Bowling alley then, new issues today
Feb 25, 2017
South Carolina State College students Henry Smith and Samuel Hammond, along with 19-year-old Wilkinson High School student Delano Middleton, were killed on Feb. 8, 1968. This memorial on the S.C. State campus is in their memory. (Special to The Panther)
South Carolina State University held the annual Orangeburg Massacre ceremony on Feb. 8 to honor the memory of the dead and the wounded from 1968.
On the 49th anniversary of the incident in which three students and 28 others were wounded by shotgun blasts from state troopers during a protest over desegregation of an Orangeburg bowling alley, retired history professor Dr. Millicent E. Brown addressed the crowd at Martin Luther King Jr. Auditorium.
“We are here to moan and mourn the waste of life,” Brown said, whose speech stressed standing up for what is right.
Black lives are important, she said. African-Americans will always be victims if they don’t work together.
“Be reminded that these horrors are not of the past,” said Brown, a Charleston native and chief plaintiff in Millicent E. Brown et al vs. Charleston County School Board District 20. The 1963 case led to the desegregation of all public schools in South Carolina.
South Carolina State College students Henry Smith and Samuel Hammond, along with 19-year-old Wilkinson High School student Delano Middleton, were killed.
Looking back to February 1968, she said students organized themselves for protest because they were confused about why they could not get in the bowling alley in an era when segregation was coming to an end.
Today, African-Americans must look at issues such as economic justice and elections. “The challenge of authority is needed as much if not more than 49 years ago.”
The past is not the past, she said. There remain obstacles today.
Do something about them, Brown said. Speak up and have a voice.
Brown asked the crowd about what efforts they are making to foster change.
“What demands are you making for funding for your education?”
She urged students to take education seriously and use it for something good afterward. Have a social conscious. Stand up for what is right.
“The bowling alley access of yesterday is the charge of the battle of today,” Brown said.
There is no excuse to be caught off guard again, Brown said. Be open-minded about what is going on.
Refuse to be afraid of anything that might seem hard in the long run, Brown said.
“You must make the changes. You must make the changes happen. You must!”