I always jump at the opportunity to work in new ways and I have been struggling to work in ways that encourage thinking about my place in this world. I recognize the privilege I have while trying my best to comment on situations, politics, events, and the many things that I find morally and ethically wrong. By making work in response and being asked to make work in response to the Orangeburg Massacre, I was finally able to find how my voice could be used.
The Orangeburg Massacre occurred on February 8, 1968, after multiple days of unrest in Orangeburg, South Carolina. Home of two Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), now South Carolina State University and Claflin University, the town of Orangeburg saw tensions rise over the "members only" bowling alley in town. Students protested at the bowling alley over two days, with local law enforcement attacking protesters on the second day. Eventually, the scene was cleared, the day was over, but the segregation and the rightful passion of protest were still there.
On February 8th, students and protesters were gathered at the front of the South Carolina State University campus. The protestors lit a bonfire and remained peaceful. The police and fire department put the fire out and South Carolina Highway Patrol was called to reinforce the police presence. As law enforcement was lined up at the front of campus, they claimed they heard shots and began to fire into the crowd of around 200 protestors. At least 28 protestors were injured and an additional 3 were murdered, Samuel Hammond, Henry Smith (both SCSU students), and Delano Middleton.
There were some officers that were charged but they were swiftly acquitted. There has been no official investigation and although time has past, there has been no closure for people affected by this event. Although sometimes masked, the racial tensions in Orangeburg, South Carolina are still rumbling.
The following pieces are my responses to the events of February 8, 1968, but the message has a similar feeling to many events of racial discrimination and events that are rightfully getting more time in our current main stream information channels. This is still a huge problem. We must keep the discussion going.
"Equal" Justice, Arrested. unfired clay, underglaze, wood, water. 18" x 5.5" x 20". 2018
"Protected" Protest, Murdered. unfired clay, underglaze, wood, water. 18" x 5.5" x 20". 2018