Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- This year marks the 50th anniversery of the Edwards v. South Carolina decision. Almost 200 students were arrested while peacefully marching.
"They wanted to demonstrate that something is wrong with this system and they are there to do something about it," said Civil Rights photographer Cecil Williams.
SC63 is marking the importance of the student impact on the civil rights movement. Students from mostly Allen and Benedict staged sit ins and marches because of simple rights denied to them back in 1963.
"You get hungry and you go over to the lunch counter and says, 'I'm sorry, we don't serve your kind here,'" Congressman Jim Clyburn said.
Students around the state wanted to be a part of the movement just like their other southern student counterparts. But they knew it would be a long journey in the fight for Civil Rights. And with just a few steps to the Statehouse they landed in trouble.
"There were many police officers who knew what they were doing were wrong. You could see it in their eyes," Clyburn said. "They would rough kids up."
Clyburn was one of 187 students arrested for "disturbing the peace." And another student who was there, James Edwards, took it to court. Clyburn says he never thought this would go down in the history books.
"I never focused on the Edwards case until 11 years after it had been decided," he said. "The teacher started describing what went on and I said, 'Wait a minute, I was there.'"
And while Clyburn and others would make their mark by being arrested for marching and sit ins, the man behind the lens was just as part of the movement.
"I was arrested twice. Police authorities saw no difference of me being a person with a camera than one of the marchers or protesters. So in fact I was an eye witness, participant and it was no different," Williams said.
50 years has passed since Edwards v. South Carolina and participants in the civil rights movement can still proudly sing "we shall not be moved."
SC63 is a regional effort with other states to remember the Civil Rights Movement. They plan to organize more events in the coming months.