South Carolina State University is planning for its 49th annual commemoration ceremony for the event that has come to be known as the Orangeburg Massacre.
The ceremony will be held at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 8, in the Martin Luther King Jr. Auditorium.
On Feb. 8, 1968, three students were killed and 28 others were injured when South Carolina Highway Patrol troopers opened fire.
S.C. State students Henry Smith and Samuel Hammond, along with 19-year-old Wilkinson High School student Delano Middleton, were killed.
It followed three nights of escalating racial tension over students’ efforts to desegregate All-Star Triangle Bowl on Russell Street.
This year’s ceremony will feature activist, educator and historian Dr. Millicent Brown as the guest speaker.
She co-founded and serves as the project director of the Somebody Had to Do It Project, a national initiative that identifies the “first children,” like herself, who desegregated previously all-white schools.
Brown, a former associate professor of history and sociology at Claflin University, was one of the first to integrate Charleston County schools.
Special recognition will be given to Jack Bass, journalist and author of “The Orangeburg Massacre,” and Trinity United Methodist Church. They will be acknowledged as recipients of the 2017 Smith-Hammond-Middleton Social Justice award.
This marks the third year that the university will present the award to an individual or organization that has demonstrated a commitment to eliminating injustice.
Times and Democrat Publisher Cathy Hughes will deliver the greetings.
S.C. State President James E. Clark as well as Claflin University President Dr. Henry N. Tisdale will provide reflections following Brown’s remarks.
Dr. Rosetta Dingle, S.C. State assistant professor of music education; Bobby Harley, an S.C. State alumnus, and Dr. Lori Hick, Claflin University assistant professor of voice and opera, will perform during the ceremony.
A candle-lighting and wreath-laying ceremony will conclude the program in Legacy Memorial Plaza.