University to Launch Lecture Series on African-American History in the Palmetto State

January 21, 2009

COLUMBIA, SC – January 21, 2009 – The University of South Carolina will launch a new lecture series beginning Tuesday, Jan. 27, that will explore South Carolina’s African-American history.

Lectures will take place from 6 – 7:30 p.m. each Tuesday through March 10 in the auditorium of the South Carolina Archives and History Center, located on 8301 Parkland Road off I-277 north.

Led by university historian Dr. Bobby Donaldson, the series, titled “Bearing Witness: Documenting African American History in the Palmetto State,” will explore the state’s African-American history through an array of documentary materials and through the lives of public figures such as Robert Smalls, Modjeska Simkins and the Rev. J.A. DeLaine.

“This series affords us a unique opportunity to discuss, document and preserve critical chapters in the history of African Americans and the state of South Carolina,” Donaldson said. “As neighborhoods change and people grow older, there’s an urgent mandate to chronicle fading memories and to capture images of the past. Our goal is to broaden the public’s knowledge about African-American life and culture in South Carolina. We’ll highlight ongoing documentary efforts across the state and make people aware of the historical value of their photographs, books and other material.”

The series is open to the public and costs $45 per person. Space is limited, so early registration is encouraged. To register, send a check, payable to USC Educational Foundation, to Bearing Witness, department of history, Gambrell Hall, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208. Call 803-777-5195 for more information.

“The ‘Bearing Witness’ series will cover the events and people that are essential for a full understanding of modern South Carolina history,” said Dr. Lacy Ford, chairman of the university’s history department. “Prof. Bobby Donaldson is both an authority on the subject matter and an inspiring teacher.”

Donaldson teaches history and African-American studies at the university and is a former W.E.B. DuBois Fellow at Harvard University. His research and writing focuses on America’s intellectual history, civil-rights organizing and African-American documentary history. He has worked as an archivist and consultant for documentary films, museum exhibitions and historic-preservation projects in Columbia and throughout the South.

The series is offered by the department of history in the College of Arts and Sciences. For more information on the series, visit the department of history Web site at