ORANGEBURG, S.C. (WCBD) — Wednesday, February 8 is the 49th anniversary of the 1968 incident in which state troopers opened fire killing three students during a protest of a segregated bowling alley in Orangeburg.
Samuel Hammond Jr., Delano Middleton, and Henry Smith were killed and 28 students were wounded after S.C. Highway Patrolmen fired into a crowd of students and others on the SC State campus. They had gathered after three nights of escalating tension over efforts to desegregate All-Star Bowling Lane on Russell Street in downtown Orangeburg.
On Wednesday, South Carolina State University will be holding a commemoration ceremony at 3 p.m. in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Auditorium on campus. The ceremony titled “IN THIS TOGETHER: IN PURSUIT OF JUSTICE FOR ALL” will feature activist, educator, and historian Dr. Millicent Brown.
Brown co-founded and serves as the project director of the Somebody Had to Do It Project, a national initiative that identifies the “first children,” like herself, who desegregated previously all-white schools. Brown, a former associate professor of history and sociology at Claflin University, was one of the first to integrate Charleston County schools.
During Wednesday’s commemoration Jack Bass, journalist and author of “The Orangeburg Massacre,” and Trinity United Methodist Church will being honor with the Smith-Hammond-Middleton Social Justice award named for the three students who died.
This marks the third year that the university will present the award to an individual or organization that has demonstrated a commitment to eliminating injustice.
A candle lighting and wreath laying ceremony, to be held at Legacy Memorial Plaza, will conclude the program.