Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Veteren Activist and Author Kevin Alexander Gray in a Video Interview on the venal history of White supremacy and the Confederacy in his home state of South Carolina Plus Further Coverage of Bree Newsome Taking Down the SC Confederate Flag


Check out the video interview here with Kevin Alexander Gray about the venal history of white supremacy and the confederacy in his home state of South Carolina. Gray is a veteran black activist and author who is the former chairman of the state ACLU in South Carolina...


P.S.--Speaking of South Carolina: REMEMBER THE ORANGEBURG MASSACRE in 1968!

Kevin Alexander Gray
(photo by Patrick Bastien)


Bree Newsome Scales Flagpole, Removes South Carolina Capitol Confederate Flag

Monday, 29 June 2015   
by Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! | Video Interview 

UPDATE: Democracy Now! has confirmed Bree Newsome and James Tyson have been released.


Cornell William Brooks, NAACP President and CEO released this statement:

For 15 years, the NAACP has called for the removal of the Confederate battle flag and has maintained economic sanctions against the state of South Carolina. The NAACP, Governor Nikki Haley, a bipartisan coalition of policymakers, an expanding number of American businesses, and a courageous young woman named Bree Newsome are all united in opposition to the Confederate flag. Ms. Newsome temporarily removed the flag flying in front of South Carolina's state house. As well as supporting the permanent removal of the flag legislatively, we commend the courage and moral impulse of Ms. Newsome as she stands for justice like many NAACP activists including Henry David Thoreau, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and numerous Americans who have engaged in civil disobedience. The NAACP calls on state prosecutors to consider the moral inspiration behind the civil disobedience of this young practitioner of democracy. Prosecutors should treat Ms. Newsome with the same large-hearted measure of justice that inspired her actions. The NAACP stands with our youth and behind the multigenerational band of activists fighting the substance and symbols of bigotry, hatred and intolerance."

Around 5:30am this morning Bree Newsome climbed to the top of the flagpole flying the Confederate battle flag on the grounds of the South Carolina state capitol, unhooked the flag, and brought it down as police waited to arrest her.

Calls to remove the flag intensified after last week's mass shooting of nine African-American worshipers at the historic Emanuel AME Church. The flag has been the source of controversy for decades in South Carolina, but a growing number of politicians, including South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, are calling for its removal after photos were published online showing the accused gunman, Dylann Roof, posing with the flag.

Newsome and others calling themselves "concerned citizens" released a statement explaining, "Deciding to do what the SC Legislature has thus far neglected to do, the group took down the symbol of white supremacy that inspired the massacre, continued to fly at full mast in defiance of South Carolina's grief, and flew in defiance of everyone working to actualize a more equitable Carolinian future."

The state Bureau of Protective Services confirmed Newsome and one other person were arrested. They are charged with defacing a monument, which is a violation of state law 10-11-315. The law has not been used since it was passed in 2000 during another push to remove the flag from the capitol. They face three years in jail and a $5,000 fine.
Local newspaper, The State reports:
"At about 7:45 a.m., a maintenance worker and a state security officer, neither of whom would give their names or comment, raised a new banner after removing it from a plastic sheet. The two state employees who arrived on the State House grounds to put the flag back up were African-Americans."
Watch all of Democracy Now!'s coverage of the Charleston church shooting and push to remove the confederate flag.

In the interview below, Kevin Alexander Gray, a South Carolina civil rights activist and community organizer says, "People's tax dollars ought not go into supporting the idea of the Confederate States of America." As former president of the state ACLU, he argued, "the flag flying on the statehouse dome was compelled speech. You were compelling people to support an ideology of white supremacy."

Contact me @ kevinagray57@gmail.com
Gray & his younger sister Valerie were among the first blacks to attend the local all-white elementary school in 1968. Since then he has been involved in community organizing working on a variety of issues ranging from racial politics, police violence, third-world politics & relations, union organizing & workers’ rights, grassroots political campaigns, marches, actions & political events.

Gray is currently organizing the Harriet Tubman Freedom House Project which focuses on community based political and cultural education. Organizer — National Mobilization Committee Against the Drug War. Former managing & contributing editor of Black News in Columbia. Now serves as contributing writer to other minority newspapers in South Carolina. He served as a national board member of the American Civil Liberties Union for 4 years & is a past eight-term president of the South Carolina affiliate of the ACLU. Advisory board member of DRC Net (Drug Policy Reform Coalition).

In 1997, Gray was an organizer for the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition’s anti-Proposition 209 marches in San Francisco & Sacramento, California.

South Carolina coordinator for the 1988 presidential campaign of Jesse Jackson & 1992 southern political director for the presidential campaign of Iowa Senator Tom Harkin. 2002 SC United Citizens’ Party & Green Party Gubernatorial candidate.

Founding member of the National Rainbow Coalition in 1986. Former co-chair of the Southern Rainbow Education Project — a coalition of southern activists. Former contributing editor – Independent Political Action Bulletin.

Gray’s critique “A Call for a New Anti-War Movement” appears in How to Legalize Drugs: Public Health, Social Science and Civil Liberties Perspective edited by Dr. Jefferson Fish of St. John’s University. The book is a collection of works by drug policy reformers across the country. The essay takes a cultural & ideological look at the impact of the “war on drugs” on African Americans. Gray’s “The Legacy of Strom Thurmond” appears in Jack Newfield’s American Monsters, “Soul Brother? Bill Clinton and Black America” appears in Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair’s Dimes Worth of Difference and “What Would Malcolm Say” appears in Peace Not Terror edited by Mary Susannah Robbins.

Gray’s essay on race & politics have appeared in The Harvard Journal of African American Public Policy – “The Intensification of Racial Solidarity in the 1990s under the guise of Black Nationalism” (1996); The Progressive Magazine, Counterpunch, The Washington Post Outlook Section, Emerge, One Magazine, The American University Graduate Review & numerous other national, regional & local publications. His current essays on race, politics, cultural and world affairs can be found online at The Progressive, Counterpunch.com, The Black Agenda Report and “Holla If You Hear Me” blog.


Now Available! ~ Killing Trayvons: An Anthology of American Violence

Killing Trayvons: An Anthology of American Violence was published in early Summer 2014.

Skin privilege. When you’re black it seems the hardest thing to explain to whites. Even the most conscious or liberal whites sometimes don’t quite get it. Or as Langston Hughes once said, “A liberal is one who complains about segregated railroad cars but rides in the all white section.”

The killing of Trayvon Martin in February 2012 rang yet another alarm about the costs of that privilege. Killing Trayvons: An Anthology of American Violence tracks the case and explores why Trayvon’s name and George Zimmerman’s not guilty verdict symbolized all the grieving, the injustice, the profiling and free passes based on white privilege and police power: the long list of Trayvons known and unknown.

With contributions from Robin D.G. Kelley, Rita Dove, Cornel West and Amy Goodman, Thandisizwe Chimurenga, Alexander Cockburn, Etan Thomas, Tara Skurtu, bell hooks and Quassan Castro, June Jordan, Jesse Jackson, Tim Wise, Patricia Williams, Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Vijay Prashad, Rodolfo Acuna, Jesmyn Ward and more, Killing Trayvons is an essential addition to the literature on race, violence and resistance.

Killing Trayvons: An Anthology of American Violence is set to be released early Summer 2014.



Kevin Alexander Gray is a civil rights organizer in South Carolina and author of Waiting for Lightning to Strike!: The Fundamentals of Black Politics.

Jeffrey St. Clair is the editor of CounterPunch. His books include Whiteout (with Alexander Cockburn), Grand Theft Pentagon, and Born Under a Bad Sky.

JoAnn Wypijewski regularly writes for The Nation and CounterPunch. Her books include Painting by Numbers.


This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

Amy Goodman

Amy Goodman is the host and executive producer of Democracy Now!, a national, daily, independent, award-winning news program airing on over 1,100 public television and radio stations worldwide. Time Magazine named Democracy Now! its "Pick of the Podcasts," along with NBC's Meet the Press.


Orangeburg massacre
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Orangeburg massacre: February 8, 1968
Weapons revolvers, shotguns, police batons, thrown objects
Deaths: 3
Non-fatal injuries: 28
Perpetrators 9 patrolmen, approximately 150 protesters

The Orangeburg Massacre refers to the shooting of protesters by South Carolina Highway Patrol Officers in Orangeburg, South Carolina near South Carolina State University on the evening of February 8, 1968.[1] The approximately 150 protestors were demonstrating against racial segregation at a local bowling alley. Three of the protestors, African American males, were killed and twenty-eight other protestors were injured.[2]

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.


1 Background
2 Conflict
3 Aftermath
4 List of those involved
4.1 Highway Patrol personnel involved in the shooting
4.2 Deaths
4.3 Injuries
5 Media coverage
6 Legacy
7 See also
8 References
9 Further reading
10 External links

There were several incidents centering on the segregation of the local bowling alley, All Star Bowling Lane, that led up to the Orangeburg Massacre on February 8, 1968. In the fall of 1968, some of the black leaders within the community tried to convince Harry K. Floyd, the owner of the bowling alley, to allow African Americans. Floyd was unwilling to desegregate; as a result protests began in early February 1968.

On February 5, 1968 a group of students from South Carolina State University entered the bowling alley and left peacefully after they were asked to leave by Floyd. The next night more students led by John Stroman returned and entered the bowling alley. This time there were police waiting for them and several students were arrested including Stroman. After the arrests, more students began showing up, angry that protestors were being arrested. Next the crowd broke a window of the bowling alley and chaos ensued. Police began beating student protesters with billy clubs, including both men and women. That night eight students were sent to the hospital.[3]

Over the next couple of days the tension in Orangeburg escalated. Student protesters submitted a list of demands that consisted of integration and the elimination of discrimination within the community. Governor McNair, the Governor of South Carolina at the time, responded by calling in the National Guard after commenting that black power advocates were running amok in the community.[4] Over the next two days, about 200 mostly student protesters gathered on the campus of South Carolina State University, a historically black college in Orangeburg, to demonstrate against the continued segregation at the bowling alley.


On the night of February 8, 1968, students started a bonfire on the front of SC State's campus. As police and firefighters attempted to put out the fire, officer David Shealy was injured by a thrown object.[5] Shortly thereafter (around 10:30 p.m.) South Carolina Highway Patrol Officers began firing into the crowd of around 150 protesters. Eight Patrol Officers fired carbines, shotguns, and revolvers at the protesters, which lasted around 10 to 15 seconds. Twenty-eight people were injured in the shooting; most of which were shot in the back as they were running away, and three African American men were killed.[6] The three men killed were Samuel Hammond, Henry Smith (both SCSU students), and Delano Middleton, a student at the local Wilkinson High School.

The police later said that they believed they were under attack by small arms fire. A newspaper reported, "About 200 Negros [sic] gathered and began sniping with what sounded like 'at least one automatic, a shotgun and other small caliber weapons'’ and throwing bricks and bottles at the patrolmen."[7] Similarly, a North Carolina newspaper reported that week that students threw firebombs at buildings and that the sound of apparent sniper fire was heard.[8]

Protesters insisted that they did not fire at police officers, but threw objects and insulted the men. Evidence that police were being fired upon at the time of the incident was inconclusive, and no evidence was presented in court, as a result of investigations, that protesters were armed or had fired on officers.


At a press conference the following day, Governor Robert E. McNair said the event was "...one of the saddest days in the history of South Carolina".[9] McNair blamed the deaths on outside Black Power agitators and said the incident took place off campus, contrary to the evidence.

The federal government brought charges against the state patrolmen in the first federal trial of police officers for using excessive force at a campus protest. The state patrol officers' defense was that they felt they were in danger and protesters had shot at the officers first. All nine defendants were acquitted although thirty-six witnesses stated that they did not hear gunfire coming from the protesters on the campus before the shooting and no students were found to be carrying guns.[10]

In a state trial in 1970, the activist Cleveland Sellers was convicted of a charge of riot related to the events, for events on Tuesday at the bowling alley (the protest was on Thursday night). He served seven months in state prison, getting time off for good behavior. He was the national program director of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). In 1973 he wrote The River of No Return: The Autobiography of a Black Militant and the Life and Death of SNCC. Twenty-five years later, Sellers was officially pardoned by the governor of South Carolina.
List of those involved
Highway Patrol personnel involved in the shooting
Patrol Lieutenant Jesse Alfred Spell, 45
Sgt. Henry Morrell Addy, 37
Sgt. Sidney C. Taylor, 43
Corporal Joseph Howard Lanier, 32
Corporal Norwood F. Bellamy, 50
Patrolman First Class John William Brown, 31
Patrolman First Class Colie Merle Metts, 36
Patrolman Allen Jerome Russell, 24
Patrolman Edward H. Moore, 30
Patrolman Robert Sanders, 44 - was not charged in the massacre, but reportedly later made self-incriminating statements about having shot at some of the rioters.

Samuel Ephesians Hammond Jr., 18
Delano Herman Middleton, 17
Henry Ezekial Smith, 18


Herman Boller Jr., 19
Johnny Bookhart, 19
Thompson Braddy, 20
Bobby K. Burton, 22
Ernest Raymond Carson, 17
John Carson
Louise Kelly Cawley, 25
Robert Lee Davis Jr., 19
Albert Dawson, 18
Bobby Eaddy, 17
John H. Elliot
Herbert Gadson, 19
Samuel Grant, 19
Samuel Grate, 19
Joseph Hampton, 21
Charles W. Hildebrand, 19

Nathaniel Jenkins, 21
Thomas Kennerly, 21
Joe Lambright, 21
Emma McCain, 19
Richard McPherson, 19
Harvey Lee Miller, 15
Harold Riley, 20
Cleveland Sellers, 23
Patrolman David Shealy
Ernest Shuler, 16
Jordan Simmons III, 21
Ronald Smith, 19
Frankie Thomas, 18
Robert Watson, 19
Robert Lee Williams, 19
Savannah Williams, 19

The injuries received by patrolman David Shealy preceded police opening fire on the crowd by five minutes

Cleveland Sellers was later arrested and convicted of starting the riot. Received a full pardon in 1993
John Carson was beaten by highway patrol after he started questioning their involvement
Louise Kelly Cawley was pregnant at the time of her being beaten and sprayed with a chemical. One week after the incident, she suffered a miscarriage
John H. Elliot was later added to the list of those injured. He was shot in the stomach but did not go to the hospital for treatment.
Media coverage

This was the first incident of its kind on a United States university campus. The Orangeburg killings received relatively little media coverage. The events predated the 1970 Kent State shootings and Jackson State killings, in which protesters against the Vietnam War were killed by the National Guard, and by the local and state highway patrol, respectively. The perceived overreaction by law enforcement helped galvanize public opinion against the war as well.

The historian Jack Bass attributed the discrepancy in media coverage in part due to the Orangeburg incident occurring after large-scale urban riots, which made it seem small by comparison. It may not have been considered as newsworthy, especially since the shootings occurred at night, when media coverage, especially any television news, was less.[5] In addition, the victims at Orangeburg were mostly young black men protesting against local segregation.[5] Linda Meggett Brown wrote that subsequent events in the spring of 1968: the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy, the Democratic presidential candidate; and the Tet Offensive in Vietnam, overshadowed the events at Orangeburg.[11]

At Kent State, by contrast, Bass noted that the victims were young white students protesting against the U.S. war in Vietnam, which had become increasingly unpopular and a highly politicized, national issue. They were attacked by members of the National Guard, which the media may have judged was a more inflammatory aspect of the shootings. The black students at Jackson State were also protesting against the war, and the killings there took place shortly after those at Kent State. It appeared that law enforcement and university administrations had no idea about how to handle campus unrest. There was widespread public outrage over the events.

South Carolina State University's gymnasium is named in memory of the three men who were killed. A monument was erected on campus in their  honor and the site has been marked. All-Star Triangle Bowl became integrated.

On August 9 of 2013 a work crew fixed a spelling error on the Orangeburg Massacre Monument. Delano H. Middleton's name was mistakenly listed as Delano B. Middleton. One theory for the incorrect initial is that it was pulled from Middleton's nickname "Bump." The error went unnoticed for over 40 years.[12]

In 2001 Governor Jim Hodges attended the university's annual memorial of the event, the first governor to do so. That same year, on the 33rd anniversary of the killings, an oral history project featured eight survivors telling their stories at a memorial service. It was the first time that survivors had been recognized at the memorial event. Robert Lee Davis told an interviewer,

"One thing I can say is that I'm glad you all are letting us do the talking, the ones that were actually involved, instead of outsiders that weren't there, to tell you exactly what happened."[5]

A joint resolution was introduced in the South Carolina state general assembly in 2003, and re-introduced in each of the next three sessions of the legislature, to establish an official investigation of the events of February 8, 1968, and to establish February 8 as a day of remembrance for the students killed and wounded in the protest; but the resolution was never voted on by the legislature.[13] [14] [15] [16]

The Orangeburg Massacre was the subject of two films released on the 40th anniversary of the massacre, in April, 2008:[17] Scarred Justice: The Orangeburg Massacre, 1968 by documentary filmmakers Bestor Cram and Judy Richardson[18], and Black Magic by Dan Klores.[19]

See also

Kent State shootings
Jackson State killings
Protests of 1968
Greensboro massacre
List of killings by law enforcement officers in the United States

Shuler, Jack, Blood & Bone: Truth and Reconciliation in a Southern Town" (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2012), 21
"28th Name Added To Massacre List 40 Years Later", Fox Carolina News, 2008
Shuler, Jack, Blood & Bone," 75-78
Shuler, Jack, Blood & Bone", 81
Bass, Jack (Fall 2003). "Documenting the Orangeburg Massacre" (PDF). Nieman Reports (Harvard University) 57 (3): 8–11.
Shuler, Jack, Blood & Bone", 18.
"Press dispatches" (February 21, 1968). "Riot Quelled at Negro College". The Milwaukee Journal.
Robert M. Ford (February 8, 1968). "Three Persons Killed in Orangeburg Riots". The Times-News (Hendersonville, NC). Retrieved November 27, 2010.
"Uneasy Calm Enforced After Days of Rioting". Middlesboro Daily News. February 10, 1968. Retrieved November 27, 2010.
Shuler, Jack, Blood & Bone", 19 & 84
Linda Meggett Brown, "Remembering the Orangeburg Massacre", Black Issues in Higher Education, March 1, 2001. Accessed April 1, 2005.
WLTX News staff, "Name on Orangeburg Massacre Monument Finally Fixed", August 11, 2013.
South Carolina General Assembly, S. 377, introduced in the Senate on February 18, 2003.
South Carolina General Assembly, S. 215, introduced in the Senate on January 12, 2005.
South Carolina General Assembly, H. 3824, introduced in the House on March 29, 2007.
South Carolina General Assembly, S. 35, introduced in the Senate on January 9, 2009.
Tim Arango, Films Revisit Overlooked Shootings on a Black Campus, New York Times, April 16, 2008.
IMDB, "Scarred Justice: The Orangeburg Massacre, 1968", accessed 24 June 2015.
IMDB, "Black Magic", accessed 24 June 2015.

Shuler, Jack (2012). Blood and Bone: Truth and Reconciliation in a Southern Town. University of South Carolina Press.

Further reading

Sellers, Cleveland L. (1998), "Orangeburg Massacre: Dealing honestly with tragedy and distortion", The Times and Democrat, January 24, 1998.
Bass, Jack; Nelson, Jack (2003). The Orangeburg Massacre: Second Edition. Mercer University Press. ISBN 978-0-86554-552-6.
Watters, Pat, and Rogeau, Weldon (1968). Events at Orangeburg; a report based on study and interviews in Orangeburg, South Carolina, in the aftermath of tragedy. Southern Regional Council, Atlanta.
Beacham, Frank (2007). Whitewash: A Southern Journey through Music, Mayhem and Murder: Second Edition. Booklocker. ISBN 978-1-59113-187-8.
External links

Brian Cabell, "Remembering the 1968 Orangeburg Massacre", February 8, 2001. Web posted at: 4:02 p.m. EST (2102 GMT). Accessed April 1, 2005.
Jack Bass, "Documenting the Orangeburg Massacre", Neiman Reports. Harvard University. Fall 2003. Accessed May 21, 2007.
Linda Meggett Brown, "Remembering the Orangeburg Massacre", Black Issues in Higher Education, March 1, 2001. Accessed April 1, 2005.
"On the Freedom Road: A Guardian reporter visits the All-Star Triangle Bowl", The Guardian, Accessed May 21, 2007.

1968, "Forty Years Later: A Look Back at the Orangeburg Massacre", Democracy Now!', 2008, Accessed April 3, 2008.
"Scarred Justice: the Orangeburg Massacre 1968, a documentary distributed by California Newsreel.

All-Star Bowling Lane sign in 2015

Orangeburg massacre - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Orangeburg Massacre refers to the shooting of protesters by South Carolina Highway Patrol Officers in Orangeburg, South Carolina near South Carolina State University on the evening of February 8,...