Random Ramblings

Procrastinating the Inevitable...

Remembering Orangeburg...

By thePatrick

Consider this my return to the blogosphere. However, this isn't going to be the feel good post of the year, so those of you who are looking for some witty sarcasm, you're really going to be disappointed. I promise my next post (and I'm planning on a Monday/Wednesday/Friday schedule), will be more along the lines of what you'd expect. However, I spent a vast majority of last semester reading and writing about TODAY in history, realized that it would make an awesome Master's Thesis, and would feel a bit off if I neglected the importance of today.

I'll try to keep a Semester's worth of paper writing down and just hit the main points.

On February 8, 1968 Delano Middleton, Samuel Hammond Jr., and Henry Smith were shot and killed on the campus of South Carolina State University. 27 others were injured. All but two of the students were shot from the rear or the side. The shooting was done by members of the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division. Students were shot by law officials.

There was only one arrest made in connection with the Orangeburg Masscre. Cleveland Sellers, a representative of SNCC who was on campus trying to establish a Black Awareness group, was arrested and charged with arson, inciting a riot, assault and battery with intent to kill, destruction of personal property, damaging real property, housebreaking and grand larceny. His bail was set at $50,000, a staggering amount for the time.

Similar events, most notably the Kent State Shootings, came about after and evoked national attention, while Orangeburg was largely forgotten. One major reason: the students at Kent State were white. South Carolina State was a black university. The victims were black. In 1968, coming on the heals of the cry for Black Power, the shootings of black college students was ignored by the general public.

Every February 8 from 1969 onward, South Carolina State College (now University) has held a memorial for the slain students. This event should not be forgotten. Hammond, Middleton, and Smith are not as recognizable as Martin Luther King or Malcom X, but their story should still be told. There is an awesome documentary call "Scarred Justice: the Orangeburg Massacre 1968." My dad texted me the other day and said that it was being shown on UEN in conjunction with Black History Month. I have a copy if you want to read it. Jack Bass and Jack Nelson wrote the book on the massacre, called simply, The Orangeburg Massacre. I highly recommend it.

Sorry for the long post. Hopefully this little post will get stuck in the tubes of the interwebs so that there is my little take on Orangeburg. Thanks for making it this far. Until Wednesday...


I had never heard of this, but intend to look into it, though the resources available to me may be limited; thanks for the post. You're a credit to your chosen field.

I just came across your site and wasn't really looking for anything but glad I did, because I got a mini history lesson on something I have never heard about before. Thank you so much!

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