Students march to remember Orangeburg Massacre
Feb 18, 2019
Students march in downtown Orangeburg on Feb. 7, 2019, to mark the 51st anniversary of the Orangeburg Massacre. (Panther photo by Jordan James)
South Carolina State University students filled the streets on Feb. 7, 2019, tragic events of 51 years ago.
The Orangeburg Massacre was a shooting of protesters by South Carolina Highway Patrol officers in Orangeburg on South Carolina State’s campus on Feb. 8, 1968. There were approximately 200 protesters having previously demonstrated against racial segregation at a bowling alley on Russell Street. Three of the protesters, who were African-American males, were killed and 28 other protesters were injured.
A half-century later, the students walking Russell and other streets in honor of the victims were “celebrating,” not grieving.
“This was a way for a lot of us to hold our heads high instead of down,” said Roderick Brown, a sophomore at S.C. State. Brown said his hometown of Lamar has faced similar situations.
“Growing up in Lamar, S.C., you will know about the bus riot that happened there in 1970,” he said.
“All the older people, and definitely the teachers, will tell you about it all the time,” Brown said. “Buses were flipped over while African-American students were on them and rocks and other items were thrown at them.”
Brown said that made his hometown stronger -- and he feels the Orangeburg Massacre did the same for Orangeburg.
“I see how the people of Orangeburg cover this event and talk about it,” he said. “It is the same way back home in Lamar. I can tell that it brought the city closer and humbled them.”
The S.C. State Student Government Association and its president, DeAndre L. Hurley, organized the march a day before the 51 anniversary on Feb. 8.