. Washington High School, Gloria Kirkland, Dr. Richard Tyler, Davis Family Reunion, Carolyn Sanders James, Anna Martin, Scotts Branch High School, Jerry Edwards, Jamari Evans, Allendale-Fairfax High School, SC Human Affairs Office, Manning High School, Claudia Brimson, Gladys Johnson, Phillip Johnson, Penn Center, Mechanicsville UMC, Thomas Douglas, Saluda High School, and Walmart Community Grants.
“Philanthropic giving from the private sector is essential lifeline for startup museums,” stated Williams. “Following a 6 months set-up period—but less than a month following a ‘gradual opening,’ — the Museum has attracted over 1,000 visitors. They have come from around the eastern United States, including five family reunion and class groups, educators, historians, students, and private citizens.”
The Cecil Williams Civil Rights Museum is a non profit, 501 (c)3 organization established to identify, preserve and exhibit the rich and diversified history, culture and heritage of South Carolinians.
The Museum is located at 1865 Lake Drive in Orangeburg, SC. It is open by appointment only. To set up an appointment, call (803)-531-1662. Learn more at cecilwilliamsmuseum.com.