Black community does not protect its youth, Orangeburg Massacre speaker says

Feb 18, 2019


2019 marks the 51st anniversary of the Orangeburg Massacre, the 1968 incident in which three students were killed by state troopers during a protest over segregation at a bowling alley.

On Friday, Feb. 8, South Carolina State University held a commemoration ceremony in Martin Luther King Jr. Auditorium with attorney Benjamin Crump as the guest speaker.

Crump has become a prominent figure in the black community. He is most commonly known as the attorney for unarmed black teenagers Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, both killed by police.

With the theme of this year's anniversary being, “Celebrating the Progress and Sustaining the Promise,” Crump had a message for the community.

He touched on topics of race, civil rights equality and/or the lack thereof.

Crump believes the black community lacks in the area of protection of its youth. In particular, he referred to police brutality and its target being young black men.

“Orangeburg, right up the road we had Dylan Roof walk into a church and murder nine black citizens,” Crump said. “He murdered nine people and said he felt bad about it. Because they were so nice to him, he felt bad about it.”

Crump asked, “Now, if that was a black man, don’t we know how that would have ended? Not only did they arrest him unharmed and without force, they took this man to Burger King!”

He addressed equality, comparing white arrests to black arrests.

“When someone is arrested and they are marked as a felon, they can’t even get life insurance. Our black men are constantly thrown in jail for whatever reason and are labeled for life. It’s like you’re the walking dead,” Crump said.

He said that when he thinks of crime, he doesn’t think of young black men. He thinks of young white men having proved their acts of terrorism and discrimination in this country.

Crump believes the education system plays a major role in the lack of understanding of the judicial system and how that truly affects black Americans. As a community, black Americans must take more responsibility for our youth, he said.

“We need to educate our children. We need to teach them to contest the law. They deserve equality. We are not here to arm them with guns, drugs and ammo. Instead, with intellect, education, diplomacy and courage.”

Courage is needed to challenge this country in ways they need, Crump said.

“We’re not going to let them define our children. We define our children,” he said.

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