Preserving Orangeburg’s Photographic History |

A grant from Getty Images helps archive negatives and prints from the Civil Rights era.

ORANGEBURG, SC – Claflin students help preserve the photographic history of the civil rights movement in Orangeburg.

The money to be able to do this came from a grant from Getty Images.

Many of these photos were taken through the lens of Claflin alumni and director of historic preservation at the university, Cecil Williams.

“Moments frozen by a camera. That in itself is truly a landmark undertaking that can’t be matched by almost any other profession,” Williams said.

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As part of the process, students use Epson scanners to scan multiple film negatives and prints of varying sizes. Then they use specialized software for basic cropping and color enhancement of digital files.

Among the photos scanned so far, the students have found some interesting finds.

“Actually, I found this photo of my great-grandmother. She’s Miss Mod Lawrence, she’s done a lot for Claflin. She passed away in 2001,” Claflin student Zion Lawrence said.

Lawrence says he has always been drawn to history and the process has brought history closer to home.

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“My parents talk to me about it every day like ‘it’s in your blood.’ Claflin is at home,” he said.

Antonio King also found a photo of his cousin during this process.

“I had no idea she went to Claflin, I always thought I was the only one in my family going to Claflin, so it was a joyful moment to know that my family went through those too. doors,” King said.

Once the photos are fully processed and approved by Claflin University, they will be viewable on Getty Images.

“One day I could be someone in these photos and now someone else can carry this torch and this legacy,” said student Otiana Thompson.

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