The Forgotten Orangeburg South Carolina Israelite Massacre





for a while I was having nightmares and

well wake up at night Holland

hit the bronchi tell us there's a time

and everybody said I would think when

you just say I'm gonna do I gotta do

because something has to change all the

way through school from kindergarten to

high school was never mentioned during

history class it's ignored it's as if it

never never happened I'd covered a lot

of violence we saw violence in

demonstrations we saw violence in Selma

but nothing prepared us for what

happened in Orangeburg it just was a

thunderstorm they rose and fell in the

civil rights movement in the course of

about three days we feel that there was

this outsider that came in that took

control of the group and because of that

because of land Orangeburg had its

incident it was kept i said i said i

mean local people don't even know what

happened those in power I'm going to do

all that they can to assure that things

remain the same


the 60s Orangeburg was just a good old

southern country town white man on the

street at that time was pretty far

removed from integration issues in South

Carolina not much had been done at all

it was a Jim Crow town it's like so many

others in the south in the rural

community of Orangeburg black people

were in the majority but White's held

all the power from City Hall to the

police to the stores downtown

it was distinctive in that it had two

black universities in the town Claflin

College and South Carolina State College

two black colleges side-by-side just

five minutes from downtown gave

Orangeburg and educated black middle

class we wanted to participate in the

American dream for us that translated

into positions such as teachers

physicians but we wanted to be a part of

mainstream America we couldn't hardly go


you don't mean I mean it's just that

they gave us hell everywhere we went

police gonna mess with you then you had

people coming by hot and all kind of

names and stuff like that it was just

real rough down here as far as black

people especially students


students and orange Berg's black

community mounted repeated protests by

1968 they had desegregated all of the

town's public accommodations but three

the hospital doctors offices and Harry

Floyd's bowling alley just a few blocks

from the college's


one night I was in my room and this

fella knock on the door nito introduced

herself his his name was James Davis

then he told me his problem they say

well man I've been in Vietnam I've been

an army for eight years and I went down

to that bowling alley the man won't let

me bow

he said well um my hand we got to do

something that's what man right now my

thing is he graduated so I'll see you

later when I got home I spent my

Christmas break going to bowling Alice

and I spoke to the white man there and

he told me if he got lunch counters so

he can't tell you you can't come in and

he's because I didn't want to integrate

my place he said but um he got the

legend so john strowman organized the



was a small group of us that went down

to the bowling alley not an intimidating

group what we were told was that this is

a private facility why have you not

permitted Negroes to bowl that you're

bowling out of here in Orangeburg

because I have my own customers that

passion Azmi 52 weeks a year they

support me here and in the era

I need no other business so the chief of

police came and he told us you know best

thing for me to do is close it and I

said well okay if you did everybody

leave we'll leave too we were not able

to enter the bowling alley at night so

we went back to the campus over the next

three days what had begun as a small

demonstration would become one of the

most violent yet little-known events of

the civil rights movement


on the campus there was a rumor that had

gone around throughout the community

that something was taking place at the

bowling alley

had you heard about it the bowling alley

had been a sore point in Orangeburg for

years they'd been protest about the

bowling alley going back several years

earlier there were attempts to

desegregate we just kind of knew the

history of the whole analysis that there

at one point had been a white only sign

up there that Tuesday we decided was

going back to the bowling alley

we looked behind us and there was this

tremendous crowd that we didn't really

expect to be there but they were there

we'd call ourself being slick Mesa will

be used to back interest this tab got

into the bowling alley but we got in it

was loaded with policemen

usually we would know pretty much what

was going to transpire and their method

was to someone get arrested so that they

could challenge it in the law in court

he talked to the students and he ready

to be ready to leave

fire truck pull up they bought back

members waterholes being put on you and

everything else


the crowd now 300 strong knew that fire

hoses had been used before to blast

Orangeburg students so in defiance they

lit matches and taunted the police they

became a little more belligerent began

to curse and to talk louder I felt that

they were becoming more comfortable that

they had the upper hand that they were

more people there than there were law

enforcement and that and they were

taking an advantage of that and all of a

sudden we heard a window broke there was

a big plate with me and that happened

they started hitting students upside the

head beat them up side hit sticks one of

our classmates named Stenhouse they'd

bust his head wide open I mean his head

bust open they were picking up things

and throwing them and as well as the

police were hitting and swinging in the

chaos one demonstrator threw a liquid at

an officer's eyes severely injuring him

I thought I beaten one girl - hell no I

never beat her and she had an earring

there they pull that out

even as a child always thought a billy

club was a just piece of wood but I mean

it was still rots inside of those sticks

and I remember feeling this just a pain

when they were beating me it was almost

like they were trying to teach me a

lesson or something


there was no weapons or expand on

anything of that nature the young ladies

were beaten and his missus where they

became very very fiercely angry about

the whole letter everything that was

owned by white folks on a way from the

bowling alley students destroyed Eastern

motors was a local EMC dealer on the

corner the brand-new cars they told era

we were somewhat short-handed we failed

with the crowd there and we had no

weapons well we might have had our side

weapon but we didn't have any shotguns

anything some of them might have had

nice sticks I think had we had some

weapons and it might have been some shot

that night


demonstrations and violence have never

solved any problem yet and won't solve

this one if there's a matter of going in

and using certain facilities and there's

a question involved the courts are

available the courts have been used

before and there are procedures to be

followed the community itself had never

went through anything like this before

and it was hard for them to accept what

the secona state students were trying to

do and they met resistance from the

merchants and the citizens it was a

complete change of way life had been the

black community showed reaction in a

mixed fashion those who middle-class

would say well we need to go slow you

know about this are you sure we can do

this let's test the waters before we

make a decision at this point the

younger people said we've heard enough

enough is enough we need to move now get

away from the old Confederacy this is a

new day South Carolina's governor McNair

had worked hard to earn his reputation

as a southern racial moderate at that

time of the Deep South states Louisiana

Mississippi Alabama Georgia and South

Carolina South Carolina was known as the

more moderate of those five Deep South

States I mean who's still rigid

segregation there and everything but

even their leaders were considered

relatively moderate in the deep south

sense in 1967 when state college

students protested against the school's

administration McNair had intervened on

behalf of the students to resolve

tensions I tried to build that

relationship with the leadership in the

black community statewide with the

n-double a-c-p was to get that open

communications and where there were

problems or whether were leaders that

were creating unrest or concerned about

things my normal reaction was to get

them in the office if I could


but that was a year ago this was 1968

and the nation was now deeply divided

1968 was a very disruptive year for the

whole nation

it was at the height of the Vietnam

protests it was also after major urban

riots in Detroit and Newark then

followed earlier riots black

neighborhoods that had long experienced

neglect and inequality exploded 40 more

dead damaged ran over a billion

President Johnson ordered federal troops

to bring peace to the city

the white community has a genuine fear

almost an obsession that they are on the

brink of destruction at the hands of

these enraged militants they've seen the

fires in a Newark in Detroit in watts

and in smaller cities across America is

that going to be Orangeburg fate as well

the white merchants and shopkeepers

downtown or could dis convinced that

there was gonna be rioting in the

streets and they were all armed to the

teeth with whatever weapons and

ammunition they could scrounge up around

town rumors all over the place black

militants was a gun we're going to blow

up the waterworks and in the eyes of the

state one man in particular represented

this fear Cleveland Sellars a 23 year

old with an afro who is now organizing

black students in Orangeburg he grew up

20 miles from Orangeburg his mother was

a state college graduate

he'd been very active in the movement in

Mississippi and in Alabama and you

return home and effect and one was he

was very interested in starting a real

study of black history that had been

neglected teaching African American

history and African American Studies

even at the historically black college

to talk about the mission of those

colleges didn't they have a

responsibility to teach young African

Americans their history so that's what

we were concerned with and that's what

we were working on and that's what back

was sellers had recently left the

Student Nonviolent Coordinating


snick where he had served as its program

director he had been with snick when it

raised the call for black power because

of this he was targeted as a black

militant all I knew is Cleveland was

around and he was trying to start up

trouble and and we knew his history and

I was aware he was trying to organize on

the campus and I thought he was

and precipitating leave the growing

militancy of the unrest I began to

recognize that there was a wiretap on my

telephones and the telephones that I use

so it became very clear to me that I was

being observed by the FBI and other law

enforcement and intelligence agencies

with tensions rising governor McNair was

determined to maintain law and order

that morning he sent in the National

Guard the student body as a whole was

very angry over what had happened the

night before but the students being

beaten and the particular the women

being beaten meanwhile students had been

meeting throughout the night with

college officials to decide their next

move thing was to go downtown and get

for mr.boss downtown and City Council

and the mayor they said no didn't what

students downtown they will come on

campus that ways the morning they came

on campus


and I'll pause when I say this that in

order for you to here's some of you but

I can truthfully and consciously say

that that is philosophy of this city

administration that we do treat all our

citizens right


our duties and responsibilities are

prescribed by law and we are obliged to

work from within the law the mayor made

a comment and he he used the term [ __ ]

and one student jumped up and yelled at


it is not negra it is negro and he says

I've always said negra so the student

said to him you can say Saini and the

mayor said me and he said growth and he

said grow

he said now put them together and the

mayor said negro and it just brought the

crowd it was them it was a very light

moment at that time the fact that the

mayor did not know this demonstrated

more than anything else how out of touch

he was with what was going on

nightfall the National Guard officers

from the state law enforcement division

known as sled and other state and local

police had taken up positions near the

entrances to the two colleges their

orders were to confine the students to

campus for fear they would burn in loot

downtown it caused people to be very

alarmed again quietness before the start


it was a cold day it was a cold day the

day seemed a little something just

didn't seem right a little eerie of all

the days that I can recall here as as a

student as if we were on the verge of

something happening the rest of the day

on Thursday I am on campus there is a

tank of the National Guard this parked

across the street in front of my house

and the barrel is pointing directly at

my house

I said accidents do happen


he got dark awful if I asked it was cold

cold war the coldest nights I think I

can recall in my life and there were no

lights anything where you could sit and

see basically what was going on by this

time the state had amassed approximately

120 armed state and local police and

National Guardsmen with fixed bayonets

across the street from Claflin and State

College an additional 450 were stationed

downtown the State Highway Patrol had

sent units from all over the state I

don't know who was protecting the rest

of the state but they were all in

Orangeburg that night it seems

overseeing the operation was the

governor's main law enforcement officer

chief Pete Strom the colonel of the

Highway Patrol may have been equal with

him but not in stature chief Strom was

sort law enforcement South Carolina and

so whatever he told any police officer

whether it was a local or state or

whomever would do what he said around

8:30 p.m. about a quarter mile up the


several shots were heard coming from the

Claflin campus

no one was hit and the shooter was never

identified students shouted at the

police some threw rocks and other

objects around 10 o'clock a bonfire was

built close to the entrance of State

College that attracted about 150


basically we just stood there

singing pulling in yelling had to

policeman sometimes it was our way of

saying well yes we may not be able to

leave the campus but here is something

that we can do

the fire got bigger and we could tell

that it was getting as high as they of

the streetlight itself the decision was

made that we had to put the fire out

just before 10:30

chief Strom called for a fire truck and

deployed 66 highway patrolmen to protect

the firemen

the patrolman then edged onto the campus

we plan to move the fire truck slowly

with the National Guard in front of them

moving forward I was driving Chiefs car

and we actually drove just behind the

fire truck as it pulled up they started

putting the fire

there's still some smoldering and smoke

but fire without the students had backed


they were milling around up on campus

having a night demonstration anybody who

has been around civil rights for a long

period of time no that's the worst time

because things happen in night

demonstrations they always do bad things

with the police after this night they

have their guns drawn there's no

barriers there I didn't open feel

and they were all close together and you

couldn't identify a person or what they

had in hands we were prepared to do

whatever we had to do to stop the

situation from escalating

somebody threw a banister rail for this

old house out there and it struck

policeman in the face just a lucky shot

but him in the face and knocked him to

the ground

of course policeman when they see

another policeman injured they get a

little bit testy themselves


I had the camera and I went out to take

a picture of the Highway Patrol anyway

and they say yes and they had the guns

up it was a very impressive

you know I didn't read because she first


as this men moved onto the campus the

officer in charge

chief Strom sat in his car talking with

the governor the next thing I heard Oh

all hell's busted loose I didn't know

what had happened and I didn't

anticipate what had happened

when I started half a truth I heard just

click select somebody cocking m16 or

gonna summon a trap that clicked on our

bullets just offline the way ol goes up

from back in the darkness at the prowl

the people being hit and wounded

shotguns carbines and gums lasted for

about 10 to 15 seconds

a voice came up stop stop I don't who

that I remember hearing somebody laugh

just before we realized we were being

shot at we thought they were shooting in

the air

I remember getting shot in my face and

been spun around I get there same time

they opened fire I get shot in the left

shoulder and I could feel it twists the

body around when I'm going down to the

to the ground I took one step that I can

remember and I got shot maybe just close

to my spinal cord


it's a wonder that more than men were

injured weren't were injured

I thought everyone that was killed

there's just shock and alarm at what had

happened and the attitude among the

patrolmen varied from they got what they

deserved to a couple of people almost so

scared they were throwing up


at least 28 students were shot and

wounded three students were killed

Samuel Hammond a freshman studying to be

a teacher drawn to the bonfire out of

curiosity was shot in the back

Delano Middleton a 17 year old high

school student had stopped by the campus

as he often did for a snack after

basketball practice

he suffered seven wounds one in the

heart Henry Smith aged 18 a student

activist deeply involved in his church

and ROTC was shot three times once in

the neck I think it was the next day

that I found out that that Smitty had

actually died and that tell me how much

Hamlin had died and that a little high

school boy who was waiting for his

custodian mother to get off from work he

received a stray bullet or something was

also shot except for two or three

students they were all shot either from

the side or from the or from the back

and some of them got hit fell down got

up and ran and got hit again they got

hit in the back of the head and they're

back in the buttocks and the soles of

their feet

students and faculty scrambled to rush

the wounded to Orange Berg's segregated

hospital Sam hem me Sam played football

together it's me Sam Lane hit the head

like this

the last thing Sam said red he's the man

you think I'm gonna live

and I say Sam you won't be all right

buddy when I looked over again he was

dead I took my hand and put over his

face like this

when my mother was relaxed about me they

say they didn't have a Robert they was

dead had just particular time I was

laying up on the float with the bullet

still in me I was laying Holland saying

give me something for pain and this

exact word they said the National Guard

told me [ __ ] shut up before I take the

butt of this gun and finish killing you

and I said up among the wounded the

police spotted someone of interest

someone they believed was responsible

for all that had happened I'm sitting

there waiting on my turn to go to the


when a black Sheriff Deputy one of the

two in the whole area he identifies me

the sheriff came in call out my name

what he said come on I told everybody

that I was with the sheriff if anybody

wouldn't know where I was what if

anything happens to me just know that

I'm with the sheriff




the next morning of the governor's

office it was kinda like a funeral like

they just felt like the good reputation

of South Carolina in civil rights had

gone down the tubes

that we had lost it and we were going

into the swamplands with civil rights

and Mississippi and Georgia and Alabama

what occurred last night is of great

concern to us it's one of the saddest

days in the history of South Carolina

the years of work and understanding have

been shattered by this unfortunate

incident at Orangeburg our reputation

for racial harmony has been blemished by

the actions of those who would play

selfish motives and interests above the

welfare and security of the majority

cheeps drama did you find the problem in

Orangeburg to be with the local

residents or with outside agitators we

never had any problem with the local

residents of orange reg orange red

county yeah when we had demonstrations

and orange break before it was under

responsible leadership chief strong then

went a step further insisting quote this

thing never would have happened if black

power hadn't come in here the students

were so fired up and under the influence

of Cleveland Sellars who was a trained

agitator they didn't know what they were

doing it was a different climate on the

campus there well the factors did it

moved in the students were much more

confrontational they were much more

likely to create not just a

confrontation but to create some some

difficult confrontations I think all of

you know that Cleveland Sellars who has

been the leader in this movement was one

of those who was wounded last evening

and is now in custody and charged with

inciting a riot and participating in the

burning the governor had had his own

spokesman on the scene there and I named

a Henry Lake and he referred to

Cleveland Sellars as being he's the main

man he's the biggest [ __ ] in the crowd

well that was the way Henry Lake talked

and I think he was representing what a

lot of white South Carolinians thought

at that time from all that I had seen

and my prior experiences in civil rights

there was a conspiracy to to target the

Black Power advocate that would be me

and to create the kind of event that

would be tied to me in a way that I

would be arrested and charged Cleveland

is being labeled with black power then

you can see why they would be fearful of

him as the talk his name so you can see

the buzzword for him and be wearing he's

diggin all his prey he's bringing all

this confusion I'm honestly something's

got to be done about him okay we cannot

afford to lose our people our property

and something has to be done to cut the

ground from underneath his feet to be

sure that he does not grasp a foot hole

within our community or any other black


by 1968 many Americans were afraid that

the civil rights movement had taken a

radical turn concerned that now the

non-violence of dr. Martin Luther King

has been replaced by the militancy of

the black power of Stokely Carmichael

and his right-hand man

Cleveland sellers sellers had been a

close friend of Stokely Carmichael one

of the main architects of black power

since their days at Howard University

anything that I deserve and every report

that the white expert said there's one

thing mr. white man once you check

police chief properly see the bad white

man she don't speak Taiwanese and that

man died one year later those black

people so now they're not follow to put

him out we need power

this new call for power resonated in the

black community especially among young

people but for many Americans both white

and black black power meant only one


violence it really did scare white

America and there are different

interpretations of what it meant but it

became associated with black power and

at the time of the Urban riot Black

Power was not about violence like Powell

is about the empowering of the

african-american community to run for

office and be elected into office from

CBS Washington faced the nation with

Stokely Carmichael national chairman of

the Student Nonviolent Coordinating

Committee mr. Carmichael all this week

you've been telling the Mississippi

marchers they must achieve black power

what do you want them to do to get it

well I think that what they have to do

to get black powers to organize

themselves politically to register to

vote and to form independent political

bases which will them allow them the

chance to carry out and make effective

the changes they need to bring about

decent lives in Mississippi for sellers

and many in the movement it was no

longer about black people integrating a

white bowling-alley

it was about black people assuming

control of their own communities and it

was about identity who are we as a

people I think that issue comes up with

black power and people began to to talk

about African culture and the history of

Africans and African Americans

this new focus led to the creation of

black bookstores and publishing houses

and the first Black Studies programs as

some of the movements said we'd rather

build our own house and keep trying to

get into yours the fear of black power

made it easy for the media to buy into

the story that Cleveland cellars was to

blame for the shootings a lot of

Americans at that time if they read

about this at all they read a story that

that essentially said that these

officers were attacked by a bunch of

gun-wielding students and they fired

back The Associated Press which most of

the country depended upon for the news

out of Orangeburg wrote stories that in

the beginning talked about an exchange

of gunfire even quoted one of their own

photographers as saying that he heard

gunfire and the photographer himself

later said it wasn't true the campaign

by Governor McNair and others had

succeeded for most Americans Orangeburg

was just another ride and cited by black

militants the story appeared prominently

for a day or two then disappeared for



in the weeks following the shootings

hundreds of black college students from

South Carolina marched on the state

capitol to express their outrage other

protests followed and in a telegram to

President Johnson dr. Martin Luther King

said the deaths lie on the conscience of

Chief Pete Strom and the governor of

South Carolina and he called the

shootings the largest armed assault

undertaken under color of law in recent

southern history then Roy Wilkins head

of the moderate NAACP spoke in

Orangeburg he challenged the state's

version of the shootings you know the

first news story we read in New York

said there was an exchange of gunfire

and after this the police shot now there

was no exchange of gunfire there were no

guns discovered on the campus among the

students I called him I called you to a

hard task harder than theirs theirs is

difficult but they don't have any Dead

to carry home and we do a lot of dead

from way back yonder count them over in

your mind these three here on this

campus forty-three dead in Detroit last

year 23 dead in Newark Medgar Evers

run along back through history through

reconstruction through the Civil War

think of all the dead we have buried and

so our task is bound to be heavier and

more difficult it really didn't believe

something like this happened


- people would people would open fire

you know unarmed Stoops I just I mean he

did not think that would happen

I did not think whether something like

that what happened in America


decades later the Orangeburg shootings

still stir anger and disbelief and

repeated calls for a state investigation

could there be someone with the courage

to say that at least an investigation

letting the family members know of what

happened that night I like to think the

healing process has been going on maybe

it isn't finished I don't see any state

investigation or anything like that that

would help the healing process since

there were no arrests and no

investigation the healing can't start

obviously it has not been adequate at

least for some of the family members and

I sympathize with them but I think it's

time to move forward


after 35 years do either of you believe

if three students have been killed three

white students have been killed on the

campus of Clemson University and 27

others wounded they would never have

been a state investigation and report of

what happened and that there would be no

restitution for those who were shot come

on that's that's not a proper question

to Clemson or something why don't you

say the senator in 1968 immediately

following the shootings the United

States Justice Department suspected the

police had abused their power it ordered

the FBI to investigate but it soon

became apparent that the FBI was

covering for the very police they were

supposed to be investigating the FBI

agents were part of the overall cover-up

by denying they were on the scene when

they could have easily testified to what

they saw it was a question of trying to

protect the troopers that they usually

do business with and and that happened

frequently in the south with FBI agents

who had very close relationships with

the local policemen and chief Strom the

head of South Carolina law enforcement

was a close colleague of FBI director J

Edgar Hoover the FBI never compiled a

report of the Orangeburg massacre they

compiled the interviews they compiled

evidence there was no summary of that

evidence of those interviews ever


there was no analysis offered there's no

evaluation offered there was no FBI


still the FBI testimonies were revealing

they showed the students and many other

witnesses to be consistent on one point

the students were unanimous to do was no

shooting from the campus they were going

down to watch me put out the fire I

never saw it happen that the students

were actually charging are confronting

the law enforcement officers in terms of

an organized charge toward them they

were milling around out there in the

darkness the FBI found no evidence of

guns being fired by students on the

State College campus

the officers lined themselves up on the

side of this hill and the almost in the

shoot position and they were shooting

what is called a double ought buck shot

which is the large gain bullet that you

use for killing deer and other larger

game despite its flaws the FBI

investigation convinced the Justice

Department that the police had abused

their power a crime had been committed

on may 19 1969 the nine patrolman who

admitted shooting at the students went

on trial

chief Strom the man in charge was not

indicted the case rested on one question

had the officers fired in self-defense

I felt very strongly that they could be

some physical harm to me and to whoever

I was trying to protect behind us

according to FBI testimonies most

officers heard or saw shots coming from

campus I heard a gunshot

which I equated as a 22 coming from in

front of me to my left but they couldn't

agree on where the shots were coming

from and some officers didn't hear any


only nine officers admitted shooting

into the crowd for others aspired

warning shots 53 never fired at all

chief Strom testified that his command

car had been equipped with tear gas and

a loudspeaker system but he hadn't used

them the jury very quickly decided on

the verdict of not guilty in fact so

quickly that they were sent a message to

stay in a little longer so he don't come

out quite so quickly but within a couple

of hours they return their verdict of

not guilty fall nine defendants I think

we have to realize what they've suffered

through themselves in talking to one or

two of them I mean they are heartbroken

and distressed over what happened I was

just a soldier and I was the person that

was there reacting to what I was my

leaders had told me to do and I was to

go down for protective property do the

best job I could when we read about the

verdict we were outraged because we knew

that it was not right that there was no

way that those individuals should have

been vindicated

I mean there were tanks on this campus

one would have to be a little how to

think about challenging a tank or

policeman with a weapon I call it murder

before it happened to murder killing

other students and the murdering of

students that's all we can ever refer to


how could officers feel so free to do

what they did unless they were given

some kind of director from some higher

source of government I mean I can't

prove it but they seem to be fairly

confident in being able to carry out

what they did


on September 24th 1970 two years after

the massacre South Carolina put

Cleveland sellers on trial for riding on

the night of the shootings the justice

system don't work and nobody is going to

prevent us having court and that was my

position was we're gonna have the trial

Pete Strom head of the State Police and

governor McNair's prosecuting attorney

both urged the governor not to prosecute

Cleveland Sellars fearing it would

heighten tensions but McNair was adamant

it was not just Cleveland Sellars black

power militant who was on trial it was

black power itself almost immediately

the state's case began to unravel

no one could link sellers to the

shootings and they was so absurd at that

point I mean I just couldn't believe

that this was going on hey I am I've

gotten shot I haven't done anything

nobody has done anything please rolling

all this was he was essentially a

bystander he didn't think the bowling

alley was particularly important and

then he was fingered as the man who is

in charge Cleveland have nothing to do

with this this is on the students that

sock around a statement that's who this

was on all of us not cleave cleaver had

one thing to do just nothing the judge

agreed and dismissed all the charges but

then a surprise

he allowed Sellars charges to be

switched from the night of the shootings

to the night of the bowling alley

demonstration two days before

and I was found guilty and was given one

year hard labor


I haven't criticized the prosecution or

criticized the outcome

I've simply said that's it it's over

the state of South Carolina assumed the

matter was settled and would soon be

forgotten but many continue to demand

answers to what really happened that

night there should be an investigation

with specific answers who was

responsible why it happened because

again we don't want it repeated ever in

this nation


the speaker will acknowledge that I made

a motion what I made a motion for in

2006 Cleveland sellers son Bakari was

elected to the state legislature at the

age of 21 the youngest representative in

South Carolina's history yesterday the

legislative Black Caucus I took

unanimous action to move that we put

forth of a resolution that asked for an

investigation in the events of February

8 1968 good morning I'm doing good you

don't all right you ask anyone who loses

three people out of their life then you

want to know what happened that night if

you look at Kent State and kind of

understand what happened mr. Sellars

forever see rise

Mr Speaker I moved today when we adjourn

we adjourn in memory of Henry Smith

Samuel Hammond in Delano Middleton three

students killed in Orangeburg massacre

mr. Carey Moussa the house adjourned

today to adjourn in memory of Henry

Smith Samuel Hammond and Delano


all in favor say aye those no the eyes

have it sorted ladies and gentlemen

please join me in welcoming South

Carolina State Representative Bakari


we join here today in our own memorial

so remember three dead and 27 injured

and yet another massacre that mark yet

another people's struggle against

oppression these men who died here would

not martyrs to a dream but soldiers to a

cause we find our state and individuals

within our state showing no shame in

making concentrated efforts to keep this

day that we come every year to remember

off the historians tongue and purged

from our history books a group of

students built bonfires and st. protest

songs and within moments along the

embankments on the front of the campus

police positioned themselves along

highway 601

the State Police then closed in on

students with shotguns loaded with

deadly double lock buck shots and for

eight seconds 1,001 1,002


I think it was one of the dark days in

the history of the country it was so


so much deeper and dealt with so many

deeper issues we tried so hard for it

not to happen but it did happen and and

for others to think that we were wrong

in the way we went about it you would

have had to have been in our shoes we

don't do change very well and and that

day in that place we did it very poorly

remember what they stood for and what

they fought for I realized that for some

of our young people that may be a little

difficult to think of her time when

those things which we take for granted

today we're not available

simple opportunities such as sitting at

a counter for a meal a member of the

church where I grew up told my father

that if I had studied a South Carolina

State instead of demonstrating nothing

would have happened to me and I would

have been fine

one afternoon I went to talk with a

fellow about something something like a

little nightclub on the railroad corner

right across from the campus and it's a

black-owned Venice and when I got in

there this fellow oh he said man I want

you to meet John Strummer guys who

taught him man you don't know Joe

Strummer he said no he said well this

the fella that got those students kill

on campus and when he did that and he

said that it just I wanted to die


the Orangeburg massacre is about

accountability nobody ever was held

accountable for it essentially although

they were trials nobody ever was

convicted of anything the state in the

end had its way but in history that may

not have his way simply because it's

still alive and so maybe it'll live on

Birmingham with the 16th Street Baptist

church bombing al Goodwin Charlene

Chaney and Philadelphia Mississippi

that's where the Hinesburg Massacre fits

into civil rights history along with

these other kind of tragedies that took


it doesn't fade away it just keeps on


truth pressed to the ground another one

of dr. King's sayings shall rise again