Cleveland Sellers to Step Down as Director of Black Studies at the University of South Carolina

Forty years ago in 1968, black students at South Carolina State University in Orangeburg mounted a protest at a segregated bowling alley in town. On February 8, students lit a bonfire on campus. When police officers came to campus, one officer was struck in the face with a piece of wood. Officers then opened fire, killing three students and wounding another 27. The incident became 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 for the past seven years, he has directed the African-American studies program at the University of South Carolina.

Professor Sellers has announced that this June he will step down as director of the black studies program. He will remain affiliated with the University of South Carolina as a senior scholar-in-residence and a research professor of African-American studies.