Cleveland Sellers

Orangeburg Memorial

One of the highlights of the trip was meeting Cleveland Sellers. Dr. Sellers was an important leader in the civil rights movement. Before going to South Carolina we got to learn about the Orangeburg Massacre from history professor, Wes Dick. The Orangeburg Massacre was a new topic to most of the people in the class, which was amazing because 3 students were killed and around 30 injured. The injuries happened during a riot where the students were protesting the segregation of the All-Star Bowling Lane. In the midst of those injuries was Cleveland Sellers. Dr. Sellers was later arrested, and convicted, for starting the riot(eventually pardoned).

Students at the memorial for the victims of the Orangeburg Massacre

During our time with Dr. Sellers he explained what had happened during the Civil Rights Movement and the strategies of organizing people within the movement. One of the things that impressed most us, was how much Dr. Sellers had accomplished in his life. He was influential in the Civil Rights Movement, obtained a PhD, and is now the president of Voorhees University. Also, his demeanor was very calm, but yet exciting. During Sellers talk, he did not seem bitter about the past but really wanted it to be a learning experience for future generations. Sellers also noted there is still problems in the state of South Carolina that need to be addressed. Overall, it was a great experience to listen to a firsthand witness of a historical event and a predominate leader within the Civil Rights Movement.

Dr. Cleveland Sellers signing a book for Professor Wesley Dick.

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