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College of Arts and Sciences

The Orangeburg Massacre and its impact on civil rights in South Carolina

Cleveland Sellers to deliver public talk

On Feb. 8, 1968, about 200 protestors gathered at South Carolina State University in Orangeburg to speak out against segregation at a nearby bowling alley. Highway Patrol officers fired into the crowd, killing three students and wounding others.

Cleveland Sellers was one of the protestors shot during what is now known as the Orangeburg Massacre, the country’s first deadly confrontation between law enforcement and students. The now retired University of South Carolina professor will speak about the events of 50 years ago and talk about their lasting impact on civil rights in South Carolina during a free public talk at 7 p.m., Tuesday, March 27.  The lecture is sponsored by the Department of Political Science.

“Frank discussion of difficulty, and sometimes tragic events and circumstances have over time contributed to a healing process that was badly needed during the 1960s and 1970s,” Sellers says.

Leader in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in 1968, Sellers was the only person convicted and jailed for the events surrounding the Orangeburg Massacre. He was pardoned 25 years later. Sellers served as director of Carolina’s African American Studies program and was president of Voorhees College in Denmark.  


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