It was February 8th, 1968. A crowd of students gathered on the campus of South Carolina State to protest segregation at Orangeburg’s only bowling alley.
After days of escalating tensions, students started a bonfire and held a vigil on the campus to protest. Dozens of police arrived on the scene.
The state troopers fired live ammunition into the crowd. When the shooting stopped, three students were dead, 28 wounded.
The three killed were 19-year-old South Carolina State students Henry Smith and Samuel Hammond, and 17-year-old high school student Delano Middleton, who came to South Carolina State every day after school to see his mom and get a bite to eat. Although the tragedy predated the Kent State shootings and Jackson State killings — it was the first of its kind on any American college campus — received little national media attention.
Human Rights and Equality
Sign up for Our Newsletter
Get updates about the policies and topics that matter the most to you. Progressive news directly to your email.