40th Commemoration Ceremony Set for Friday, February 8

Students re-enact picketing and bonfire on Thursday, February 7

    Survivors, victims’ families, college students and the Orangeburg community of South Carolina will congregate on the campus of South Carolina State University on 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 a.m. 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 will re-enact the nonviolent student demonstrations that preceded the 1968 shooting. At 3 p.m., students will "picket" the now-vacant All Star Bowling Lanes on Russell

    Street in Orangeburg, and then move to the SCSU campus to continue the mock protest in front of Washington Dining Hall. The demonstration will conclude at Mitchell Hall Field with a 5:30 p.m. 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 will begin 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 will include 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 will perform musical selections, and the University drum corps will lead a procession to the slain students’ monument, where flames will be lit.

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

    South Carolina Highway Patrol Captain C.N. Williamson and newly appointed SLED chief Reginald Lloyd are expected to attend this event.

     See the website www.orangeburgmassacre1968.com for the latest event program