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The Latest: Orangeburg Massacre ceremony calls for fairness

February 8, 2018

ORANGEBURG, S.C. (AP) — The Latest on the 50th anniversary of the Orangeburg Massacre in South Carolina (all times local):

1:20 p.m.

Speakers say the best way to honor the three students killed in a civil rights shooting in South Carolina 50 years ago is to keep fighting for equality and fairness.

South Carolina State University held a ceremony in Orangeburg on Thursday to mark 50 years since white state troopers opened fire on unarmed black students during a civil rights protest.

Bakari Sellers, son of one of the organizers of the protest who was wounded and then unfairly charged with inciting a riot, told the audience America needs to be a place that cares more about health care for young black mothers than whether athletes stand for the national anthem.

South Carolina’s first African-American Highway Patrol commander, Christopher Williamson, says he wishes he could forget troopers fired on unarmed people. But instead he says the shooting reminds him of the importance that the law treats everyone fairly and equally.

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4:05 a.m.

South Carolina State University is marking 50 years since white troopers opened fire on black students in a civil rights protest by hearing from the son of a black man originally charged with causing a riot.

Bakari Sellers will speak at the Orangeburg campus at 11 a.m. Wednesday at the Smith-Hammond-Middleton Memorial Center, named for the three students killed in the shooting at the end of three nights of protests over a segregated bowling alley. Twenty-seven others were hurt, some shot in the back.

The troopers said they heard gunfire, but no weapons were found on students. Nine troopers faced federal charges but were acquitted. The FBI has refused to reopen an investigation.

Cleveland Sellers sent to prison on an inciting a riot conviction. He was pardoned 25 years later.

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