2008-02-08 / News

Orangeburg Massacre of 1968

Photo by Bill Barlet Photography A student is loaded onto gurney next to the bonfire, after highway patrolmen opened fire into a crowd of protesters on the S.C. State College campus in Orangeburg, S.C. on 02-08-1968. Photo by Bill Barlet Photography A student is loaded onto gurney next to the bonfire, after highway patrolmen opened fire into a crowd of protesters on the S.C. State College campus in Orangeburg, S.C. on 02-08-1968. Survivors, victims' families, college students, and the Orangeburg community of S.C. will congregated on the campus of South Carolina State University February 8 to observe the 40th anniversary of the infamous Orangeburg Massacre.

The February 8, 1968, incident resulted in the killing of three students and the serious wounding of 28 others by state police following student unrest related to picketing at the still- segregated All Star Bowling Lanes.

This year's "Truth and Reconciliation" program will be held in the Martin Luther King Jr. Auditorium at S.C. State University at 11 am on Friday.

On the day before, however, on Thursday, February 7, a group of S.C. State University students organized by student government president Jeremy Rogers reenacted the nonviolent student demonstrations that preceded the 1968 shooting. At 3 pm, students "picketed" the now- vacant All Star Bowling Lanes on Russell Street in Orangeburg and then moved to the SCSU campus to continue the mock protest in front of Washington Dining Hall. The demonstration concluded at Mitchell Hall Field with a 5:30 pm bonfire discussion of the Orangeburg Massacre led by Dr. Cleveland Sellers, a survivor of the 1968 shooting.

On Friday morning, NBC News anchorman Tom Brokaw began the ceremony with a videotaped message. Brokaw has highlighted the significance of the 1968 shootings in his book Boom! and in his recent documentary, 1968, on the History Channel.

The program included remarks by former Gov. Jim Hodges, Orangeburg Mayor Paul Miller, and presidents of S.C. State and Claflin universities, Leonard McIntyre and Henry Tisdale. The S.C. State University concert choir performed musical selections, and the University drum corps led a procession to the slain students' monument, where flames were lit.

The Honorable Ernest Finney Jr., former Chief Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court, moderated the program, and the featured speaker was civil rights activist, Orangeburg Massacre survivor and USC professor Dr. Cleveland Sellers.

See the website www.orangeburgmassacre1968. com for the latest event program, directions to the ceremony, a historical summary and media resources including hi-res images and personal contacts for advance coverage.

Henry Smith, 18; Samuel Hammond, 18; and Delano Middleton, 17 were killed during the infamous Orangeburg Massacre February 8, 1968 at the All Star Bowling Lanes in Orangeburg, S.C. Henry Smith, 18; Samuel Hammond, 18; and Delano Middleton, 17 were killed during the infamous Orangeburg Massacre February 8, 1968 at the All Star Bowling Lanes in Orangeburg, S.C.

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