Have We Learned the Lessons of Kent State?

Son of Orangeburg Massacre victim questions what we have learned from the past

Author, attorney and former South Carolina state lawmaker Bakari Sellers, in a recent interview with NPR, questioned whether the country has learned the lessons of the May 4, 1970, shootings at Kent State University.

Bakari Sellers
Bakari Sellers

Sellers was speaking on the topic of ongoing college campus protests during an interview with Michel Martin on NPR’s "Morning Edition."

Sellers is the son of Cleveland Sellers, who was one of 28 students wounded in 1968 when state police opened fire on Black students in Orangeburg, South Carolina, protesting a local bowling alley’s refusal to desegregate. Three students were killed in the incident, which came to be known as the Orangeburg Massacre.

Cleveland Sellers, a prominent student activist in the 1960s, was the only person convicted and jailed for the events at the Orangeburg Massacre. He received a full pardon 25 years after the incident and became a respected educator, serving as the president of Voorhees College, a historically Black college in South Carolina.

Bakari Sellers spoke of the lessons of Kent State, Jackson State and Orangeburg, during the interview.

“When you mix National Guard and militarized law enforcement with college students, it's not just about arrest records that travel with students for the rest of their lives, but you have a high propensity for violence,” he stated.

Listen to the full interview.


POSTED: Wednesday, May 15, 2024 04:32 PM
Updated: Thursday, May 16, 2024 01:12 PM
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