S.C. State looks back at tragedy: 3 protesters slain by state police in 1968

Forty years ago, as the civil rights fight in the U.S. reached its height, a tragic episode at South Carolina State College in Orangeburg added fuel to the fire.

In the 1968 Orangeburg Massacre, as it has come to be called, three students were shot dead and 28 were wounded by state police after a peaceful protest outside the segregated All-Star Bowling Lanes. The event will be re-enacted by students of what is now South Carolina State University at 3 p.m. today.

The group, led by student government President Jeremy Rogers, will carry picket signs as they march before the now- vacant bowling alley on Russell Street. The march will proceed to the campus, where the protest will continue near the Washington Dining Hall, according to organizers. The demonstration will conclude at Mitchell Hall Field, where a ceremonial bonfire will be lit and survivor Cleveland Sellers will speak.

The student reenactment comes a day before the big event: a commemoration ceremony set for 11 a.m. on Friday at the school.

The “Truth and Reconciliation” program, to be held in the Martin Luther King Jr. Auditorium, will feature a filmed introduction by Tom Brokaw, whose recent book “Boom!” includes a discussion of the historic incident.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Race/Race Relations