On the occasion of Hillary Clinton winning the South Carolina primary, 2016, Marvin X presents his notes on visits to Gullahland, South Carolina. During the 60s, Marvin X spoke at Vorhees College, Denmark, South Carolina. During this time the Orangeburg Massacre of Black college students occurred, although most Americans only know of the Kent State massacre of White college students.
Shorty after Marvin's speech at Vorhees College, (a speech that was interrupted by the white College president who couldn't take any more of Marvin X. As we recall, the mike was snatched while he read Fable of the Black Bird, the number one story by Marvin X that is most loved throughout the South, even today!).
A few days after Marvin X departed Vorhees, the students revolted and the National Guard tanks rolled unto the campus. If our memory is correct, Vorhees students revolted shortly after the Orangeburg Massacre.
FYI, The Orangeburg massacre refers to the shooting of protesters by South Carolina Highway Patrol officers in Orangeburg, South Carolina, on the South Carolina State University campus on the evening of February 8, 1968. The approximately 150 protesters had previously demonstrated against racial segregation at a local bowling alley. Three of the protestors, African American males, were killed and twenty-eight other protesters were injured.The event pre-dated the 1970 Kent State shootings and Jackson State killings, in which the National Guard at Kent State, and police and state highway patrol at Jackson State, killed student protesters demonstrating against the United States invasion of Cambodia during the Vietnam War.
On this day, 45 years ago, three men were killed and 27 were wounded on the campus of South Carolina State College in a violent series of events that would become known as the Orangeburg Massacre.
According to The New York Times, on February 6, 1968, a group of students sought to integrate a local bowling alley that, at the time, only served whites. The alley's owner turned them away and called the police, leading to an encounter with officers which left some students bloodied and others needing to be sent to the infirmary at South Carolina State's campus nearby.
Two days later dozens of students gathered at the school, setting a bonfire in protest of the students' treatment by the bowling alley and brutalization by police. The fire department arrived, as did many officers, but what happened next remains unclear.
According to USA Today, one of the officers was hit with a banister thrown from one of the buildings. According to the News and Courier, it was reported that the students invited the officers fire "upon themselves by sniper fire directed at state patrolmen."
The officers then fired into the crowd, killing Delano Middleton, a high school student visiting the campus; Sam Hammond, who played football for the college; and Henry Smith, an ROTC student who was hit five times. 27 others were wounded.
In the subsequent trials and hearings related to the incident, no evidence of the protestors being armed was ever presented and none of the nine officers charged with crimes related to the shootings were ever convicted of any wrongdoing.
According to the Associated Press, the Orangeburg Massacre is being remembered on the campus of South Carolina State University today, through a panel discussion and a ceremony honoring the victims.
Scholars and men who survived the massacre have since expressed disappointment that what happened that night was never given the same kind of attention as other similar incidents on college campuses -- namely, The Kent State Shootings.
On this day, as we continue our Black History Month celebrations, we remember Delano Middleton, Sam Hammond, and Henry Smith. Their sacrifice lives on as an important reminder of how long and winding the road toward freedom and equality is in the United States of America.
The poet has gone to Beaufort, SC on several occasions over the years to write, hosted by his long time friend, Hurriyah Asar (Ethna X. Wyatt), his partner from Black Arts West Theatre and the Black House, political/cultural center, San Francisco, CA, 1966-67. We give you his impression of South Carolina.
From the Archives: Marvin X Speaks to the Gullah Nation, Beaufort, South Carolina, 2002
Theatre and Black House, political/cultural center, along with
Eldridge Clever and playwright Ed Bullins, 1966-67, San Francisco
This pic is from Black Dialogue Magazine, one of the critical
journals published in the Bay Area Black Arts Movement, along
with SoulBook, Journal of Black Poetry and Black Scholar.
Marvin X contributed to all the above journals, as well as
Negro Digest/Black World, Muhammad Speaks Newspaper
and Black Theatre Magazine, a publication of the New Lafayette
Theatre, Harlem, NY.
Hurriyah Asar on her land. She followed
her dream. Didn't let no man mess up
her dream of owning land. She has hosted Marvin X on several
occasion, providing him a writing retreat in beautiful
Marvin X spent his final day in Gullah land swimming in the Atlantic ocean off the coast of St. Helena Island. He listened to the pain of a mentally disabled Gullah woman who was camping near the ocean and was a friend of his host, Sister Hurriyah Asar, a landowner in Gullah country who is one of the Queens of the Black Arts Movement, having been a key player at Black Arts West Theatre in San Francisco and at the Black House/Political/Cultural Center, visited by the likes of Amiri and Amina Baraka, Sonia Sanchez, Bunchy Carter, Huey Newton, Bobby Seale, Lil Bobby Hutton, Eldridge Cleaver, Askia Muhammad Toure, Sarah Webster Fabio, Chicago Art Ensemble and others.
--Marvin X, November 12, 2002, Beaufort, South Carolina.
FYI, the last time Marvin X visited Gullahland, his friends told him not to say anything while there. "Just chill, don't say shit. We're not going to give you a book party or help promote your book. Go swim in the ocean." Since his hosts exhibited such fear of the white supremacy powers, he followed their request. He visited the Yoruba African Village in Sheldon and interviewed the new king or Oba.
One one occasion after completing the draft of his manual How to Recover from the Addiction to White Supremacy in Beaufort, he went to Staples to make copies. The clerk, a sister, asked where he was from? He said here. She replied, "No, you're not from here."
"Why you say I'm not from here?"
"Cause we don't say white ssupremacy down here. We know it, but we don't say it."