Latest protests continue a tradition of historic demonstrations in Columbia

Latest protests continue a tradition of historic demonstrations in Columbia

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - As large protests continue around the country and here in South Carolina, one thing is clear, what’s happening right now is historic.

Many of the protests happening in the Midlands took place outside of the State House and this is not the first time those grounds have played host to these types of protests.

Back in 1961, 187 black demonstrators were arrested at the State House during a protest in support of civil rights. The case eventually making it all the way to the Supreme Court.

“They won that case, the judge ruled in favor of all those students because it infringed on their 1st and 14th Amendment rights,” said Jonathon Johnson, the project coordinator for Columbia SC 63.

Johnson says that these current protests at the State House are helping people become more aware of racial inequalities, just like the demonstration back in 1961 did.

”People are now seeing a side of the struggle for African American civil rights and minority rights all together that they did not notice before,” explained Johnson.

Johnson believes that when we look back at these protests in 50 years that we will see not only George Floyd’s name mentioned in the history books but also those of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and countless others.

”George Floyd is definitely a high profile name right now, but I don’t think we will ever forget the other names,” he said.

Johnson adds it’s important to look at the history of civil rights in our state because history can help to shape a better future

”Years down the road we are going to be talking about the great demonstrations that took place all across the country,” said Johnson. “It will become not only apart of civil rights history but a major part of American history all together.”

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