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CofC professor and students reflect on 50th anniversary of Civil Rights Act

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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Five presidents paid tribute to the anniversary of the Civil Rights Act Thursday.

It's been 50 years since discrimination became illegal.

"I'm an African American male with an intellectual disability. I have Asperger's," said William Farrior, III.

Farrior is a senior at the College of Charleston. He says he has strong determination, just like those during the civil rights movement. 

"Others have gone a lot further and paved the way for me to get to this point, so why should I just settle for the bottom of the barrel," said Farrior.

That momentum makes him push harder.

Farrior said, "I'm just part of a small intricate piece of helping students continue that journey."

Farrior and many other students attended a lunch-in celebrating the upcoming 60th anniversary of Brown vs. Board of Education. It's a case that opened the door for equal education.

"It tells us how far we've come but also how far we have to go," said College of Charleston assistant professor Dr. Jon Hale.

It's been 50 years since the Civil Rights Act was signed, outlawing discrimination. Hale says the act still serves a purpose in today's world. 

"African Americans, students of color are still a small minority within American public schools. Once we reach that proportional representation, we no longer need legislative support," said Hale.

Hale says the country isn't there yet.

"But right now in 2014, 50 years after the Civil Rights Act we are not at the point of proportional racial representation," said Hale.

Black students make up 6 percent of enrollment at the College of Charleston. Some of them are hoping the number will go up.

Freshman Jimmy Worthy said, "Being that 6%, it kind of affects how you see the college. If you don't see similar face, that in turn make you think do I belong here or do I transfer."

Jimmy Worthy and other students say a strong message was made the first black students to attend the college in 1967.

Freshman Joseph Edwards said, "I feel like they paved the way for students like myself. In today's world in my opinion, education is key."

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