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45th Anniversary of Orangeburg Massacre

9:41 PM, Feb 9, 2013   |    comments
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Orangeburg, SC (WLTX) -- Friday marked the 45th anniversary of the Orangeburg Massacre where three young men were killed, including two South Carolina State University students.

"When they blew that whistle and start to shooting, all hell break loose then," said Harold Riley who is a survivor of the shooting.

On February 8, 1968 tensions rose from South Carolina State students trying to desegregate the city's only bowling alley. That night state highway patrolmen shot into a crowd of protestors.

'That night it was like open fire. The sky just lit up like daylight just for a short moment, but it seemed like forever," said William Pickering. 

Forty-five years later, William Pickering remembers it like it was yesterday.

"I could see his eyes rolling back and I just felt like he was going to die at that time," Pickering said.

Dr. Cleveland Sellers was arrested. Police said he started the riot. Riley, who was also shot in the attacks believes Dr. Sellers is alive because of a case of mistaken identity.

"Smith who looked just like Cleveland Sellers had an afro a lot bigger than on this picture here and the police department thought he was Cleve," Riley said.

And even after so long, Pickering doesn't believe he'll get closure.

"I don't think we'll ever get it," he said. "I don't think people really care sometimes. It looks like we just come here year after year just for the same celebration and no resolve."

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