Bowling Alley That Prompted Protests Leading to the Orangeburg Massacre Four Decades Ago Closes Its Doors

In February 1968 Harry Floyd, the owner of the All Star Bowling Lanes in Orangeburg, South Carolina, hung a sign in the window which read, “For Whites Only.” Students at nearby South Carolina State University, a historically black educational institution, mounted civil rights protests against the establishment. On the night of February 8, students marched from the bowling alley back to campus. There they were met by South Carolina state troopers. Although the events which provoked the confrontation are disputed, the troopers opened fire on the crowd of protesters killing three black students and wounding another 27 protesters. The event has become known as the Orangeburg Massacre.

Nine police officers faced trial for using excessive force. All were acquitted. The only person jailed as a result of the event was Cleveland Sellers, a black student who had played a role in organizing the demonstration. Sellers was later pardoned and now heads the African-American studies program at the University of South Carolina.

Now the bowling alley that prompted the protest has closed its doors. Recently known as the All Star Triangle Bowl, the establishment was owned by the same family that had been the proprietor in 1968. In 1996 the bowling alley was added to the National Register of Historic Places.