February 8

February 8, 1968 – The Orangeburg Massacre 

On the night of February 8, 1968, three South Carolina State students, Samuel Hammond Jr., (age 18), Delano Middleton (age 17) and Henry Smith (age 18) were shot dead by officers with the South Carolina Highway Patrol on the campus of the predominately African American South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, South Carolina.

SCSU Hodge Hall from E 1

Hodge Hall on the Campus of South Carolina State University

Twenty seven others were injured when the State Troopers opened fire on the group of approximately 150 to 200 protesters. It all precipitated after several nights of attempted integration of the segregated “All Star Bowling Lane” a bowling alley in Orangeburg.

All-Star Bowling Alley (Orangeburg SC) sign from SW 1

All-Star Bowling Alley Sign (Orangeburg SC)

Students had gathered on campus the evening of February 8 to protest the bowling alley. Troopers opened fire on the crowd.  Injured student, civil rights activist and National Program Director for  the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) Cleveland Sellers was the only student prosecuted for events associated with the protests of that week.  He served seven months in prison and received a full pardon twenty five years later.  Nine police officers were tried and acquitted although witnesses testified there was no gunfire prior to the police shooting (and no guns were found in the crowd).  This mass shooting of students on a college campus by law enforcement was the first of it’s kind in the United States.

 

Tribute To Black History Month

December 19, 1875 – April 3, 1950 – Carter Godwin Woodson

Carter G Woodson portrait

Dr. Carter G. Woodson

Dr. Carter G. Woodson  began “Negro History Week” the forerunner to Black History Month. Dr. Woodson was a noted, historian, journalist, author and the founder of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History.