February 22, 2023: Michael Carter
Mrs. Patrick introduced Mr. Michael Carter, our Open Forum speaker for February 22. Mr. Carter is a former SLED (State Law Enforcement Division) agent and former sheriff of Georgetown County. He came to talk about the time he spent working in law enforcement and specifically about his experience with the 1968 Orangeburg Massacre.
Mr. Carter began by talking about his ties to our school and to Georgetown. “I was born four blocks from here on the kitchen table [of our house],” he said. “There were no hospitals back then.” He graduated from Winyah High School, where he also played football on a field which is now covered up by a building behind TGS.
As a new SLED agent, Mr. Carter was called to Orangeburg in February of 1968. Some two hundred students from S.C. State College had planned a march from the campus to a nearby shopping center to protest against a “whites only” bowling alley. Mr. Carter explained how he and some other members of his team had to go out and try to stop the conflict of people out in the street protesting. The first march ended without serious incident, but the next day three students were tragically shot after a fire was set on the highway and things got out of hand.
An outside agitator was eventually arrested for inciting the events and sent to jail. After doing his time, he completed graduate studies in the northeast and became a professor. In an interesting twist of fate, this man’s son now works with the arresting officer’s son–at the same law firm! Their association gives Mr. Carter hope for the future of race relations in our country. “I hope we grow in a direction where all men are created equal,” he said. “But we have a long way to go.”
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