ORANGEBURG, SC (WIS) - February 8, 1968 is a date that continues to stir memories and emotions. It has been 43 years since the Orangeburg Massacre, and friends and family of those killed and injured returned to South Carolina State University on Tuesday.
It was a somber ceremony to remember three lives lost and hundreds of lives changed forever. "It's the kind of thing you just don't forget," said Bobby Eaddy, who was a 17-year-old freshman at SC State in 1968.
Eaddy remembers February 8 of that year vividly. Standing in the spot where chaos erupted 43 years ago, he recalled the moment his life changed. "Someone came in and said 'hey guys, there's a bonfire going on in the street," recounted Eaddy.
Eaddy joined the crowd watching men in uniform as they inched closer to the campus. "The next thing I know, there was this barrage of gunfire," continued Eaddy.
According to reports from that night, the students were gathered to protest the segregation of a Bowling Lane. Eaddy was shot in the back.
On Tuesday, he joined others who survived the Orangeburg Massacre. "We think about not only those who were wounded but families who had to respond quickly in the middle of the night that their son or daughter might have been killed or wounded," said Dr. Cleveland Sellers, the only person arrested for the incident.
Sellers was accused of inciting the riot that preceded the shootings. Although officially pardoned, he too will never forget. "I'm still moving through and trying to get beyond the pain and hurt that occurred February 8, 1968," he said.
Nearly half a century later, other students can reflect and remember what happened on the very ground on which they stand.
All of the people we spoke to say they don't want the Orangeburg Massacre to be forgotten. Sellers wants an investigation into what happened 43 years ago and restitution for the victims so they can have closure.
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