Virtual Lunch and Learn: Striking for Racial Justice

the University of South Carolina. Thank you for joining us for today’s virtual lunch and learn discussion entitled striking for racial justice. Established in 2015 the Center for civil rights history and Research in partnership with the college of arts and sciences and the university libraries sees the document, teach and promote the long struggle for civil rights In Colombia around South Carolina and across the country through exhibits, tours, training sessions, archival collections and programs such as today’s virtual discussion, we connect the past and the present as we work to foster awareness advocacy and action around contemporary social justice struggles. Our program today is inspired by a national scholar strike that is taking place today, it is designed to address Incidents of police brutality, and is designed to call attention 2 The ongoing need for racial equity and justice This strike was conceived by a tweet by Professor Anthea Butler Who was inspired by the actions of professional athletes? This strike is designed to call awareness to the racial climate in America. The rash of police shootings and to the long legacy of racialized violence in this nation at the civil rights spinner we believe that awareness, advocacy, and activism must be informed by the investigation of the past and an examination of earlier struggles and acts of resistance. So joining us today for this virtual discussion About civil rights in South Carolina and about the legacy of strikes and collective action, I am pleased to be joined by Jennifer Melton to program manager with the center for civil rights, history and research and doctor Ramon Jackson the African American heritage coordinator for the south Comma Department with Archives and history So we’ll begin with conversation with Professor Jackson who has done extensive research on the long black freedom struggle in South Carolina with particular attention to the world of students as activists over the 20th century So, professor Jackson thank you for being with us today, let’s begin by sharing a little about your own research more generally, and then we’ll delve into some specific details of what you’ve uncovered Good afternoon, thank you guys for for giving me an opportunity to participate in today’s event thank you to everyone that’s watching right now and Solidarity to all of the scholars who are participating in today’s call are strike. I’m not part of academia but I stand with you having come from that experience that environment and I truly understand some of the difficulties and problems that exist there. So solidarity to everybody that’s involved in today’s caller strike When I first came to the Department of History at the University of South Carolina, one of the things that kind of sparked my interest in this study of the long black freedom struggle in South Carolina was an experience I had with you, doctor Donaldson, working as co historian for Columbia, SC 63 and so we did all kinds of programs exhibits, public lectures, and events that ighlight it long forgotten. Chapters Anri Examine those that we thought we understood within the civil rights movement in South Carolina and after leaving and taking stock of what? we had done, one of the things that jumped out at me was just how little recognition there had been of the role of students within the long civil rights movement in the state, not just those in the 1960s movement that much more known because of the programming that we put together in what you guys have continued But the longer history of Student involvement, youth involvement in freedom protests in South Carolina stretching back to before the depression, and so I just kind of got in my mind to start investigating. Start looking through newspapers, start looking through some of the archives at our local HPC use and what I found was a Really untilled field of articles and a yearbook mentions anan photographs featuring these young people who were protesting to expand their basic humanity on campus and off as early as the mid 1920s at places like Alan University and ict College, for example. And so I started tracing these stories forward and found

numerous examples of black students Black youth Leading the charge not just against white supremacy and racial capitalism off campus but to expand opportunities for education. Extracurricular activities the basic freedoms that one should have as a person on these campuses throughout the 20s thirties and 40s and Beyond. And so I’ve ish my dissertation, which is the study of the long black student movement, an one of the chapters in particular I think, fits into our conversation today and I hope will get the chance to talk about it because I did an examination of a student strike at Voorhees College in 1969 where a group kind of black nationalist organizers on campus within a group called the black Awareness Coordinating Committee, basically took over the library administration building with guns and held the building for a day and a half before they were Before they surrendered prior to removal by a battalion of National Guardsmen and so this kind of forgotten chapter within this late In our civil rights, movement has connections o what was ongoing in Charleston with the hospital strike. What was happening at on campus is both predominately white and historically black across the state an I think it some examination in further examination will kind of provide us with some insight into how our state apparatus responds to threats against the status quo both on campus and within our communities So very often when people talk about the student movement it is pivoted around what happens in the spring of 1960. But you join a group of scholars have suggested there’s a longer legacy and you’ve mentioned two specific historically black colleges, Allen University, Ann Benedict College in Columbia, SC. And you’ve uncovered that prior to World War two, probably the Great Depression there was already a birding student movement on those campuses that included strikes. Share without viewers What transpired on those campuses during those early? years of the 20th century? The existing literature as it stands really kind of gives a great deal of credit and rightfully so to the NAACP for being the catalyst for civil rights activism during the long depression era of the 20s or the late 20s and 1930s decade But one of the things that I found was that students were active on their campuses ere active on their campuses creating organizations even without the permission campuses They were pushing to expand the boundaries of what was possible as students and human beings on those campuses, and so let me clear this up. Make sure you have an understanding. If you were a black student on the campus of Allen University of Benedict college between say 1925 and 19 940, you had very limited freedoms in terms of what you could do. There were really strict regiments in terms of when you woke up where you studied what you ate, well, how you were shipped where you could travel in the city in part due to the cultural segregation that existed but in in you know other other for other reasons because of the way that people conceived young people in college students during that period and so students at allen university and benedict college participated in several strikes in 19 29 a group of black students at bennett college led by charles bailey who was the who was supposed to be the plane of later lawsuit uh to desegregate the university of south carolina law school he led a cohort of his students in a shutdown at benedict college which basically closed the campus for a week an opened up new opportunities for students to participate in clubs the creation of yearbooks and campus newspapers and also open up some opportunities for changing the structure of what was called sunday chapel or vespers at the time so students had some options in terms of whether if they could get permission from administrators so this may seem small in terms of the context of civil rights but one of the things that we have to understand is that for participants in these early movements it was all about stretching the boundaries of what was possible where they happen to be so if they couldn’t expand those boundaries off campus because the kind of rigid state of segregation in colombia in cities around the state they had to do what they could to expand those freedoms in those liberties in those basic? um kind of rights as human beings where they were on campus and so these students

at benedict college and then later at allen university in the late 1930s turned their attention to the practices of administrators and how they were treated as relatively adult students on these college campuses but there were connections to what was on going off campus as well in the case of allen in the late 1930s students kind of spoke out against an effort to install a president by the name of um FG FG dent and so what they argued was that not only was this an affront to their kind of status and their their right to self determination on campus it was a symptom of racial accommodation and this kind of conservative mindset in pushing back against white supremacy off campus and so those students in 19 39 again shut the campus down for almost a month uh push for the installation of a brand new president of that they chose which essentially happened a year later with the installation of samuel higgins and that whole movement had student representation as a part of that selection process but the side effects it’s called back for a moment because I think people may miss the gravity what you’re saying so you’re saying in the heart of the great depression students an african methodist episcopal school Shut down operations for a month That’s great yeah los angeles and most people have no idea this occur yeah most people have no idea that this happened uh an and this was the catalyst in many ways for the creation of the south carolina state NAACP conference modjeska simkins john mcrae wrote extensively about this student protest marveling at the kind of vigor an the outspoken ness of these students as they took on this administration which was you know relatively entrenched and extremely powerful um around the state not just on campus but within the church structure itself and so as a result of these student activists speaking out shutting down the campus winning concessions that allowed them to expand what was possible on their campus you saw adult leader start to kind of think more seriously about what was possible off campus and so again the state conference was founded on the campus of benedict college that’s not an accident these e institutions were safe spaces uh for this type of a debate and organization to take place and in many respects adult leaders look to the activities of young people and college students for inspiration in terms of what was going to happen next so of course our conversation today is shaped and inspired by this national scholar strike an your tip you’re talking now about the active role and activism of students in the twenties and thirties what was going on among the faculty at places like allen and benedict during that period of time where they largely indifferent conservative or do they engage and endorse the struggles of students it was a mixed bag um there are a couple of really great text jelani favors new book um sheltering in a time of storm talks about this idea of a second curriculum where faculty and their and their students with kind of formulate new ideas about protest and activism anan black NCIS within those student teacher relationships and you saw evidence of this in at Allen at Benedict at State College uh in other HBC use around the south which were kind of catalyst for those early civil rights movements during the 1940s but there were other faculty who kind of looked askance at at what was happening who were part of a more kind of victorian tradition of black education who look to the hampton model more than ada boise and model for example for how black students were supposed to be trained and educated and and kind of assimilate it within the capitalist system in america so you know it was a mixed bag but in many respects the the successful movement at allen was was was made possible in part by support from more secular and progressive members of the of the IME church folks like doctor mantz for example who kind of supported these students and advise them on ways to kind of speak out against the administration without endangering their education one thing that I want to make clear since this conversation is about police brutality? the police were present as a force on public and private historically black campuses from

their very inception they police those grounds regularly when these movements sprang up they were always brought in to kind of quell dissent in the case of the allen movement for example there were 6 students arrested one of whom was was um Mr. kennedy arthur kennedy who became a member of the google class at south carolina state law school after he left the military for various reasons and so you know the police were always used as a way to not only protect capital but to stifle dissent they they would often bring in white supremacist politicians like coleman blease for example who made an appearance during the allen strike an for you know keeping it clean referred to the students as dogs and chastise them or what he thought was embarrassing the allen community and so you know why is supremacist politicians the kind of law enforcement apparatus was always present it was always a threat whether the students were on a public or private campus so to move forward the allen students particularly so in 1956 you’ve documented well the student strike at south kind of state that was endorsed by students at allen and benedict college what was going on in the 1950s that sets the stage for the real the real burst of student activism in early 60s so sometimes state college orangeburg south carolina student strike against what and what transpires well the the mid 50s silver writes a movement was really a catalyst for what took place at south carolina state college in claflin university in the mid 1950s the push to desegregate public schools after brown was met with uh you know economic terror violence a great deal of resistance on the part of whites and orange bird claredon counties in other parts of the state and so recognizing the threat not only to their parents and their loved ones uh in the surrounding communities black students on campus south carolina state college began their own counter boycott of white merchants in particular who were members of the white citizens council that were vendors they own businesses that were vendors to south carolina state college in claflin university and so they basically went on food strikes they organized a boycott of classes in 1956 the leader of that uh that boycott was fred moore who later became an attorney with the NAACP anna prominent activist in the 50s went on uh but you know these movements were kind of parallel in many ways but there were moments where they intersect it and they usually intersected on the campus is a black colleges and universities or PW eyes by the 60s once things desegregated and the other reason that students began to speak out was that they were extremely upset with the kind of autocratic rule of one person in particular doctor bender see turner who was the president of South Carolina State College He was appointed by the governor, so again you have kind of example of state control of a public black institution, and so he ruled the campus with an iron fist and instituted rules and regulations that left him as in many respects, the kind of sole arbiter of Justice or injustice on campus when students would be up for expulsion. For example, there was no committee that one went to plead their case. They went straight to the president And he decided that it was time to go. It was time to go, and the governor and the All White Board of trustees would back him up. And so he ruled that campus with an iron fist for almost two decades before later movement in the mid 1960s, known as the cause resulted in his eventual resignation And so again, these movements intersect their parallel in many ways, but when they intersect it’s usually the students who are pushing for change who are operating to the left of their adults and who are really agitating in ways that are kind of novel and then also kind of recycle some of the old techniques and traditions of earlier movements. So from afar listeners and viewers as we move along. If you have questions for our Speaker today please feel free to place those in the QA chat box here on this platform

So doctor Jackson of course you are well informed about what transpires in Denmark SC in the spring of 1969 and very often when people tell the story about voorhees we’re reminded that many of the many of the leaders of the state were fearful that voorhees would be a repeat of Arzberg February of 1968, so for viewers who may not know the Did they chronology of the timeline? What transpired? between February of 1968? In the spring of 1969 between Orange Berg and Denmark, SC One of the things that I thought was really kind of a shortcoming of the literature on South Carolina’s movement during the 60s was that there’s really no mention of black power. I am stunned when I read these studies of one of the states with the greatest black population and there’s no mention of black power. Black natural is organizing black politics. It’s almost if history stops at 1966 And then there’s this kind of appendix. That’s the Orangeburg massacre And then we move on into some kind of pluralistic desegregated, dignified society anan. I’m here to tell you that if you look at the Post Orange Berg movement, you see countless examples of poor blacks working class blacks kind of more radical members of the black middle class speaking out about the shortcomings of desegregation An and the brutality of law enforcement and the negligence of state officials in terms of health care education and all of the things that one needs to live a prosperous life. So on that note, after orange berg, what happens is the following month there’s mass protest on the grounds of south carolina statehouse e, March 7th, 1968, the leaders of this march were students there were students from South Carolina State College Launch burg. You also had a student from Claflin University Allen Benedict and they were t of town out of state students from mississippi in north carolina ina, North Carolina A&T in particular. Who came to the Statehouse to protest? against the violence that took place in Orange Bird? That was not an isolated incident. The Orange Bird assacre was a catalyst for black campus organizing all over the country. You had students at Howard University for example, who issued what was called the old Orangeburg ultimatum to administrators before shutting down administrated administration building that same month, you had students at North Carolina A&T before they came to participate in the protest at the Statehouse, who held mock funeral processions through downtown downtown Greensboro Expressing solidarity with black students in Orange Bird at voorhees. You had protests on campus not just against what happened in Orangeburg, but against the presence of Governor Robert Mcnair who had come to the campus to take a tour to get a sense of some of the changes that had taken place over the previous five years. So students were already in motion an the Orangeburg massacre was really a catalyst for greater black student activism all over the country especially in the Deep South So for people who may not know what was the Orangeburg massacre, what transpired, and? why is it not widely known? The Orangeburg massacre was an event took place on February 8th, 1968, shortly after a protest at a Bowling Alley A private bowling alley to all star lanes in downtown orange Berg students erupted into protest. There they were assaulted by police. They fled back to campus where they held a nighttime rally complete with bonfires and fireworks The students were gathered there to kind of express their discontent with continued segregation In the city of Orangeburg. Now mind, this is for years after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 19 4. Four years had passed, and that act had not been enforced in places. Orange bird you still saw, continued segregation in businesses in downtown Columbia. I did a great interview with Luther Batiste who was a student activist at the University of South Carolina, where he talked about being a freshman in a dorm on campus, leaving campus to go to a local restaurant Basically threw him out because he was black and segregation was still the law of the land, even in downtown olumbia and so the students return to campus they hey mailed about. They had a series of vocal protests and then eventually the South Carolina Highway

Patrol arrived on campus. They formed a kind of Phalanx in front of the students and then according to different stories, either a firework with Went off One of the patrolling was hit with a banister or they just simply decided to open fire without kind of notifying anyone to disperse, but the end result was the shooting of dozens of students. Three were killed. Samuel Hammond Junior Delano Middleton, and Henry Smith, all of whom were students at South Carolina State College, and so, as a result of this murder of let’s call it what it is, it was murder you had black campus activists All over the country speaking out against police brutality against the racial constitution of higher education as it existed about the need for black colleges in particular to become truly black universities embracing black culture having books on campus that spoke to the hit. The long history of Africa and African Americans and the hiring of black faculty and staff to teach these rising numbers of students on these campuses and so Can this was a catalyst along with the assassination of Doctor Martin Luther King junior that really sparked a great deal of black campus activism all over the country But most specifically here in South Carolina so we’re gonna go back for a moment. So there is there is there is footage? There are photographs. There are investigations of what transpired in Arzberg three people were killed. Dozens and dozens were woon did in the back on their feet, but of those Highway patrolman how many of them were convicted? 09 were tried in March of 1969 a month before the voorhees uprising, a month before the Charleston hospital strike. A couple of weeks before protests in Hampton County over continued poverty and the lack of voter registration so again, all of this is kind of interlinked, but they were tried and they were found not guilty by an all white jury Anna much of that verdict was kind of rendered Based on really a false statements that were made on the stand up or evidence there was one juror who was African American that was struck from the jury, which was a common practice in these types f racial trials which might have altered d the verdict if she was allowed to stay And so the state apparatus went to great lengths during the late 60s to quell dissent to kind of uphold Racial capitalism and to really maintain the status quo weather on campus or off and It’s an apparatus that still active now as we’ve e seen in the protest after death of George Floyd. What’s ironic is within days of the tragedy, the massacre in Arnsberg Doctor King sends a letter to the FBI calling forward investigation of the excessive abuse of state police And of course, that investigation never To this day has a curd that’s right a man doctor Cleveland Sellers who you’ve had on as a guest in several programs He makes an eloquent case in several studies for a truth and Reconciliation Commission To find out what actually happened that fateful night in Orange Bird, Cecil Williams has made the same call a great photographer who’s located in Orange, Bergen, started his own museum He has a fantastic book of photographs from this period called orangeburg 68 uh which also has a really detailed recounting of what happened during the build up to that protest and those shootings and he makes the same call for a push to find out what actually happened I think as more time passes and you know that generation kind of fades from the scene you know those calls will probably uh you know grow more faint and that’s a concern because if a state law enforcement agent agency can get away with shooting students in cold blood on a public african american campus there’s no telling what else they may be able to get away with it and of course cleveland sellers it was one of those persons wood it and he was convicted of starting a one man riot in courts and what was ironic about sellers you mentioned the erasure a black power in south carolina he was labeled

quickly as a black power advocate and outside go back to that other picture you just you just posted another picture in this in this one this is another point I want to kind of emphasize here this one right here yeah no go back up that one right there with a government near meeting with the students in March of 1968 Not this one the next one so this right here sir photographs that are housed some of the archival collection university mini were in negatives buried literally in the state newspaper until very recently yeah and see this was a meeting of uh students who were members of the black awareness coordinating committee at state college these black awareness coordinating committees were in many many respects the kind of next phase of um campus organizing that was that was enacted by former members of the student nonviolent coordinating committee who came to the deep south to organize black students on campus doctor cleveland sellers who I mentioned earlier george where helped organize a group students on the campus of the university of south carolina in a number of other kind of grassroots organizers would have these kinds of meetings and bull sessions and study sessions with black students who were interested in black power black nationalism and in the history of black people and so these students are meeting with governor mcnair in the aftermath of orange berg and on the other side of the door are members of the highway patrol anan law enforcement who are basically guns at the ready waiting for something to happen during this meeting uh luckily it didn’t occur no violence occur during this protest except for a couple of students from USC who got into some skirmishes with local police outside the statehouse and were arrested and so you know this moment really gives you a sense of how how nervous state officials were about maintaining the state’s reputation for moderation and and racial civility and racial piece in the face of impassioned pleas for economic equality for racial equality for social justice you know they were always willing to use violence if they deemed it necessary and I think that’s something that activist today should understand as we move forward? so if south carolina had a reputation as a place of moderation in the spring of 1968 what would prompt an armed takeover of historically black college campus in denmark south Carolina less than a year later? well I mean again the the campus movement at voorhees was you know yet another example of what’s now referred to as the black campus movement uh this kind of nationwide push on the part of black college students to kind of revise the racial constitution of higher education both at predominately white institutions an more specifically HPC use the situation at voorhees was very similar to what we saw at south carolina state college during the during the preceding decade um voorhees college was actually in danger of closing during the early 1950s but base due to the leadership of doctor john potts who was former principle of avery and a man by the name of J kenneth morris uh reverend and a marriage counselor who doubled as chairman of voorhees college they were able to grow the college you know they were excellent fundraisers and they painted this kind of picture of the college as the kind of nexus for the creation of the black middle class in orange bird in denmark right so they played up uh you know the respectability the kind of gentility of the community the civility the students were often depicted wearing tuxedos and ballgowns during prom rather than the afros that were commonly visible at on other campuses across the country they would have um you know rules that were in place that were reminiscent of you know say 30 or 40 years earlier where students had to go to chapel they had 2 there was mandatory class attendance there were no books in the library that dealt with black history as it was being kind of redefined during that era there was no black studies program and so in many respects they were able to grow the campus by kind of painting this picture of voorhees college as a place that produced uh you know kind of docile workers and those who would make up

the black middle class moving forward and so there was a group of students on campus led by cecil razor who’s pictured here on the left if you’re the fella hope holding the microphone who were not only outraged by the lack of attention to black culture or what was becoming black culture at the time but they were also upset with what they saw was an administration they had sold them out um much of the black campus organizing that took place on these campuses around the state was a direct result to the experiences that many of these students had as the first group of students to desegregate white high schools around the state so I’ll give you an example one of the participants in the protest is a man by the name of oliver francis really good friend of mine he was one of 14 students to desegregate walter borough high school uh in in collin county he’s actually pictured here on the right holding the rifle we sat for several hours in his house and he shared stories about the violence and the humiliation and the difficulties he had as one of those first 14 students to desegregated all white high school he carried that anger with him to voorhees but he shared with me that he really didn’t have a means of expressing it and so his roommate robert right um who actually lived in a home that belonged to cleveland sellers uncle introduced him to other students with them back and gave him a kind of language in an ideology to think about race and class and the experiences that he had had which gave him kind of something to grab onto something to believe it and so he joined the back movement they began to speak out against the kind of middle class kind of white eurocentric culture that was being kind of promoted by by the administration and they essentially took the campus over in 1969 cecil razor was elected student government association president so the SG a budget became the back budget they began hosting different events on campus where students could learn about black culture and and learn about black cultural nationalism and they would have these bull sessions and informal study sessions where they reading the cutting edge literature of the period an you know as a result of orange berg they got the idea that to to create some kind of change on a campus that was that was really you know not moving forward in the way that they saw it should they should do something dramatic they d by Cornell a couple of weeks earlier of weeks earlier students at cornell took over the administration building with guns and successfully want a series of demand so they felt like this was an opportunity for them to do the same Um so on April 28th at noon after AA kind of lengthy week of planning the students took over the library administration building with guns um oliver francis was one of the first to enter the building and the librarian at the time clock green called him over to his desk and said listen son before y’all take over the library administration building I need you to get me a roast beef sandwich from the dining hall and so frances realizing that you know they were onto him go to the dining hall grabs a baloney sandwich comes back and says hey man I couldn’t get your roast beef I got this baloney sandwich here for you and so claw green realizing he was serious jumps up grabs his briefcase runs from the building other students flee as well after being told what was going to happen but some state one of the things that was really interesting about this protest was that in the year and a half leading up to it you had this group of conservative students Who were really loyal to the administration, pushed back against backs, public statements? about the college, who question some of the assertions? that they made about the type of education that students were receiving? but you saw in on April 28th, 19 9, folks that started to change their mind that each ends the study sessions. The conversations in the dorms, all of that played a role in kind of galvanizing. A larger number of students to participate And so you actually had some students who sympathize with back that decided to stay in the library that had no prior affiliation with the organization they hung in they participated in the siege and they were among the 35 that were e arrested the following day, once the National Guard arrived, but the governor the governor dispatched to National Guard to the campus

t’s correct, and one of the things that I found Really kind of striking about how this event has been interpreted as that most of the few studies that have been written on this topic prior to Martha Biondi’s work, which kind of touches on it in some detail. But the few that were written before really kind of framed this movement as unorganized as the product of wild kind of out of control students, an embarrassment to the college But what I saw was a group of young people who were reading the cutting edge literature to period who had a understanding of what they believe. That truly black university should be who issued rather sophisticated demands to the administration, everything from an increase in the minimum wage for college staff and its workers to the creation of a Black Studies program that taught the history of Both in Africa and the Americas to the creation of programs off campus to help single moms to provide health care to the elderly and the poor. To build a community organizations that helped poor blacks and Denmark who were struggling with generational inequality so these weren’t A disorganized folks, by any stretch they knew what they were doing. They were organized and they really made a powerful statement that in many respects has been overshadowed by the Charleston hospital strike and other events that took place during that same period. So will you use? that as a transition? So again, for our viewers, if there are any questions feel free to add those who are chat box so professor Jackson. You mentioned that as the students in Denmark Making demands are engaged. I strike the National Guard is deployed to Denmark SC. At the same time, there are other elements of the National Guard in Charleston addressing yet another strike with demands what? is going on in Charleston at the very same time? and again? Why is that a missing chapter? And so? much of the historical coverage of the black freedom struggle in this country And I’ll invite Jennifer Melton, joining as well with some of the resources she’s uncovered About the strike So one of the things that I think has been missed when we look at this period is that many of the studies of the Charleston hospital strike one They don’t put it into context with what’s? happening in the state. The Charleston hospital strike happens during the same week that the voorhees student strike occurs. So as you said, there are national guardsmen who are on route to Denmark at the same time they’re on the ground preparing to put the city Under curfew in Charleston. So these two events are more closely linked and then we realize in so in Charleston by of 1969, the Charleston ospital strike. It was already a month old you had 400 workers in the medical college hospital and the county hospital in Charleston who basically tried to form a union. A local chapter of 1199 feet, and so they did this to improve working conditions Raise wages an eliminate some of the humiliations and the discrimination that many of these black hospital workers had received as they were kind of integrated into the Charleston hospital system they enlisted. The help of the 1190 chapter in New York, which was one of these kind of remnants of 1930s Radical Union activism that was still prominent nationwide, and so they sent their whole leadership To Charleston and will contribute it almost $100,000 to the movement to build a union in the heart of the Deep South For them, this was an opportunity to test some of what they had been developing on the ground in New York in a different environment and if they could gain a foothold here, they believe that it would not only grow their movement exponentially but it would create a dramatic shift in wages and And generational wealth for black people across the region. And so in April of 19 9 April 25th, to be exact another group joined the fray, the SCLC the 99 chapter in New York, had a very close relationship with the SCLC most

people may not realize this, but Kereta Scott King, The idow of the late doctor martin luther king junior was not just his wife she was an activist in her own right right. She was in listed is the national conference director for 1199 B so she was a labor organizer so to speak and she en route river ralph abernathy who took over with SCLC andrew young a prominent young organizer with the group their leadership came to charleston as well the goal was to kind of merge these 2 movements to create a kind of union power and soul power kind of amalgam so amalgam, so to speak, where they would use this kind of tradition of black activism in the south to promote the need for economic change the SCLC by that point was really kind of speaking out for the need to create a system that was more equal economically they were pushing for higher wages better working conditions and end even a kind of guaranteed basic income for all americans that would kind of alleviate the growing wealth gap and so when they arrived in Charleston just like the students in voorhees they were met with stiff resistance not just from the state led by governor robert mcnair but from local whites in charleston who you know had bought into this myth of dignified integration and and city civility and so you know there was a great deal of pushback but as you can see you had thousands of poor black workers local black residents anan particularly black students from burke high school in other high schools around the city take part in marches protests and demonstrations that essentially shut the city down for several weeks and forced the governor to enact a citywide curfew just as he had in denmark and colombia after the king assassination so there was this photograph again remind viewers so this is not new york city it’s not birmingham is not montgomery this is Charleston in the spring of 1969 so jennifer r did. You could chime in your working now on continuing to exhibit A justice for also what new? sources emerge that help us document this critical strike in greater detail So this photo is from actually a collection that’s held at the Richland Library. Photographs of the state newspaper which had really some really great photographs at this period. An show up this particular images from what was known as the mother’s Day March, and I think that’s something that that’s really key here too. In the Charleston hospital workers strike is it? This is a movement led by black women. Most of the people who are involved in the striker, black women and most of the people who are leading it or black women. It’s perde actually mean it’s Evolve based on longstanding of discrimination of pay inequity but it really is spurred by a moment when 12 workers sit in at the president of the medical college. Charleston’s office sort of demanding to address their to have him address their demands, and that’s what sort of Spurs this strike, and eleven of those 12 workers are black women, and so I think that point is really key We actually have in our collections too, at the University of South Carolina in the McNair papers Handwritten list at the quote Unquote Magic 12 workers as well as their pay rates. So who? was sitting in that day and what they were paid? A man. It’s Ramon mentioned when credit Scott King comes to Charleston and she speaks there are some great footage in our in our collections as well With the moving image research collection of her speaking she draws particular attention to the plight of black working women and what they face. The thing that they’re facing ing which I think we’re seeing a lot of today and she said one of the things that she says that icks with me Is that a dollar 30 is not a wage is an insult so she’s talking a lot about sort of what? A lot f these workers are facing Anan mind you, $1.30 was not the federal minimum wage. OK, the federal minimum wage at the time was a dollar they were paying being paid $0.30 less than white hospital workers who were in many respects performing the same work and then they also had to endure all kinds of ratio insults epithets And these kind of other symptoms of the racial caste system that had yet to be broken down so there was a lot to this, I think the role of black women is ascential here because in every movement They are usually the lead organizers, they are usually the kind of catalyst for change an. This was no different

So doctor Jackson, I want to wrap up and then turned to R2R2R questions from those who are viewing. So in recent months this scholar strike has been sparked by the tragedies of this past summer. Anne and what is transpired? in this nation and as you have In stock of what? It has a curd As a teacher, what are the historical lessons for those who? are on the front lines today and Colombian around? this country who are battling for? social justice? What might be the takeaways from Denmark or Charleston? or Alan will benefit from the early part of the 20th century, so? what are the historical lessons from the research that you? ve conducted over the past decade? The biggest lesson to me is the power of militant community community organizing an using the available kind of political levers to create social justice, and one of the things that is important to note is that young people again from as early as 1925 here in South Carolina were at the forefront of these movements ange. They weren’t just kind of following the lead of adult leaders In organizers, they were doing it themselves so as a former instructor and into work that I do at the archives, one of the things I often tell young visitors is that you have the power to create this kind of change that we need so desperately. Don’t wait for adults to make the decision because earlier generations didn’t. An history caught up to them and so I think one of the most important lessons that I’ve learned in at I’ve learned in this research is that young people are powerful They’re not beholden to any of these political networks They are not as closely tide to places of employment, so there’s less risk of being fired or some form of economic terror as a result of activism that may not be as true today with the student loan situation but in many respects young people are able to do things as activists that folks in their 30s and 40s May have reluctance To do because of their particular situation, they don’t have kids, for example, so I think that the most important lesson that we can learn from this history is just how powerful youth and college students were and are, and eing that today, with images like the one that you guys have displayed here, the other thing that I think is important to note is Apparatus moves most violently When there is potential for Rachel and interracial coalition to create social and economic change One of the things that I’ve been struck by both in the late 60s and this current movement is just how willing state leaders are to use military force in surveillance and all of the tools in their kind of tool box of repression against our young people just for speaking out racial change in for social justice During the late 1960s, the presence of the National Guard or the state highway patrol unit was sually amplified when white e students were speaking out alongside those of color on these different campuses, USC for example, when black students and white students were speaking out against the Vietnam War, it resulted in all kinds of violence in front of the Russell House in the spring of nineteen, 7071. Between local law enforcement In a group of black and white students you saw the National Guard station, not just the HBC use e like like voorhees but they were present at furman were present at the University of South Carolina carolina they were they were present wherever these types of movements lourish, and so I would caution activist to understand that South Carolina may be built on manners and civility, and this reputation for moderation But make no mistake When property is endangered and when this status quo is under question, they will not hesitate. Use surveillance military force. All of these different tools in the toolbox to repress, change and slow it Jennifer, are there any queries from our audience today?

You so the first one is from Doctor Gerald Wilson If you can talk about why the Orangeburg massacre? was known in the black community but nationally did not receive the attention that Kent State did One of the things that I’ve kind of kind of come to understand about the way the state social movements here in South Carolina, that the media lays a huge role during the late 1960s the Post and courier the state to an extent, we’re kind of mouthpiece is for the state administration So right after orange bird, what you saw was that there was actually balanced coverage You had mainstream newspapers who flat? out said that the students were unarmed, that they were peacefully protesting, and then they were shot by state highway patrolman after Governor Mcnayr issued a statement. A few ays after Orange Berg, basically accusing the students of being not only aren’t but engaging in a shootout with highway patrolman, you saw these state media state media kind of pivoted and began describing the students as a rampaging There’s a Here’s a clip moving images research collection of one of the local television news stations Just describing the students that having gone on a rampage and then opening fire on the highway patrolman, then they were and then they died right and so the way the story was covered by black newspapers and white newspapers shape public opinion so you had folks like Nathaniel Abraham for example, who? covered Orangeburg extensively? Who continue to? kind of stress that black students were unarmed? and we’re really victims of white supremacist? violence by law enforcement? But the circulation of his paper was no match for the message that which could be reached by the post and courier. Another white newspapers in the state and you see similar patterns today, like for example flag issue. One of the things that kind of disturbed main recently was it was a story issued by the state newspaper where they describe the removal of the flag as the beginning of change And when I read that I said wait a minute, the flag was taken down twenty 2014 and here we are 2020 So when do we move from the beginning of change to? some actual change? And so you gotta be careful about how you read these stories and what and how they are interpreted because sometimes the media may mean but the message that they share kind of tilts public opinion one way or the other or shapes collective memory in ways that historians will have to clean up a little bit later down the road And we should also say to that literally much of these stories these images there are very many of the photographs were showing today were buried in negative files for 50 years and only recently are we now being able to process those review those anne tell a very different angle of what transpired in Denmark and Charleston. Arzberg in Colombia And even a place is as small and rural is Hampton County had these types of uprising right where you had? Yeah that’s right allandale the riot at the courthouse And so this type of vocal protest continued even after the hospital strike as late as 1976 you had 15,000 African Americans gather on the Statehouse grounds to push for an MLK holiday Kind of an extension of this black organizing and protest tradition There were countless protests here in Colombia, led by Redfern deuce the president of black on nation and Anna newspaper editor who constantly spoke out against police brutality and violations and violations of black bodies by law enforcement so this tradition 1969 after the hospital strike ended. It didn’t in 1976 It continues on an I would hope that activists Dig deeper into this energy into the history of intergenerational struggle and you gain an understanding from those who came before because they’re going to give you a really important perspective about how to not only speak out and create social change, but how? to survive because I think what? I’ve been struck by most is that this group of activists in large e measure the ones that I’ve met have survived some trauma but they’re still here And they are still active, and they’re able to tell their stories

and it’s up to us as historians to start bringing these out d let’s move the scholarship forward Hey Without any final questions Will do a one o’clock. I want to do it. One last question nd if we didn’t get to yours, I’m sorry we will try an see see if we can answer it in another way. But the final question was thank you from Jesse. Thank you for the presentation. How can I learn? about the history of political activism and South Carolina? Hbcu? So I’m going to take a minute to answer a little bit of that before I turn it over to Doctor Jackson, but I want to let about an exhibit but we have been working on last year’s on display called justice for all, and we’re in the process of turning that into a traveling exhibit an into an tive digital exhibit Traveling Cibulkova process data. South Carolina starting next year and the digital exhibit will be launched next year as well, where you can learn about South Carolina s role in the national civil rights movement in the meantime you can go our website at civil rights dot SC nd learn more about what we have in our collections here as well, doctor Jackson, do you want to add anything about flat state archives might have or where they can? learn? Yeah, absolutely out, hopefully I’ll get a chance to share a book list with you guys, but I do have a stack next to me. I see Doctor Donald donaldson has his books behind him. I had my next to me so if you’re interested in the kind of broader history of South Carolina civil rights through 1970, this book here tored the meeting of the waters is a great place to start so if you’re interested in just kind of starting down the path to learn more, I would start here. These are excerpts from a conference that was held in 2007 at the Citadel on the long civil rights movement in the state. There’s some great accounts from Former activists from historians in others that will give you a good sense of the lay of the land Two other books that I have next to me if you’re interested in the broader black campus movement of course, there’s this one here. The Black Campus movement by then, even Rogers. Today, Abraham X Candy For those of you who are familiar with his work on Anti Racism he cut his teeth at kind of tilling the field for us Scholars who are interested in black campus activism. So definitely want to pick that up. And then Martha Biondi’s book The Black Revolution on campus is another excellent study as part of the Black Campus movement literature and then lastly I would suggest this one here. Brand new book y Doctor Jelani favors shelter in a time of storm Really great study of the long history of black student activism at Southern HBC. Use excellent, excellent and then lastly but not least, there’s some good local studies. Of course we’ve got a couple of biographies The river of no return. Biography on life f doctor Cleveland Sellers and his role in as a scapegoat oat for the Orangeburg massacre and Jack basses book on the Orangeburg Massacre. One of the Great things about this one, in my opinion, is that it really gives you some great insight into the victims of the Orangeburg Massacre, who they were in the types of students and athletes they were really gives you a ure of why state college students love them so much and and ever responded in the way that they have over the years to what happened there so those are just a couple of the work of william hine on south carolina state university is excellent as well and lastly if you’re interested in white student activism in the south I’d recommend doctor michelle’s book struggle for better south talks about the southern student organizing committee which had a vibrant chapter at furman university in those activists experience very similar types of surveillance ance intimidation uh you know military shows of force to those that you know dealt with the same thing all black canvases so you know just a few there uh happy to answer any questions anyone may have they can contact me anytime but I hope this has been a good experience for everybody involved well uh doctor jackson were deeply grateful for provocative and inform a conversation today very proud of you and the work you’re doing as a reminder at this is in solidarity with a national scholar strike to learn more about what’s going on around the country visit WWW dot scala strike com jennifer is also told you about our own website and other resources but also to just take note on october the 13th at 6 o’clock PM will have a virtual entitled remembering the freedom rides we have a conversation with charles person and joan browning 2 of the freedom riders in 1961 1961 charles person came through Colombia in May of 1961, so he will tell him share his

memories of what transpired as again October 13th at 6:00 o’clock PM to all of you who joined us this afternoon. Thank you for your participation to our friends partment of information technology thank you for your support ur support. Have a good afternoon