, In 1962 Sellers enrolled in Howard University.
The lack of justice and conflicting accounts of what had happened inflamed the racial divide between black and white residents of Orangeburg. Sellers was shot in the armpit. Cleveland became interested in the Civil Rights Movement with the murder of Emmett Till in 1955. A jury found none guilty of any wrongdoing. A highway patrolman then fired his gun into the air in an attempt to calm the crowd.  Sellers preached, and continues to preach, that the idea of black power was never meant to undermine white people, but simply was a concept meant to empower and celebrate the black community. Governor Robert McNair, supposedly one of the more moderate governors of the Deep South, insisted “Black Power” leaders were inciting the student unrest and called in the National Guard, tanks and all, to intimidate the students and squelch the anticipated violence. A few came up to Terrence Floyd, whose brother George died in the custody of Minneapolis police, sparking protests for racial justice across the nation. Sellers entered Howard University in 1963 and concentrated on his studies in compliance with his father’s wishes until his sophomore year.  He was very spiritually disciplined and took an "oath of poverty" after joining, forsaking education, family and pleasures of student life to focus on the movement. Three young men were shot and killed, and 28 people were wounded. On February 5, 1968, a small group of students from both SC State and Claflin went to All-Star Bowling Lanes to protest its whites-only policy. at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. During his tenure, he helped increase enrollment at the Historically Black College.
CHARLESTON, SC (WCBD) – Cleveland Sellers, Ph.D, a survivor of the Orangeburg Massacre, spoke during former Charleston Mayor Joe Riley’s class, “The Why and the How: The Making of the International African American Museum.”. He was the only person convicted and jailed for events at the Orangeburg Massacre, a 1968 civil rights protest in which three students were killed by state troopers. Repository: Avery Research Center Collection Description (Extant): The son of Cleveland and Pauline Taggart Sellers, Cleveland Sellers, Jr. was born in 1944 in Denmark, S.C., where his father was a businessman and his mother worked as a teacher at the South Carolina Area Trade School. In 2003, Governor Mark Sanford offered a written apology for the massacre. Speaking with emotion at a SC State memorial service to honor those lost in the massacre, he said, “We join here today in our own memorial to remember three dead and 27 injured in yet another massacre that marked yet another people’s struggle against oppression.
Cleveland Sellers was born on November 8, 1944 in Denmark, South Carolina.. Cleveland became interested in the Civil Rights Movement with the murder of Emmett Till in 1955. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. READ MORE: Segregation in the United States. NEW YORK (AP) — The murmurs spread quickly among the poll workers late Tuesday morning at a Brooklyn neighborhood station: George Floyd’s brother was present. doi:10.2307/j.ctvs32rk6.11. Cleveland Sellers with Robert Terrell, The River of No Return: The Autobiography of a Black Militant and the Life and Death of SNCC (Jackson: The University Press of Mississippi, 1990).  Sellers was presented with a historically correct Eagle Scout medal that would have been awarded in the 1960s at a special Eagle Scout Court of Honor at the 2010 Centennial National Scout Jamboree. A small donation would help us keep this accessible to all. He admire… Some have a theory that Sellers was actually the target of an assassination plot during the massacre, although this is factually unfounded.
A company of American soldiers brutally killed most of the people—women, children and old men—in the village of My Lai on March 16, 1968. The student protestors were joined by Cleveland Sellers, a native South Carolinian and civil rights activist. Required fields are marked *. He refused time and again stating it would offend his long-time clientele.
His activism, however, put him on the government’s radar and earned him a reputation as a “black militant.”.  Many group members didn't like the hard crack-down of the organization, but Sellers believed it to be the best way to make a change.
 Today he is its president emeritus and continues to be active in civil rights. , During his imprisonment he wrote his autobiography, The River of No Return, chronicling his involvement with the civil rights movement.
Cleveland Sellers [born November 8, 1944] in Denmark, South Carolina.
Sellers' conviction and the acquittal of the other nine defendants was believed to be motivated by racism, and Sellers received a full pardon 25 years after the incident. He was the only person convicted and jailed for events at the Orangeburg Massacre, a 1968 civil rights protest in which three students were killed by state troopers. Many took to the streets in protest and demonstrated in Columbia, South Carolina’s capital. In "The River of No Return: The Autobiography of a Black Militant and the Life and Death of SNCC", Cleveland Sellers and Robert Terrell trace both Seller’s own life and the struggles of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.  In 2008, Sellers was selected the 8th president of Voorhees College (Denmark, South Carolina), where he had graduated from high school.
Imagine her grandmother’s surprise when she found out that Nash wasn’t just ...read more. Ohio obituaries and death notices, 1985 to 2020. " Between the death of Till and a week-long summer retreat with church leaders who discussed racial inequalities in America, Sellers was mobilized about civil rights.
He focuses on the oral history of African Americans who shaped the history of South Carolina, including cultural groupings and the languages of Gullah, Creole, and Geechee.  He was not a student. He served as president of Voorhees College, a historically black college in South Carolina, from 2008 to 2015.. Do you find this information helpful? After graduating from Howard University in 1967, Sellers had returned to South Carolina with the goal of teaching students about black history.
By 1967, Sellers returned to South Carolina. At the age of 15, he was active for the first time with the Civil Rights Movement.
Sellers served seven months in prison after the massacre. And for others to think that we were wrong in the way we went about it…you would’ve had to have been in our shoes.”.
Survivors of the Orangeburg Massacre were determined the deaths of Hammond, Middleton and Smith would not be in vain. Find your ancestry info and recent death notices for relatives and friends. In 1999, many joined with white Orangeburg residents and called for healing in the community. Outside Agitator: the Civil Rights Struggle of Cleveland Sellers Jr. Hub City Press. © 1998 - 2020 Nexstar Inc. | All Rights Reserved. Sellers wasn’t so lucky: He was brought to trial in September 1970, but the state couldn’t prove he’d incited a riot at SC State on the night of February 8. Cleveland Sellers, The River of No Return (New York: William Morrow A jury found him guilty. , Sellers thought the philosophical tactics of the SNCC weren't working, and he instead wanted to implement extremely focused and achievable goals for the group. History of the Orangeburg Massacre. One such person was Harry Floyd, owner of All-Star Bowling Triangle bowling alley in Orangeburg, South Carolina. , Sellers was also one of the first members of SNCC to refuse to be drafted into the U.S. military as a protest against the Vietnam War. Cleveland Sellers and the River of No Return. He said "I couldn't see a difference between the two of us.
 Carmichael's house became NAG headquarters, where Malcolm X himself frequented and advocated to students about the idea of black nationalism, which often criticized MLK's entirely peaceful and inclusive stance.
This put the town in the unique position of having more educated blacks than some other southern states. “Keep the fight going,” one Black woman urged. It is a sad testament to our history that the word Orangeburg does not conjure the same. Growing up, Sellers had a great relationship with his parents, especially his mother. This Pulmonogist Thinks So. BlackPast.org is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization. Denmark was a town of mostly black residents, so much so, that as a child, Sellers was often blind to the privilege of whites. Sellers’s enthusiasm for the movement was tempered by his father’s adamant opposition to his participation.
, The ensuing trial, billed as the first federal trial of police officers for using excessive force at a campus protest, led to the acquittal of all nine defendants.
When they returned home, they felt beat down and as though nothing had been accomplished. After graduation, he returned to South Carolina, drained from the SNCC. Floyd refused them entry and they left peacefully; word of Floyd’s refusal spread across both college campuses like wildfire. While imprisoned, he wrote his autobiography, The River of No Return, chronicling his involvement with the civil rights movement. Celebrate and remember the lives we have lost in Alabama. Cleveland Sellers Death Fact Check Cleveland is alive and kicking and is currently 75 years old. The event became known as the Orangeburg Massacre and is one of the most violent episodes of the civil rights movement, yet it remains one of the least recognized. Browse obituaries, conduct other obituary searches, offer condolences/tributes, send flowers or create an online memorial. Kym Sellers is the President of The Kym Sellers Foundation, proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority incorporated, as well as the historical Olivet Institutional Baptist. Over two decades later, he was officially pardoned. Despite no solid evidence to support their claims, all the men were acquitted. There were no incidents. http://www.depauw.edu/news/index.asp?id=13829. Upon hearing the shot, other officers, thinking they were being fired upon, opened fire into the crowd of students.
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