Civil Rights Activist Reflects on Orangeburg Massacre

ORANGEBURG, SC (WOLO)- As the 50th commemoration of the Orangeburg Massacre approaches,  Civil Rights Activist Cleveland Sellers reflects back on that day.

Today the All Star Triangle Bowling Alley is falling apart. On February 8,1968 state troopers fired into a crowd of demonstrators protesting the then segregated bowling alley.” I was shocked,” Cleveland said.

Cleveland  was shot and arrested during the massacre.

“I never thought highway patrolmen would come onto the campus of South Carolina State and open fire with the firepower that they had,” Cleveland said. “They had shotguns loaded with buckshot.”

Three of the protesters were killed during the Massacre, and 27 others were injured.

“The inhumanity that you see around that,” Cleveland said. “The immorality that you see around that. The not valuing lives. You see now black lives matter. Our lives have value to them and should have value to them.”

Cleveland now in his 70’s says he still seeks justice for what happened that night. He said the victims families deserve restitution’s.

“We have to continue to have that fight and we have to go ahead and change the world again,” Cleveland said.

His fight for equality passed down to the next generation. Including his own family.

“Until we deal with issues like Orangeburg we’ll never be able to deal with systemic racism and injustices in our everyday communities,” Bakari Sellers said. “So my job is to be an example.”

“It’s important for people to know where they came from, and how we’ve progressed, and how we can keep progressing.stuff like this is important,” Peyton Parker-Smith, Cleveland’s niece said. “We don’t want this to happen again in our history.”

Related