An inside look at history

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In 1968, nine officers in Orangeburg, S.C., fired into a crowd protesting continued segregation in the community. The incident, known as the Orangeburg Massacre, is the subject of a newly definitive book, “Blood and Bone: Truth and Reconciliation in a Southern Town,” by Assistant Professor of English and Black Studies Jack Shuler.

While other books have been written about the massacre, Shuler has been able to capture an insider’s vantage point. He grew up in Orangeburg, where the event was something most people didn’t really want to talk about. (In fact, he was largely uninformed about the town’s most infamous incident until he came across a history of the Orangeburg Massacre in a Brooklyn library.)

Shuler was able to engage his former neighbors in conversations that wouldn’t have been possible for anyone from outside the town, and he has brought their insight and experience about the conflict to light.

“This conversation is complicated because it involves race, it involves addressing how we integrate, how we get along,” says Shuler. “How we come to see this event will probably help shape how we live in the future.”

Shuler was a recent guest on “All Sides with Ann Fisher,” a radio talk show on WOSU, Columbus’ NPR station. The video below will give you insight into this little known moment in history.

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9:50 PM April 15, 2012

Chris Campbell ’69 wrote:

After graduating and navigating VISTA service, graduate school, and law school, I landed in Lansing, MI. Pretty soon I signed up for a labor history course offered by the community college and a big UAW Local union. One evening we watched a 16 mm film (ticketa-ticketa-ticketa) about the 1937 GM sit-down strikes. The film contained footage shot at the Fisher Body plant in Lansing, about three blocks from my house and from a big high school. At the end the lights came up and a community college student, a young recent high school graduate, was astonished. “My school was three blocks from there. THEY NEVER TOLD US ABOUT THAT!!!!” You’d think that labor activism wouldn’t be a subject of shame and suppression in a union town like Lansing, but even that bit of history was politely ignored.

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