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Behind the Hugine Family Portrait

The Hugine Family Portrait
December 15, 2021

Behind the Hugine Family Portrait

Several people have asked about the striking Hugine family portrait that graced Christmas cards sent to Normalites and other friends throughout the country.  According to First Lady Abbiegail Hugine, the portrait was taken by world-famous photographer Cecil J. Williams. 

PhotographerA native of Orangeburg, South Carolina, Williams began taking photos at age 9, primarily of people dressed in their Sunday finest.  He later began photographing various desegregation efforts in South Carolina dating back to the 1950s. 

At age 14, he became one of 25 photographers freelancing for JET magazine.  He later would become one of the favorite photographers of the then-campaigning John F. Kennedy.  His 1969 photo of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s widow, Coretta Scott King, made the cover.  Fifty years and many milestones later, Williams opened the Cecil Williams South Carolina Civil Rights Museum in 2019.

Williams took Mrs. Hugine’s official wedding portrait 49 years ago, the official wedding portrait for her daughter Akilah 11 years ago, and the official portrait of Dr. Hugine when served as ninth president of South Carolina State University.

Photographer Williams and his wife Barbara still live in Orangeburg, S.C.