University of South Carolina Partners With the National Park Service on Civil Rights History

The Center for Civil Rights History and Research at the University of South Carolina is partnering with the National Park Service to enhance the center’s work to better relate the history of the civil rights movement in the state.

Under a five-year agreement with the park service, the center will expand its existing work in civil rights education and scholarly research, including support for exhibits and programming at South Carolina sites in the African American Civil Rights Network. The center will help to grow the network in South Carolina by serving as a resource to property owners, community leaders, and organizations interested in joining the network.

Congress created the African American Civil Rights Network in 2017 to present a comprehensive narrative of the people, places, and events associated with the civil rights movement in the United States. The network encompasses historic sites, museums, libraries, and interpretive programs to commemorate, honor, and understand the history, significance, and ongoing relevance of the movement.

The partnership will help the center preserve and grow collections, including new oral histories; train K-12 teachers; create and host public programs; and develop exhibits that chronicle the history of the civil rights movement in South Carolina and the United States.

Bobby J. Donaldson, an associate professor of history at the University of South Carolina and the executive director of the university’s Center for Civil Rights History and Research, said the National Park Service partnership will enable the university to preserve important archival collections and make them accessible to the public. “This cooperative agreement and partnership are transformative for our university,” Dr. Donaldson said. “The National Park Service is the leading public history entity in the United States, and our collaboration enables the center to document the history of the civil rights movement in South Carolina and across the country. This partnership will expand our staff capacity and provide the center with additional resources to assist historic sites, museums, archives, and educational institutions across the South.”

Dr. Donaldson is a graduate of Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, where he majored in history and African American studies. He holds a Ph.D. in American history from Emory University in Atlanta.

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