The year 1968 brought with it Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s
assassination and the murder of Robert F. Kennedy. Here in the
Midlands, it was the Orangeburg massacre.
On Monday, nearly 45 years later, the Orangeburg community gathered
for a memorial service on the campus of South Carolina State
University to remember those who died.
At 59, Bobby Eaddy remembers February 8, 1968, like it was yesterday.
"The natural instinct is to hit the ground. I was actually on the
ground when I got hit," said Eaddy.
That was the day the then-17-year-old and many other South Carolina
State students were shot by the State Patrol.
"I was hit in the back. The bullet came across my chest. According
to my doctors the bullet came within inches of my heart. The clothes
I was wearing are credited with saving my life," said Eaddy.
Eaddy's life was saved. However, the lives of his friends, Henry
Smith, Samuel Hammond and Delano Middleton were not.
The three students were gunned down on the college campus after
protesting the town's segregated bowling alley, then, All-Star Bowling Lanes.
In addition to the three who were killed, almost 30 students were injured.
It would become known as the Orangeburg Massacre.
On the 42nd anniversary, Zachary Delano Middleton, who bears a
striking resemblance to his great-uncle, Delano, lights a candle.
"I think what I'm remembering the most is the opportunity, the
opportunity they never had, the opportunity I now have as a student."
Bobby Eaddy hopes students honor sacrifices of those who came before them.
"I have pretty well healed, both physically and emotionally. It's
not something everyone has healed from."
The bowling alley connected to the Orangeburg massacre 42 years ago
is long gone. Ironically, the only public bowling facility in the
entire city of Orangeburg is on the campus of South Carolina State University.
Monique Williams reports. To see the complete story, click on the
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