SC State commemorates 55 years since Orangeburg Massacre
ORANGEBURG, S.C. (WCSC) - Hundreds of students, staff and family members participated in remembering the three Black students who were killed by police on South Carolina State University’s Campus in 1968.
Henry Smith, Samuel Hammond and Delano Middleton were on the campus for a civil rights demonstration when police opened fire, killing them and injuring dozens of others.
These three students were all less than 20 years old when they were killed not far from where monuments of their faces now stand.
The annual commemoration began at the Martin Luther King Jr. Auditorium before proceeding out to the plaza bearing the three students’ names.
The university said the nine officers who opened fire were found not guilty and sees this date as opportunity to educate people about what happened.
President Alexander Conyers said remembering their sacrifice inspires university students and alumni to keep working toward equality.
Germaine Middleton, the niece of Delano Middleton, said the tragedy continues to impact her family to this day.
“The loss of life is uncalled for,” she said. “People don’t seem to realize the effect that it has on the families. Here we are 55 years later, and it is still, even when I talk to my dad, it is still hard for him to think about the loss of his brother in this way.”
These family members said they’ve taken it upon themselves to come every year to make sure the legacies of their loved ones aren’t lost.
The university said they have no plans to stop the commemoration anytime soon.
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