SC State University Presents the 42nd Orangeburg Massacre Commemoration with a Week of Activities

Monday, January 25, 2010

SC State University’s Student Government Association (SGA), in conjunction with the Henderson-Davis Players, present the 42nd Commemoration Ceremony of the Orangeburg Massacre with a week of activities beginning on Monday, Feb. 1, 2010. The Orangeburg Massacre week of activities is the first of its kind to commemorate the historical event.


The Orangeburg Massacre, which occurred on Feb. 8, 1968, resulted in the killing of three students and the serious wounding of 28 others by state police following student unrest related to picketing at a segregated bowling alley.


“The Orangeburg Massacre is an incredible piece of history that deserves to be fully commemorated,” said Zachary Delano Middleton, SGA president. “We thought that a week of activities would raise a significant level of awareness where someone will say I had something to do every day to remember the event,” Middleton continued.


Middleton’s great uncle, Delano H. Middleton, 17, was one of three victims whose life was claimed during the Orangeburg Massacre.  Samuel Hammond Jr., 18, and Henry Smith, 19, were also slain during the incident.


Included during the week of activities is the opening of the play “Taking a Stand,” the first live reenactment of the Orangeburg Massacre performed by SC State University’s Henderson-Davis Players.  The play comes one year after the premiere of the documentary, “Scarred Justice: The Orangeburg Massacre 1968,” which was produced by Northern Lights, a documentary production company in Boston, Mass. “Taking a Stand” gives a live portrayal of the Orangeburg Massacre incident and those involved.


Calhoun Cornwell, senior business management major and Orangeburg, S.C. native, is the writer and director of “Taking a Stand.”  Cornwell says he was inspired to write the play after viewing “Scarred Justice.” 


“I want everyone in the community, the state of South Carolina and abroad to be aware of what took place during the Orangeburg Massacre,” exclaimed Cornwell. “The play is a great way to not only commemorate the students that were involved, but to share the history with middle and high school students, especially during Black History Month,” he continued.


Cornwell admits that during the three months that it took him to write “Taking a Stand”, emotions of frustration and sadness often surfaced. He notes that his motivation came from knowing that the legacy of the victims will live on. 


“It was very emotional to sit down and write the play.  I often times went back and forth and changed many things along the way,” advised Cornwell.  “I want people to see and feel the emotions that were experienced by the students and their families during that time.”


Middleton, who will play his great uncle, Delano H. Middleton, shares the emotional sentiment. “I have to admit that the rehearsals and planning of the events have been overwhelming but more importantly aspiring.  I know there’s a purpose behind it,” added Middleton.


Fifty percent of the proceeds from “Taking a Stand” will go towards the SGA Orangeburg Massacre Social Mobility Book Scholarship, a need-based scholarship which assists students with the cost of books.


The Orangeburg Massacre week of events include the following activities:


Monday, Feb. 1, 2010
Movie presentation of the documentary “Scarred Justice: The Orangeburg Massacre 1968”
Where: I.P. Stanback Museum & Planetarium
Time: 7 p.m.
Cost: Free


Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2010
Campus Bowling Night
Where: K.W. Green Student Center
Time: 6 p.m.
Cost: Free


Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2010
Spoken Word Wednesday-Student Oratorical Contest
Where: K. W. Green Student Center (Bulldog Lounge)
Time: 7 p.m.
Cost: Free


Thursday, Feb. 4, 2010
“Taking a Stand” Stage Play
Where: Martin Luther King, Jr. Auditorium
Time: 7 p.m.
Cost: $5 for SC State Students with I.D. (Advance) and $7 (at the door)
           $10 General Admission (Advance) and $12 (at the door)


Friday, Feb. 5, 2010
“Taking a Stand” Stage Play
Where: Martin Luther King, Jr. Auditorium
Time: 7 p.m.
Cost:  $5 for SC State Students with I.D. (Advance) and $7 (at the door)
           $10 General Admission (Advance) and $12 (at the door)

Saturday, Feb. 6, 2010
The March for Progress
Where: K.W. Green Student Center Plaza
Time: 4 p.m.
Cost: Free


Saturday, Feb. 6, 2010
“Taking a Stand” Stage Play
Where: Martin Luther King, Jr. Auditorium
Time: 7 p.m.
Cost:  $5 for SC State Students with I.D. (Advance) and $7 (at the door)
           $10 General Admission (Advance) and $12 (at the door)


Monday, Feb. 8, 2010
42nd Orangeburg Massacre Commemoration Ceremony
Where: Martin Luther King, Jr. Auditorium
Time: 4 p.m.
Cost: Free


For ticket information for the play, “Taking a Stand”, call (803) 536-8815, or (803) 378-1917.