2018 MLK Celebration to Feature Civil Rights Advocate Dr. Cleveland L. Sellers, Jr. Today

Staff Report From Augusta CEO

Friday, January 12th, 2018

Civil rights advocate, Dr. Cleveland L. Sellers, JR. will be the keynote speaker for the 2018 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration being held at noon on the 12th of January in the Gilbert-Lambuth Memorial Chapel at Paine College. This annual event is hosted by Augusta Technical College, Paine College, and Augusta University.

Due to health reasons, our intended guest speaker Dr. Cleveland L. Sellers, Jr., will not be able to attend the program.  Instead, Dr. Sellers’ son, Bakari Sellers, will attend the MLK Celebration in his father’s stead. Bakari will share his father’s historical milestones with the audience.  For your convenience, information on Mr. Bakari Sellers is attached, as well as the original press release for the program.

Prior to becoming president of Voorhees College, Dr. Cleveland L. Sellers Jr. served as director of the African American Studies program at the University of South Carolina, where he provided leadership and guidance to students and scholars on topics including American History, African-American History, and History of the Civil Rights Movement.

On February 8, 1968, Dr. Sellers was involved in a violent clash on the campus of South Carolina State University between protesters and state policemen. Three young men died, and 27 others were wounded, one of whom was Sellers.  The incident later became known as the “Orangeburg Massacre.”

The police officers involved in the shooting were acquitted. Sellers was the only person arrested as a result of the “Orangeburg Massacre.” He spent seven months behind bars on rioting charges. He also decided to put his life on paper in his autobiography, The River of No Return. Twenty-five years after his sentence ended, the conviction was pardoned.

His awards and accolades include: 2009 “Preserving Our Places in History” Lifetime Achievement Award from the South Carolina African American Heritage Commission; 2009 Freedom Flame Award from the National Voting Rights Museum and Institute; 2009 Legacy Award from the United Negro College Fund; 2008 Instructor Emeritus, USC; 2003 I. DeQuincy Newman Trailblazer Award, USC Chapter of NAACP; and 2003 Diamond Award, Office of Multi-cultural Student Affairs, USC, among many others.

For more information on this event, please contact Augusta Technical College’s Office of Community Engagement and Public Affairs at 706-771.4819.