History Lecture scheduled at Tabernacle Baptist Church

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African American Attorneys: Their Role in Developing Modern Civil Rights

The Beaufort History Museum and Beaufort County Historical Society, both celebrating their 80th anniversaries, are collaborating with the historic Tabernacle Baptist Church and Beaufort County Library to present an upcoming lecture by University of South Carolina Professor W. Lewis Burke.

The lecture titled “William J. Whipper and Jonathan Jasper Wright: Beaufort and South Carolina’s First Civil Rights Lawyers,” will take place at 6 p.m. on Feb. 7 at Tabernacle Baptist Church, 901 Craven Street. The cost is $10 for an online reservation and $15 at the door. Registration is currently open at www.BeaufortHistoryMuseum.com.

Burke’s current book, “All for Civil Rights: African American Lawyers in South Carolina 1868-1968,” will be available for purchase at a book signing and reception following his talk at the discounted price of $45. In addition, the Beaufort District Collection (BDC) of Beaufort County Library will present a slideshow of items from its holdings about lawyers William J. Whipper and Jonathan Jasper Wright, as well as about the Beaufort County Historical Society and Beaufort History Museum.

In his book, Burke writes, “The history of the black lawyer in South Carolina is one of the most significant untold stories of the long and troubled struggle for equal rights in the state.” Beginning in Reconstruction and continuing to the modern civil rights era, 168 black lawyers were admitted to the South Carolina bar. “All for Civil Rights” is the first book-length study devoted to those lawyers’ struggles and achievements in the state that had the largest black population in the country, by percentage, until 1930 — and that was a majority black state through 1920.

Burke is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of the University of South Carolina School of Law. He also wrote “At Freedom’s Door: African American Founding Fathers and Lawyers in Reconstruction South Carolina.”

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