John H. McCray Digital Collection

Portrait of John H. McCray, year unknown

By Chauna Carr

As part of the Justice For All exhibit at Hollings Library, the Center for Civil Rights History and Research at UofSC created a timeline of African Americans in South Carolina, advocating for the full rights promised to them by the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments. John H. McCray was but one of many who played an influential role in the fight for justice for African Americans in South Carolina and across the nation. McCray was the founder, editor, and publisher of the Lighthouse and Informer weekly newspaper, one of the top black newspapers of its day. He used the newspaper to launch his program for black political participation, and to advocate for racial equity and social justice.

McCray’s entire collection is digitized and available through the South Caroliniana Library. However, upon putting the exhibit materials together for Justice For All, it was discovered that the McCray collection needed some updating. As a preliminary task to the collection-wide metadata assessment underway in the Digital Collections department, Digital Collections Librarian Mēgan Oliver tasked me with cleaning up the McCray metadata. I started the project in January and am making steady progress. Keep an eye out for those improvements and more updates in the future. If you live in the area and are interested in this topic, stop by the Ernest F. Hollings Special Collections Library to see the Justice For All exhibit up until August 2. If you cannot stop by in person, visit our digital exhibit:  https://digital.library.sc.edu/exhibits/civilrights/

WORLD WAR I: Centennial Selections from University of South Carolina Libraries

By Mae Howe

Red Cross Nurse’s Album, Irvin Dept. Special Collections

To commemorate the centennial of “America’s Forgotten War,” Digital Collections has teamed up with five of the University of South Carolina’s special libraries and McKissick Museum to create a digital exhibition that features compelling photos, papers, and publications from our Great War holdings. The exhibit includes over a thousand previously digitized materials, new archival selections, and recent acquisitions from Government Information and Maps, Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, McKissick Museum, the Music Library, South Carolina Political Collections, and South Caroliniana Library.

WORLD WAR I: Centennial Selections from University of South Carolina Libraries” juxtaposes the experiences of individuals with the political climate; the home front in our beloved Palmetto State with the battlefront on foreign soil; America’s entry into the war with the Allies’ victory over the Axis Powers. In addition to liberty bond propaganda, anti-German cartoons, and patriotic sheet music, this retrospective includes the correspondence of an African-American Croix de Guerre recipient from South Carolina, the scrapbook of a Red Cross nurse serving in the main theatre of war, and the reaction of a soldier stationed in France when the “War to End All Wars” officially ceased.

Topical Sketches by Douglas G. Ward, Irvin Dept. Special Collections

This digital exhibition aligns with the United States World War I Centennial Commission’s aim to “raise awareness and give meaning to the events of a hundred years ago” and is accompanied by physical exhibits in both the Ernest F. Hollings Library and McKissick Museum. The Irvin Department of Special Collections will also host a talk by Dr. Janet Hudson, on November 14: Black Soldiers Mattered, Carolina’s Unheralded African American Soldiers of the Great War.”

The support of many persons and departments made this project possible, but special thanks goes to Mēgan Oliver, Digital Collections Librarian, for initiating and supervising the exhibition, Sarah Funk, Library Technology Services Web Manager, for designing and troubleshooting the website, and Mae Howe, Digital Collections Intern, for organizing and managing the project. This exhibition is the first of many, with future projects slated for spring, summer, and fall of 2019 on Civil Rights, Scottish Literature, and the Civil War in South Carolina. Please contact Digital Collections via digital1@mailbox.sc.edu with any questions or comments about our exhibition.