Special to The T&D
The All-Star Bowling Lanes will be open for the community to visit from 9:30 am to 1 pm Sunday in conjunction with South Carolina State University’s Parade of Champions, which starts at All-Star Bowling Lanes.
All-Star Bowling Lanes is at 1543 Russell St. in downtown Orangeburg.
A $500,000 African American Civil Rights Grant, administered by the National Park Service, Department of Interior, has enabled Center for Creative Partnerships, All-Star Bowling Lanes’ nonprofit owner, to begin preservation of the national heritage site.
On the night of Feb. 8, 1968, three students were and 28 others were injured when SC Highway Patrol troopers opened fire on a crowd of protesters following three nights of escalating racial tension over efforts to desegregate the All-Star Triangle Bowl.
South Carolina State College students Henry Smith and Samuel Hammond, along with Wilkinson High School student Delano Middleton, were killed.
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The event has come to be known as the Orangeburg Massacre.
Sunday’s event is an opportunity for the community to view the site before the preservation work gets underway.
“Center for Creative Partnerships is dedicated to preserving, protecting and sustaining this significant African American civil rights site,” said Ellen Zisholtz, the organization’s president and former director/curator of SC State’s IP Stanback Museum and Planetarium.
The goal of “Phase I, Preservation and Rehabilitation,” is to stabilize the building and prevent further deterioration through the creation of architectural drawings, roof replacement, elimination of any hazardous materials, and plumbing and electrical work, while planning for full restoration.
In addition to the grant, All-Star Bowling Lanes is included in the national African American Civil Rights Network of the National Park Service.
Organizers plan to turn All-Star Bowling Lanes into an operational sports facility that incorporates its historic character.
Zisholtz said the ultimate goal of the project is the development of the Orangeburg All-Star Justice Center.
“The Orangeburg All-Star Justice Center will lead the way to make changes toward a more just society and place Orangeburg’s and South Carolina’s major role in civil rights in the context of US history,” Zisholtz said. “The center will provide space for exhibitions and ongoing dialogue across races, social and economic classes and political spectrums, and develop opportunities for equal justice advocacy by citizens and public officials.”
SC State Interim President Alexander Conyers serves on the Center for Creative Partnerships Board of Directors. SC State Director of Admissions Davion Petty is the organization’s treasurer.
SC State’s Parade of Champions will begin at 12:30 pm Sunday at the All-Star parking lot and proceed to the university campus, culminating in a celebration at Oliver C. Dawson Stadium.
Also, SC State will commemorate the 54th anniversary of the Orangeburg Massacre on Tuesday, Feb. 8, at 11 am in Martin Luther King Auditorium and dedicate a new monument featuring busts of Smith, Hammond and Middleton.