Claflin President Henry N. Tisdale to Participate in Recognition of 49th Anniversary of Orangeburg Massacre

Feb 07, 2017

Claflin President Henry N. Tisdale will participate in a ceremony to commemorate the 49th Anniversary of the Orangeburg Massacre on Wednesday, Feb. 8, at 3 p.m. in the Martin Luther King Jr.  Auditorium at South Carolina State University.  Tisdale will provide his reflections of the incident which is considered the first tragedy of its kind to occur at one of the nation’s college campuses.   

The program will also include a musical performance by Dr. Lori Hick, Claflin University assistant professor of voice and opera and a wreath laying ceremony at Legacy Memorial Plaza on the SC State campus.

Three young men -- Samuel Hammond, Jr., Delano Middleton and Henry Smith -- were killed and 28 others were wounded when S.C. highway patrolmen fired shots into a crowd of students and community activists.   The group had gathered at SC State on Feb. 8 after three nights of escalating racial tension over efforts to desegregate All Star Bowling Lanes, which was located in downtown Orangeburg.

Dr. Millicent Brown, a veteran activist, educator and historian will be the guest speaker for this year’s commemorative event.   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,”  who desegregated previously all-white schools.  Brown was one of the first to integrate Charleston County schools.  She is also a former associate professor of history and sociology at Claflin University.

Special presentations will be made to Jack Bass, journalist and author of The Orangeburg Massacre and Trinity United Methodist Church as recipients of the 2017 Smith-Hammond-Middleton Social Justice Award. This marks the third year that the university will present the award to an individual or organization that demonstrated a commitment to eliminating injustices. 

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