SC Archives to Host Community Screening of WILLIE: How the Descendant of Escaped Slaves Changed Hockey Forever

Registration is now open for the South Carolina debut of WILLIE, an award-winning feature length documentary about Willie O’Ree, the first black player in the National Hockey League. The film will be shown Saturday, February 15, 2020 at 1:00 pm at the SC Archives and History Center, 8301 Parklane Road in Columbia, SC. While there is no fee to attend, pre-registration is highly recommended, as seating is limited for this community event.

Willie O’Ree has been hailed as the “Jackie Robinson of Hockey” because of his remarkable playing career and his work as the NHL’s Diversity Ambassador. WILLIE covers O’Ree’s life, from his debut in the NHL in 1958 to his induction in the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2018. O’Ree’s story is also traced back to South Carolina, where his ancestor Paris escaped slavery at the height of the American Revolution. Using documents from the collections at the SC Dept. of Archives and History, WILLIE highlights O’Ree’s family history by exploring the legacy he carries on from his ancestors.

To register visit ; email [email protected]; or call Donna Foster at (803) 896-0339. Doors open at 12:30 pm, with the program beginning at 1:00 pm.

Please join the South Carolina Department of Archives and History, the South Carolina Archives and History Foundation, and the South Carolina African American Heritage Commission for the South Carolina premiere of WILLIE.

For more information about WILLIE, visit

1 Comment

  1. Linda M Strother-Lyons on February 2, 2020 at 10:39 am

    Would Love to see this but will let my folks know that are living in the Area.

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