Marching in memory: Students, others mark Orangeburg events of 1968

Feb 07, 2018

BRADLEY march 7

The image of marchers is reflected by front door glass at the now-closed. All-Star Triangle bowling alley. More of Panther Editor Bradley Harris' photos below the story.

Students from South Carolina State and Claflin universities, members of the community, an even a participant in protests 50 years ago marched Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018, from the All-Star bowling alley to the S.C. State campus.

The march, coordinated by SCSU’s Young Alumni Council and Student Government Association, was put together as a 50-year commemoration of the Orangeburg Massacre and the events that led to the shooting deaths of three students and injury to 28 others on Feb. 8, 1968.

“We wanted to re-enact what happened at the Orangeburg Massacre and just show the importance of it, and show the importance to students,” said Julie Sanyo, a student at S.C. State and one of the organizers. “It wasn’t just a bowling alley, it was more than that.”

The march began at the All-Star Triangle bowling alley on Russell Street, where 50 years ago on Feb. 6 students from S.C. State and Claflin were protesting segregation of the business. At 4:30, a prayer was offered, followed by a chant, and the march began.

Students and people of the community marched down Russell Street and eventually ended up in the S.C. State Student Center.

There a brief ceremony remembering Henry Smith, Samuel Hammond Jr. and Delano Middleton, who died on the night of February 8, 1968, was held. In attendance were family members of Delano Middleton, and John Stroman, a key player in the 1968 protests.

South Carolina Rep. Wendell Gilliard spoke at the ceremony, asking those in attendance a resounding question. “Is this a movement, or a moment?”

Gilliard closed his speech with a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“Whatever you do, be the best at what you do.”

Gilliard’s question was answered by Stroman, who talked about what he remembers from the night when S.C. Highway Patrolmen opened fire on protesting students at the S.C. State campus.

“We could have robbed every bank in the state because all of SLED was there,” Stroman said in reference to the night of Feb. 8, 1968. Stroman said he also remembers that Cleveland Sellers, the only person jailed in association with the Orangeburg Massacre, had a tank pointing its cannon at the front of his house.

Stroman also gave recognition to students of Claflin who also protested, saying that many of the students injured attended the university neighboring S.C. State.

BRADLEY march 1

Students from S.C. State and Claflin, as well as members of the Orangeburg community, gather outside of the All-Star bowling alley on Tuesday afternoon, Feb. 6, 2017. The gathering at the bowling alley is in remembrance of the protests that took place there 50 years ago that led to the Orangeburg Massacre.  

BRADLEY march 2

S.C. State students, Claflin students and members of the community link arms as they prepare to march from the All-Star bowling alley to the campus of S.C. State.

BRADLEY march 3

Marchers walk through the intersection of Russell and Magnolia streets as they make their way to the campus of S.C. State.

BRADLEY march 4

Marchers make their way through the intersection of Russell and Magnolia as they approach their destination on S.C. State's campus.

BRADLEY march 5

South Carolina District 111 Rep. Wendell Gilliard gives a speech at the Feb. 6, 2018, ceremony remembering Delano Middleton, Samuel Hammond Jr. and Henry Smith, who died as a result of the Orangeburg Massacre on Feb. 8, 1968.

BRADLEY march 6

John Stroman, who was a leader of the protests centered around the All-Star bowling alley in 1968, speaks to the crowd on Feb. 6, 2018.

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