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Desegregation in South Carolina Schools: Orangeburg Massacre


Get a quick overview of the Orangeburg Massacre and browse SCPC's relevant holdings below.

Collection Connections

Box 27. The Adams v. Orangeburg court cases from March 20, 1964. 

Box 28. South Regional Council special report titled Events at Orangeburg, and the S.C. Task Force for Quality Education statement from February 16, 1968.

Box 47. Article titled "Dr. Payton: Orangeburg Fatalities Were Avoidable," written February 13, 1968.

Box 3. Contains response letters to West from the students at South Carolina State College, the coverage edition of South Carolina State College's newspaper The Collegian, The Lowcountry Newsletter including various accounts and interpretations, and West's letter to W.J. Dorn commenting on racial tensions.

Boxes 8, 30, 40, 57, 107 (clippings). Letters about government handling of the Orangeburg Massacre (1968), NAACP Petition (1968), and general information.

Box 9. Contains various records about Bass's book The Orangeburg Massacre (1970) including the manuscript draft and research materials with correspondence with Governor Robert E. McNair, Cleveland Sellers, Jr., and South Carolina State College students John Stroman and John Bogert.
Box 19. Contains general information on the Orangeburg Massacre.
Box 21-22 (audio-visual). Audio cassettes and disks with interviews relating to The Orangeburg Massacre.
Box 24 (clippings). Newspaper articles about The Orangeburg Massacre.
The collection also includes articles authored by Jack Bass about the Orangeburg Massacre (1978, 1983, 1998, 2001, 2003, 2006, 2013, n.d.).


About the Orangeburg Massacre

On February 8, 1968, South Carolina Highway Patrol opened fire on a group of approximately 200 protestors demonstrating against racial segregation on South Carolina State University's campus.

Racial tensions over segregation had been increasing in Orangeburg for some time. Students from South Carolina State University, a historically black college, had begun the protests in the fall of 1967. Students peacefully entered a local bowling alley, All Star Bowling Lane, to try to convince owner Harry K. Floyd to admit African Americans. He refused. The students returned on February 5, 1968, and were told to leave. They came back again the following day, and several students were arrested. Chaos broke out, and police beatings sent eight protestors to the hospital. Students continued to gather on the campus of South Carolina State University in protest of the segregated bowling alley.

On February 8, 1968, students started a bonfire at the campus. Police and firefighters responded to the fire, and, shortly after officer David Shealy was injured, South Carolina Highway Patrol Officers opened fire on the crowd. Twenty-seven people were injured, and three African American men were killed: Samuel Hammond, Henry Smith, and Delano Middleton.