Senators Plan to Reintroduce Bill to Provide Closure 50 Years After Orangeburg Massacre

Introduction to Come as Soon as Tuesday

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO)-Thursday, South Carolina marked 50 years since the Orangeburg Massacre, when state troopers opened fire on protesters, killing three. All these years later, there are still unanswered questions.

After bills designed to create a solution for victim compensation failed in 2003 and 2007, lawmakers are hoping a new effort will have a different outcome.

“I am somewhat optimistic that I think we can get something done. We aren’t looking to just point fingers or create any racial tensions but I think it is fair for those who had to endure this great tragedy to get some answers,” said Senator Darrell Jackson.

The bills introduced in the past never made it past judiciary committee. Now survivors are renewing calls to legislators in an effort to heal decades after the tragedy.

“South Carolina needs to step up and assume responsibility for what happened. That has yet to happen,” said survivor Bobby Eaddy who was 17-years-old when he was struck in the back by gunfire.

The call to action comes after two governors and other officials apologized for the shooting but students never received any reconciliation from the state, the patrolmen involved were acquitted of all charges.

Cleveland Sellers was the only survivor to ever serve jail time after the shooting.

Senator Floyd Nicholson was a freshman at SC State when shots rang out. His speech remembering the shooting received a standing ovation in the Senate Thursday. “It was like being in a war, but in that war, only one side had guns. They said they heard gunfire but when you were there, you know there was no gunfire. It was just open season,” recalled Floyd.

Jackson said his optimism grew after seeing reaction in the chamber. He plans to reintroduced his resolution from 2003 when lawmakers go back in session on Tuesday.