Tuesday, September 23, 2014

SCSU's Orangeburg Massacre Memorial

On the campus of South Carolina State University in Orangeburg is a solemn memorial to one of darkest days in the Palmetto State's history: The Orangeburg Massacre. On Feb. 8, 1968 some 150 protesters, including many SCSU students, gathered at the All Star Bowling Alley on Russell Street, which was segregated. Black were not allowed to bowl there.

The scene would turn ugly and violent. Police and highway patrol officers held down and beat men and women alike. Police would eventually open fire on the crowd. Three African American male protestors were killed and more than two dozen others were wounded.

In case you have never seen this memorial and would like to visit it, the monument, built in 1969, is located in a courtyard near Geathers and Gaillard streets near the school's Magnolia Street entrance.

Here is a short video showing my SCSU students visiting the site for a class project.

It is fitting that in SCSU's student center today there is a bowling alley that is free for students to enjoy. The old Russell Street bowling alley, meantime, closed long ago, but the bowling alley sign remains as a memorial of its own to a bloody Civil Rights battleground right here in Orangeburg.