SC State to hold Orangeburg Massacre commemorative events; Attorney Benjamin Crump to keynote

Attorney Benjamin Crump

SC State will host events to commemorate the 51st anniversary of the Orangeburg Massacre on Feb. 6-8. The theme for this year is “Celebrating the Progress and Sustaining the Promise.” The tragedy remains etched in the history of the university, the Orangeburg community and beyond, but leaves a legacy of strength that has proven to be unwavering.

On Feb. 8, 1968, after three nights of escalating racial tension over efforts by students of then-SC State College, Claflin College and others to desegregate the local All-Star Bowling Lanes, three students were killed and 28 others injured when S.C. highway patrolmen opened fire on a crowd of unarmed protesters on the SC State campus. Those fatally wounded were SC State students, Henry Smith and Samuel Hammond, along with 19-year-old Wilkinson High School student, Delano Middleton.

Prominent civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump will serve as the guest speaker for the Commemoration Ceremony, which will be held on Friday, Feb. 8 at 11 a.m. in the Martin Luther King Jr. Auditorium at SC State.

Following Friday’s ceremony, a wreath laying and memorial flame lighting ceremony will be held at the Legacy Plaza, where a monument serves as a tribute to the students who lost their lives during the Orangeburg Massacre.

Commonly known as the attorney for the families of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, Crump has established himself as one of the nation’s foremost attorneys and advocates for civil rights and social justice. He has successfully battled to protect constitutional rights at the local, state and federal levels, using his advocacy skills and the high profile of the cases to provide a voice to those long silenced and hope to those pushed to the outside.

Crump is the founder and president of Ben Crump Law, PLLC and the CEO of the Benjamin Crump Social Justice Institute. He also serves as the president of the National Civil Rights Trial Lawyers Association.

In addition, he is the host of legal docudramas, “Evidence of Innocence” on TV One and “Who Killed Tupac?” on A&E. He can also be seen on Fox’s “You The Jury.” His CrumpWatch column, which is a legal essay on law, society and culture, appears on He portrays legendary civil rights attorney Z. Alexander Lobby in the movie, “Marshall” and appears in BET’s “I am Trayvon.”

Crump received his law degree from Florida State University’s College of Law. He is married to Dr. Genae Angelique Crump, and is the proud father of Brooklyn Zeta Crump and legal guardian to Chancellor Isiah Crump and Jemarcus Olajuwan Crump.

Additional activities for the Orangeburg Massacre commemoration include:

Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2019

Book Signing and Panel Discussion

“Outside Agitator: The Civil Rights Struggle of Cleveland Sellers Jr.”

Author, Adam Parker and Cleveland Sellers will discuss the book and the history of the American Civil Rights Movement and current social issues

Time: 4 p.m.

Location: Fine Arts Building, Barbara Vaughan Recital Hall

Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019

Screening and Panel Discussion of attorney and CNN political commentator Bakari Sellers’ documentary, “While I Breathe, I Hope”

Bakari Sellers and film director Emily Harrold will discuss the film that captures Bakari’s journey and bid for the position of lieutenant governor.

Time: 1 p.m.

Location: Fine Arts Building, Barbara Vaughan Recital Hall

Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019

Student Reenactment Protest

Orangeburg Massacre survivors, students, alumni and community will gather to march from the campus student center to the former All-Star Lanes.

Time: 4 p.m.

Location: K.W. Green Student Center

All events are free and open to the public. For more information, contact Davion Petty at (803) 516-4599 or [email protected].


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