Remembering the Orangeburg Massacre

ORANGEBURG (WACH) - South Carolina State took a moment to look back today and remember a crucial moment in their history.

On February 8th, 1968, state troopers fired into a crowd protesting against segregation at a bowling alley near the SC State campus.

Three men were killed and twenty eight injured.

The event is now known as the Orangeburg Massacre.

SC State held the 46th commemorative ceremony today to remember the Massacre, and all it stands for.

Dr. Cleveland Sellers was present at the ceremony today. He has been widely heralded for his involvement in the civil rights movement.

He was there the day the Orangeburg Massacre happened and says any rumors the protestors began the fight by shooting at the state troopers are absolutely false.

He says they simply wanted to make their point...peacefully.

"They did not expect the officers to open fire. They did nothing to provoke and there were no signals or indications. And the officers didn't use any preventive means to get the students to respond to any requests they may have had." says Dr. Sellers.

And while he believes we have come a long way since that day, the journey is far from over.

"While we have made some progress, we have a lot of work to do on race relations because a lot of the decisions are based on race. And that's unfortunate almost 50 years away from 1968, when this tragedy occured." Dr. Sellers states.

Dr. Sellers was the only person convicted and imprisoned for his participation in the protest back in 1968.

He was convicted for inciting a riot and served seven months.

He was fully pardoned 25 years later.

A monument now stands on the SC State campus to remember those who died fighting for their civil rights almost 50 years ago.