ORANGEBURG, SC – South Carolina State University (SCSU) commemorated the 50th Anniversary of the Orangeburg Massacre on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018, at 11 a.m. in the Smith-Hammond-Middleton Memorial Center (SHM). The University will pause to remember those martyrs whose lives were taken that February night in 1968, and those that were wounded during the most significant civil rights event in the history of the state of South Carolina.

The theme for the event is 50 Years Later: Remembering History, Inspiring Hope and Embracing Healing.

Each year since 1968, the University has held an observance to commemorate the lives of 18-year-old SC State students Henry Smith and Samuel Hammond Jr., 17-year-old high school student Delano Middleton. This often neglected and overlooked tragedy is not nearly as well known as the shootings at Kent State and Jackson State in 1970, although it had a profound effect on the Orangeburg community and surrounding area.

On Feb. 8, 1968, after three nights of escalating racial tension over efforts by students of then-SC State College and others to desegregate the local All-Star Bowling Lanes, three students were killed and at least 28 other were injured when S.C. Highway Patrolmen opened fire on a crowd of unarmed protesters at the front of campus.

This year’s venue for the commemorative anniversary will be held at the SHM Memorial Center, the physical education facility constructed in 1968 in honor of Smith, Hammond, and Middleton. There will be a program and candle lighting ceremony at SHM, followed by a reception and book signing in the IP Stanback Museum and Planetarium. The event is free and open to the public.

“The Orangeburg Massacre is an important part of the University’s history, as well as that of the region and state. We look forward to the community joining us to commemorate the 50th Anniversary as we remember those who gave their lives in name of civil liberties,” said James E. Clark, president of SC State.

Bakari Sellers served as the keynote speaker. He is the son of Cleveland Sellers who was one of those wounded in the Orangeburg Massacre and the only person convicted of any crime in connection with the Orangeburg protests. Bakari Sellers was born in 1984 and raised in Denmark, South Carolina. Sellers attended SC State’s Felton Laboratory School, graduated from the South Carolina public school system, and then enrolled at Morehouse College. While at Morehouse, he was elected Student Government Association President and served on the College’s Board of Trustees. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 2005.

After graduating from Morehouse College, Bakari Sellers attended the University of South Carolina School of Law where he graduated in 2008. He was worked for United State Congressman James Clyburn and former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin. He was one of the youngest State Representatives and the youngest black elected official in the United States at the time.

Sellers has had extensive leadership experience working for the Democratic Leadership Council, and Obama for America campaign. He is a former member of the South Carolina House of Representatives. He was elected to the House at the age of 23 in 2006 and represented the 90th District until 2014. He was a member of the South Carolina Legislative Black Caucus during his time in the general assembly. He was a candidate for Lt. Governor of South Carolina in 2014. Sellers has been an attorney with the Strom Law Firm, L.L.C. in Columbia, SC since 2007. He also serves as a CNN Political Analyst.

Sellers is the son of Dr. and Mrs. Cleveland Sellers. He is married to Ellen Rucker Carter and they have a daughter, Kai Michelle Carter.

ORANGEBURG, SC – Fifty years ago, on February 8, 1968, the Orangeburg Massacre events happened in Orangeburg, South Carolina at South Carolina State University.  HBCU Campaign Fund organization and the Office of the President and CEO, Founder Demetrius Johnson Jr., stand in commemorates with the Orangeburg community in recognizing the martyrs whose lives were taken 50 years ago on that February night in 1968, which is such a significant event in the African-American and HBCU history.

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Pictured: Henry Smith, Samuel Hammond Jr., and Delano Middleton, the three men who were killed in the 1968 Orangeburg Massacre which took place on the campus of South Carolina State University (a historically black college and university located in Orangeburg, South Carolina).

 

In the fall of 1967, some of the black leaders within the community tried to convince Harry K. Floyd, the owner of the bowling alley to allow African-Americans. Floyd was unwilling to desegregate which resulted in protests in early February 1968.

On February 6, 1968, a group of students (approximately 200) from South Carolina State University entered into the bowling alley and left peacefully after they were asked to leave by Floyd. The next night more students led by John Stroman returned and entered the bowling alley. This time, there were police waiting for them and several students were arrested including Stroman. After the arrests, more students began showing up angry, breaking a window of the bowling alley and chaos ensured. Police began beating student protesters with billy clubs. That night, eight students were sent to the hospital.

On the night of February 8, 1968, students started a bonfire in the front of South Carolina State University’s campus. As law enforcement attempted to put out the fire, Officer David Shealy was injured by a thrown object. Shortly after (around 10:30 p.m.) South Carolina Highway Patrol officers began firing into the crowd of around 150 protesters. Eight Patrol Officers fired carbines, short guns, and revolvers at the protesters, which lasted around 10 to 15 seconds in an attempt to calm the crowd. South Carolina State students Samuel E. Hammond Jr., Henry E. Smith and high school student Delano Middleton (who attended the local Wilkinson High School) were killed, along with twenty-eight people who were injured in the shooting.

OrangburgMaasacre

In the aftermath of this event, the federal government brought charged against the State patrolmen in the first federal trial of police officers for using excessive force at a campus protest. All nine defendants were acquitted although thirty-six witnesses stated that they did not hear gunfire coming from the protesters on campus before the shooting and no students were found to be carrying guns.

In a state trail in 1970, the activist Cleveland Sellers was convicted of a charged of riot related to the events on February 6 at the bowling alley. He was the national program director of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).

South Carolina State University’s gymnasium is named in the memorandum of Samuel Hammond, Delano Middleton, and Henry Smith (S-H-M Memorial Center), the three men who were killed. A monument was erected on campus in their honor, and the site has been marked.

Each year since 1968, the University has held an observance to commemorate the lives of 18-year-old SC State students Henry Smith and Samuel Hammond Jr., 17-year-old high school student Delano Middleton. This often neglected and overlooked tragedy is not nearly as well known as the shootings at Kent State and Jackson State in 1970, although it had a profound effect on the Orangeburg community and surrounding area.

ORANGEBURG, SC – On February 8, 1968, the Orangeburg Massacre took place in Orangeburg, South Carolina at South Carolina State University.

4f33662c2a5be.image
Pictured: Henry Smith, Samuel Hammond Jr., and Delano Middleton, the three men who were killed in the 1968 Orangeburg Massacre which took place on the campus of South Carolina State University (a historically black college and university located in Orangeburg, South Carolina).

In the fall of 1967, some of the black leaders within the community tried to convince Harry K. Floyd, the owner of the bowling alley to allow African-Americans. Floyd was unwilling to desegregate which resulted in protests in early February 1968.

On February 6, 1968, a group of students (approximately 200) from South Carolina State University entered into the bowling alley and left peacefully after they were asked to leave by Floyd. The next night more students led by John Stroman returned and entered the bowling alley. This time, there were police waiting for them and several students were arrested including Stroman. After the arrests, more students began showing up angry, breaking a window of the bowling alley and chaos ensured. Police began beating student protesters with billy clubs. That night, eight students were sent to the hospital.

On the night of February 8, 1968, students started a bonfire in the front of South Carolina State University’s campus. As law enforcement attempted to put out the fire, Officer David Shealy was injured by a thrown object. Shortly after (around 10:30 p.m.) South Carolina Highway Patrol officers began firing into the crowd of around 150 protesters. Eight Patrol Officers fired carbines, short guns, and revolvers at the protesters, which lasted around 10 to 15 seconds in an attempt to calm the crowd. South Carolina State students Samuel E. Hammond Jr., Henry E. Smith and high school student Delano Middleton (who attended the local Wilkinson High School) were killed, along with twenty-eight people who were injured in the shooting.

OrangburgMaasacre

 

In the aftermath of this event, the federal government brought charged against the State patrolmen in the first federal trial of police officers for using excessive force at a campus protest. All nine defendants were acquitted although thirty-six witnesses stated that they did not hear gunfire coming from the protesters on campus before the shooting and no students were found to be carrying guns.

In a state trail in 1970, the activist Cleveland Sellers was convicted of a charged of riot related to the events on February 6 at the bowling alley. He was the national program director of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).

South Carolina State University’s gymnasium is named in the memorandum of Samuel Hammond, Delano Middleton, and Henry Smith (S-H-M Memorial Center), the three men who were killed. A monument was erected on campus in their honor, and the site has been marked.

ORANGEBURG, SC – On February 8, 1968, the Orangeburg Massacre took place in Orangeburg, South Carolina at South Carolina State University.

4f33662c2a5be.image
Pictured: Henry Smith, Samuel Hammond Jr., and Delano Middleton, the three men who were killed in the 1968 Orangeburg Massacre which took place on the campus of South Carolina State University (a historically black college and university located in Orangeburg, South Carolina).

In the fall of 1967, some of the black leaders within the community tried to convince Harry K. Floyd, the owner of the bowling alley to allow African-Americans. Floyd was unwilling to desegregate which resulted in protests in early February 1968.

On February 6, 1968, a group of students (approximately 200) from South Carolina State University entered into the bowling alley and left peacefully after they were asked to leave by Floyd. The next night more students led by John Stroman returned and entered the bowling alley. This time, there were police waiting for them and several students were arrested including Stroman. After the arrests, more students began showing up angry, breaking a window of the bowling alley and chaos ensured. Police began beating student protesters with billy clubs. That night, eight students were sent to the hospital.

On the night of February 8, 1968, students started a bonfire in the front of South Carolina State University’s campus. As law enforcement attempted to put out the fire, Officer David Shealy was injured by a thrown object. Shortly after (around 10:30 p.m.) South Carolina Highway Patrol officers began firing into the crowd of around 150 protesters. Eight Patrol Officers fired carbines, short guns, and revolvers at the protesters, which lasted around 10 to 15 seconds in an attempt to calm the crowd. South Carolina State students Samuel E. Hammond Jr., Henry E. Smith and high school student Delano Middleton (who attended the local Wilkinson High School) were killed, along with twenty-eight people who were injured in the shooting.

OrangburgMaasacre

 

In the aftermath of this event, the federal government brought charged against the State patrolmen in the first federal trial of police officers for using excessive force at a campus protest. All nine defendants were acquitted although thirty-six witnesses stated that they did not hear gunfire coming from the protesters on campus before the shooting and no students were found to be carrying guns.

In a state trail in 1970, the activist Cleveland Sellers was convicted of a charged of riot related to the events on February 6 at the bowling alley. He was the national program director of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).

South Carolina State University’s gymnasium is named in the memorandum of Samuel Hammond, Delano Middleton, and Henry Smith (S-H-M Memorial Center), the three men who were killed. A monument was erected on campus in their honor, and the site has been marked.