Who were the earliest Californian university students?

Who were the earliest Californian university students?

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In California's Spanish and Mexican eras there was not much formal education. The nearest university was that of Guadalajara, founded in 1792. The Híjar-Padrés colony of 1834 brought teachers who might have been the province's first permanent residents to hold professional qualifications. Richard Henry Dana Jr. visited that same year on leave from Harvard College. In 1846 the U.S. acquired California. The University of California, whose creation became more urgent as more native sons were born, graduated its first class in 1873.

I want to know about the first person or persons from California that went away to university, or studied at one of the University of California's predecessor institutions (the Contra Costa Academy and the College of California), or another school in the state. The sons of established businessmen like Hartnell, Larkin, and Stearns seem like candidates. Perhaps some brainy kid was even sent to Guadalajara decades before.

One of the first students to be sent away for education may have been the son of José de la Guerra y Noriega, Juan José Noriega, who was sent to Liverpool, England for education in 1825. When he returned to California in c.1831 at the age of about 21 he was tutored in higher mathematics by Father Patrick Short who in 1834 jointly with William Hartnell, who had engaged him as Noriega's tutor, founded the first school/college in California. Noriega died in 1833 but in a way his legacy, the relationship between Hartnell and Short, led directly to the foundation of the "Colegio de San Jose".

The explanation for this theory involves William Hartnell, mentioned in this question and also in the following question which provides some of his background:

Who was the first retailer in Monterey, California?

Hartnell had a business associate in Liverpool called James Brotherston who was the co-partner of John Begg of Lima who was the co-partner of McCulloch Hartnell & Co. Brotherston appears to have had the senior role, and referred to McCulloch Hartnell & Co as the "California Establishment". He was by the way John Begg's brother-in-law, being married to his sister, which seems to have been how the business connection started (in Leith, the port of Edinburgh, Scotland). I digress!

It is clear from letters that Brotherston wrote to Hartnell on 7th October 1825 and 20th January 1826 that Hartnell had sent his (then future) brother-in-law Juan Jose Noriega to the care of Brotherston in Liverpool for his "improvement and education". In the first letter Brotherston states his plans for the boy's education including the subjects he will study and the likely costs. The second letter just gives a brief progress report towards the end of a business letter. The following are links to the actual letters in the Vallejo volumes:



Then on 19th March 1827 Juan José Noriega himself wrote to Hartnell from Liverpool and lists the subjects he is studying but doesn't say much else except that he's too busy to write to his sister!


On the 29th October 1828 he writes a longer letter to Hartnell from Stonyhurst College in which he says he has been at three different schools, the previous ones being in Liverpool and Shropshire. It is apparent from this letter that he is becoming homesick for California and talks about his plans for returning there, preferably avoiding Cape Horn.


Bancroft in his "History of California:1825-1840" refers to the above letter and states that he was later educated at the "Mont." school under Hartnell and P.Short. He includes the information that Noriega died in 1833 unmarried. In fact Bancroft is incorrect as the school was not formally founded until 1834, after Noriega's death.

Chapter 5 - 'Schoolmaster' of Dakin's "The Lives of William Hartnell" explains in detail the events surrounding the return of Noriega, the engagement of Father Patrick Short as his tutor, and the subsequent founding of the "Colegio de San Jose".


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University, institution of higher education, usually comprising a college of liberal arts and sciences and graduate and professional schools and having the authority to confer degrees in various fields of study. A university differs from a college in that it is usually larger, has a broader curriculum, and offers graduate and professional degrees in addition to undergraduate degrees. Although universities did not arise in the West until the Middle Ages in Europe, they existed in some parts of Asia and Africa in ancient times.

The Black Student Union at SFSU started it all

1 of 6 BSU_01.jpg 1967 - San Francisco State Black Student Union members (left to right) Tom Williams, Jerry Varnado and Jim Garrett.1967 - San Francisco State Black Student Union leaders (left to right) Jerry Varnado and Jim Garrett. Art Frisch, 1967/The Chronicle Show More Show Less

2 of 6 Jerry Varnado, who was one of the founders of the Black Student Union at San Francisco State - the first BSU in the country in fact, stands for a portrait at his home on Wednesday January 20, 2010 in Oakland, Calif. Mike Kepka/The Chronicle Show More Show Less

4 of 6 James Garrett, a retired academic, is credited with starting the first Black Student Union in the U.S. at San Francisco State, in 1966. Tuesday Jan. 12, 2010 Lance Iversen/The Chronicle Show More Show Less

5 of 6 Jerry Varnado, who was one of the founders of the Black Student Union at San Francisco State - the first BSU in the country in fact, stands for a portrait at his home on Wednesday January 20, 2010 in Oakland, Calif. Mike Kepka/The Chronicle Show More Show Less

The Black Student Union at San Francisco State University was the first at any school anywhere. Its official history has not yet been written, but the oral history is being kept alive by two men in their mid-60s talking about the mid-'60s.

They are Jimmy Garrett and Jerry Varnado, who cooked up the concept - a college advocacy group that would work toward civil rights everywhere - and barnstormed it around to other colleges and high schools. The pair met as undergraduate activists in early 1966 and met most recently at Garrett's house a few doors off Martin Luther King Jr. Way in North Oakland.

"We did manage to play a role in a broader movement," says Varnado, a retired attorney who lives in the Oakland hills. "There are Black Student Unions all over the world. I went to the London School of Economics to visit the Black Student Union."

"The group at San Francisco State is the first that we know to use that term," says Akinyele Umoja, associate professor of African American studies at Georgia State University in Atlanta and a leader at the National Council for Black Studies. "Later on, there was a conference in California where black students at other campuses all adopted that name."

It was more than a name, and the lasting acronym BSU. "That activity that they were leaders in didn't just shift San Francisco State. It shifted the access and the academic context of every university in the country," says Kenneth Monteiro, dean of the College of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State.

The first and still the only academic department of its kind in the country, the College of Ethnic Studies is celebrating its 40th anniversary this school year. The College of Ethnic Studies came out of the black studies department, which came out of the famed student strike of 1968-69, which came out of the BSU, which came out of a wager that Garrett made in Los Angeles shortly after the Watts Riots of 1965.

A winning bet

"The bet was that you could build a black student movement on a predominately white campus," says Garrett, 67, also a lawyer and the retired dean of instruction at Vista Community College (now Berkeley City College). "That was a bet that a couple of people in SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) made. I bet that it could happen."

In his early 20s, Garrett was already a veteran Freedom Rider and youth activist. He came to San Francisco because he had family here, and he came to S.F. State specifically to organize. Being enrolled in classes was mainly a way to avoid Vietnam.

"When I got to San Francisco State, I did an analysis," says Garrett, who broke the black student population into three categories: the Negro Student Association (NSA), an organized club inclusive of all black students the fraternities and sororities and the radical Black Nationalists.

"Then there were people like me who didn't know what they were," Garrett says. "Whatever I was, it wasn't one of those."

Strategy sessions

Varnado was one of those. A 21-year-old freshman from segregated Mississippi, by way of the Air Force, he was chapter president of Alpha Phi Alpha, a black fraternity, and active in the NSA. He may have met Garrett at a party at the frat house on Capitol Avenue in the Ingleside district, but he isn't sure. They started having strategy sessions in a corner of the campus library. Two became three. Three grew to five, then to eight.

Whatever it was they were on to, it needed its own name, and that took two or three weeks of meetings to settle. Otherwise, there were no membership rules or bylaws or articles of incorporation filed in the student activities office.

"We didn't plan all this stuff," Varnado says. "It just started happening and it grew."

According to "Blow It Up!" Dikran Karagueuzian's account of the 1968 campus revolt, the name Black Student Union was attributed to a student named Tricia Navara. The book suggests that it was just a matter of renaming the NSA, which is the way Varnado and Garrett tell it.

"For all practical purposes, the BSU and the NSA were the same," says Varnado. But Dean Monteiro says that the BSU formed as a wholly separate entity.

"That was a tough moment," says Monteiro, who was too young to be there but has studied the chronology. "The Negro Student Association was not moving along as if it needed to be defunct."

But it couldn't keep up with the BSU under Garrett, who "soon moved into politics and made the BSU the most powerful pressure group on campus," according to "Blow It Up!"

"Our thing was not simply to understand the world. Our duty was to change it," Garrett says. "Everybody on the campus who identified themselves as a black person, whether they were a student, faculty, worked in the yards, you were a member of the Black Student Union by definition."

Garrett was the first chair, and Varnado was the on-campus coordinator. Word got around, and soon their expertise was being sought at other campuses.

"We had a student who called us from Stanford and he said, 'There's only six or seven of us, can we set up a Black Student Union?' " Garrett says. "We worked at every institution that would open space for us: community college, high school, elementary school."

Card Stunts Card Stunts between the halves of football games had their beginnings at the Big Game of 1908, when both California and Stanford rooters appeared in white shirts and rooter caps which were one color on the outside and another color on the inside. By reversing the caps, simple designs such as block letters could be produced.

At the Big Game of 1914, sets of stiff cards of varying colors cut to a uniform size were supplied to each California rooter. These, when held up in the rooting section according to direction, made an effective, clear-cut pattern. Through the years, ingenious card stunt committees evolved elaborate, animated stunts including the traditional "Cal Script" in which a huge "Cal" appeared to be written by a great, unseen pen gliding smoothly across the rooting section.

The Ignored History of Racism in California: College Edition

Communities across the country from Ferguson, Missouri, to Baltimore, Maryland, have been experiencing major uprisings from citizens who perceive their local leaders to be apathetic to racial injustices affecting their communities. College campuses, communities in their own right, have not been immune--often finding themselves embroiled in controversy surrounding blatantly racist acts perpetrated by members of their own campus communities. The tendency for campus leaders, as well as the perpetrators, to minimize and trivialize issues of race on college campuses is what author Lawrence Ross tackles in his new book, Blackballed: The Black & White Politics of Race on America's Campuses.

Whether it is members of Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity at the University of Oklahoma singing fraternal chants claiming that there will "never be a nigger in SAE" or whether it is members of Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity at the University of Texas dressing as border patrol officers and "Mexican" construction workers at their "Run for the Border" party, Ross reminds us that highly visible examples of campus racism in the 21st century are not difficult to come by.

From a distance, many Californians will watch the media coverage surrounding these events and feel a sense of comfort that those things at those terrible places don't happen here in our state at our universities.

Sadly, those Californians would be sorely mistaken. The reality is that California and its universities, which many view as havens for diversity and inclusion, have been and continue to be hostile places for people of color. People often think that because California doesn't have the same history with slavery as the South does, racism is something that happens over there on that side of the country. But "California has a rich history of discrimination, " Ross says, and that is evidenced by Ku Klux Klan rallies, the mass deportation of Latinos, restrictive clauses in housing, segregated beaches, Japanese internment camp assembly centers, racially segregated schools, and so much more.

The Campaign for College Opportunity released a series of reports last year around the state of students of color in California's public higher education systems, and one theme emerged: it's not good. The gates to most University of California (UC) campuses were locked shut for Black and Latino students, where two out of every three Black and Latino applicants were denied admission. Despite these statistics, and the mounting evidence that being forced to use only race-neutral factors (such as socioeconomic status, high school class ranking, and standardized test scores) in admissions harms campus racial diversity efforts, many politicians and voters continue to dismiss the idea that systemic racism creates barriers to higher education for people of color in California. For example, Ross suggests that through public policy like Proposition 209--which bans the use of affirmative action in California's universities--Californians have actually codified racial inequities.

In essence, Ross says that Proposition 209 forbids people from addressing the fact that the game is rigged: white kids are playing on one side of the basketball court with a 10-foot basket while kids of color are on the other side of the same court playing with a 20-foot basket, and people have somehow been manipulated into believing that leveling the playing field by acknowledging these inequities is providing unfair and unearned advantages to kids of color.

But it's not enough to simply improve access. Let's say students of color do get in. The proverbial fight is not over once they are admitted to a California public university. Truly, their journey has only begun, and what often awaits them during their college career is bad enough for them to wish they hadn't gone in the first place.

In his book, Ross reflects on a conversation he had with long-time friends from his college days at UC Berkeley back in the 1980s who, thirty years later, sent their children to the institution they affectionately refer to as Cal. Their children--both of whom are African American--recall being excluded from study groups at Cal, being surrounded by empty seats in class because no one wanted to sit next to them, and having white students yell racial slurs at them and physically intimidate them and their friends. And a recent report released by the University of California tells us they are not alone: African American students feel the least respected among all racial and ethnic groups on Berkeley's campus.

A quick reminder, too: This was not the 1950s in Little Rock, Arkansas, when these students experienced this . it was the 2000s in Berkeley, California.

Ross presents a number of other examples in Blackballed of overt racism on California campuses, which stretch as far back as the 1960s to as recently as the 2010s. He points out that in only the last six years we have seen a number of California campuses grapple with racism, including the following incidents documented in his book:

  • University of California, San Diego students hosted a "Compton Cookout" during Black History Month which encouraged attendees to dress up as "ghetto chicks" and gangsters and included stereotypical images on their flyers of African Americans eating Kentucky Fried Chicken.
  • An African American student at the University of California, Irvine was left a note in her backpack while in the library on campus that read, "Go back 2 Africa, slave."
  • An African American student at San Jose State University was clamped in a bike lock and taunted by his white roommates in various ways, such as calling him "Fraction" or "Three-fifths," hanging a Confederate flag, writing the word "Nigger" on a white board in the common area of their campus suite, and much more. (Update: These students were just found innocent of committing any hate crimes related to these incidents.)

It is impossible for campus leaders and others to ensure healthy campus climates and work in anti-racist ways when they don't believe racism is a problem, though (see difference between being non-racist and anti-racist here). And the fact is that white Americans, who make up the majority of college administrators and faculty, are far less likely than members of other racial and ethnic groups to believe that discrimination exists today. This phenomenon is evident from a recent survey of college presidents which found that 90 percent of them believed that race relations on their campuses were generally good, despite the feelings of many students and staff of color that suggests otherwise.

That is why it is important to acknowledge that racism in California was and still is a problem. Continuing to ignore California's history of racism, and then minimizing and trivializing racism when it does rear its ugly head on California's college campuses by suggesting they are simply isolated incidents, will only solidify racism's improper and unwelcomed place in our higher education system.

Whatever Happened to When College Was Free?

These days, tuition at public colleges commonly rises five, seven, or even 15 percent in a single year, and students shoulder five- and six-figure debts to pay for their degrees. It’s easy to forget that it hasn’t always been this way: Many public colleges and universities were once tuition-free.

In 1847, Baruch College, now part of the City University of New York system, was founded as the Free Academy, the first free public college in the country. In 1862, the first Morrill Act established public universities through federal land grants, many states opted to charge no tuition or nominal tuition. California’s public-university system, still the largest in the nation, abolished tuition three months after it was founded in 1868, implementing instead a fee for additional services, such as health care, that at first was tiny.

The era of free tuition ended, ironically, with the student movement of the 1960s, just as campuses were getting more populous, diverse, and democratic. Ronald Reagan made the University of California a major punching bag of his 1966 campaign for governor of California, with the encouragement of FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, who saw campus peace activists as dangerous subversives. Upon taking office, Reagan managed to have UC president Clark Kerr fired—he had been the architect of mass higher education not just in California, but across the country—and hiked fees at the UC colleges to the approximate levels of tuition charged elsewhere.

A similar story happened in New York. In the 1960s, blacks and Latinos made up less than one-fifth of all students at CUNY schools, and most were confined to a non-baccalaureate track. The same colleges that had offered the city’s Jews and other immigrant groups important opportunities for advancement in the 1930s were frustrating the dreams of a new generation.

In the spring of 1969, students at City College staged a campus takeover, hanging a banner that proclaimed the school that had once been known as the “Harvard of the poor” to be “Harlem University.” Student activism and community support led the state Board of Higher Education to vote swiftly to open CUNY admission for the first time to all city high school graduates. However, only a few years after the college was fully integrated, in 1976, CUNY’s board voted to impose tuition for the first time. It seemed that citizens could support free education, or open education, but not both.

So what’s wrong with charging tuition?

Sticker shock and debt aversion drive away many who might be able to take advantage of financial aid. Studies show that lower-income students absorb the message that college is “too expensive,” often as early as the eighth grade and make decisions about their futures accordingly. And sometimes there isn’t enough aid to make college affordable. In 2007-2008, according to the Institute for College Access and Success, 80 percent of community college students had unmet need averaging over $5,000.

The more subtle problem with charging tuition is that it has changed the cost structure of higher education. Traditionally most colleges other than for-profits get revenue from public subsidies and private philanthropy as well as tuition. According to a 2009 study by the Delta Cost Project, a primary reason that state colleges have been increasing tuition by such whopping increments—5 percent a year, after inflation, over the past decade—is that they’re losing state revenue, and shifting costs toward students. Unlike other areas in our economy, higher education hasn’t exactly been a model of efficiency or innovation. As costs rise, colleges have responded by raising tuition bills, allowing federal and private student loans, as well as family piggy banks, to absorb the difference.

Are there ways to revive and champion the radical ideal of “free” in higher education? I see two options: One hearkens back to the 19th century model the other is more reminiscent of the 1960s. First, free colleges could be traditional colleges deploying philanthropic resources combined with frugality. In 1859, Peter Cooper, an industrialist and autodidact who believed that education should be as “free as water and air,” founded the Cooper Union in Manhattan. The college's dedication to free tuition (technically, each student receives a full-tuition scholarship worth $35,000) means it must skip "extras" like a gym, a student union, or even a large cafeteria. Their selection of majors also remains tightly focused on engineering, architecture, and art.

In addition to Cooper Union, the Work Colleges, a consortium of seven private liberal arts colleges, many located in rural settings and with religious roots, are either free or at least committed to graduating students debt-free, and require students to work in everything from groundskeeping to admissions, in order to defray their costs. (Check out two more lists of free colleges here and here.)

The other model for free education goes back to the teach-ins and free schools of the 1960s, where communities banded together to teach about topics that were generally left out of traditional colleges. In the past decade, the Internet has made this DIY attitude possible on a broader scale than ever before. Academic Earth, OpenEd, The OpenCourseWare Consortium, Connexions, Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources, Wikiversity, YouTube EDU, and iTunesU, are each a vast universe of free, open educational content, whether in stand-alone lectures, organized into short units or full-length courses.

Attempts to take advantage of this wealth of material and organize free learning communities are still in the beginning stages. They include OpenLearn, an online community organized around open educational resources by the Open University in the UK the School of Everything, and Unclasses—both platforms where teachers can find students, and Peer2Peer University, “an online community of open study groups for short university-level courses.” Also, the University of the People is an online-only nonprofit offering bachelor’s degrees in business and computer science using open texts. And you can also start your own on-the-ground free learning community, as Mary Blackburn has done with her small-scale experiment, the Anhoek School or use a platform like NaMaYa to set up your own school for free.

Education is a right. Free college is an important part of the movement to make that right available to all.

A Quick History of Education Reform, Civil Rights, and the Student Loan Crisis

The end of free-tuition began before with the GI Bill and the economic boom following WWII. These factors dramatically increased the number of families who could afford college in the United States (something most people remember fondly). Businesses also began to requiring college degrees around this time.

Some college fees started to rise from WWII until the 60’s. We lost Kennedy and LBJ took office, but college costs remained relatively low. Student protests, support from figures like Martin Luther King, and a changing culture resulted in LBJ’s sweeping Civil Right’s legislation from 63′ – 68′ including Johnson’s Higher Education Act of 1965. See a full list of Johnson’s Civil Rights legislation to really grasp why “the parties switched” and the student loan crisis began.

Johnson’s arguably well-intentioned legislation created a huge influx of college eligible Americans. Instead of continuing the tradition of tuition-free public colleges by increasing tax funding to meet these demands, states began reducing the per-student funding across the board, and state schools began charging tuition for the first time since the Morrill Land-Grand Act (explained below).

The current student debt crisis was firmly cemented with Nixon’s Student Loan Marketing Association (aka Sallie Mae). Sallie Mae was intended as a way to ensure students funds for tuition costs instead, it increased the cost of education exponentially for students and taxpayers alike.

From Sallie Mae to today we can trace consistent, continuous drops in per-student state funding for public colleges and rapidly rising tuition costs in all colleges (public and private).

FACT: The Student Loan Marketing Association was created originally in 1972 as a government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) and began privatizing its operations in 1997, a process it completed at the end of 2004 when Congress terminated its federal charter, ending its ties to the government. Learn more about Sallie Mae.

The 1927 Bombing That Remains America’s Deadliest School Massacre

Columbine. Virginia Tech. University of Texas. Sandy Hook. America’s terrible history of school shootings is a list whose members can’t be named alone. Talk about any single one, and the others always hover on the periphery. But one name rarely gets mentioned among the others, the oldest and deadliest school massacre in U.S. history: the Bath School bombing.

In 1927, Bath was a rural village of 300 people despite its location ten miles from Lansing, the state capital. The local institute of learning was Bath Consolidated School, built only five years earlier to replace the scattered one-room schools of the surrounding farmland. It had 314 students from around the region, many the sons and daughters of farmers. Some students were bused in, and all took classes with their peers over the course of elementary and high school.

May 18 was the last day of classes for students that year, but at 8:45 the north wing of the three-story structure exploded with such force that the boom was heard miles away.

“We knew it came from Bath, but we didn’t know what it was or anything, so we jumped in the old car and drove as fast as we could to see what it was,” Irene Dunham told the Lansing State Journal. The centenarian is the oldest living survivor. She was 19 at the time, a senior about to finish her last year—and stayed home that morning due to a sore throat.

“There was a pile of children about five or six under the roof and some of them had arms sticking out, some had legs, and some just their heads sticking out. They were unrecognizable because they were covered with dust, plaster and blood,” wrote local author Monty J. Ellsworth in his 1927 account, The Bath School Disaster. “It is a miracle that many parents didn’t lose their minds before the task of getting their children out of the ruins was completed. It was between five and six o’clock that evening before the last child was taken out.”

As community members rushed to help after the explosion, getting rope to lift up the collapsed roof and pull the students and teachers from the rubble, a member of the school board named Andrew Kehoe drove up to the site. Kehoe stepped out of his truck filled with dynamite and shrapnel, aimed his rifle at it, and fired. The ensuing explosion killed the school superintendent, several other bystanders, and Kehoe himself.

In addition to the hundreds of pounds of explosives that had set off the blast at the school, fire department personnel and police officers found another 500 pounds of unexploded pyrotol dynamite rigged up around the school’s basement, along with a container of gasoline that may have been placed there to cause a fire if the dynamite failed. Kehoe had also burned his farmhouse and killed his wife and two horses their bodies were discovered at the farm, along with a sign attached to the property fence that read, “Criminals are made, not born.” 

The bombing happened on May 18, 1927 and resulted in the deaths of 44 people, including 38 students. (Courtesy of Arnie Bernstein) The new memorial park, in which stands the cupola that was once at the top of the school. (Courtesy of Arnie Bernstein ) A car that was near the school, destroyed by the bombing. (Courtesy of Arnie Bernstein) The remains of Andrew Kehoe's house, where he killed his wife, Nellie. (Courtesy of Arnie Bernstein)

Prior to the massacre, Kehoe had been just another community member. He lived with his wife, Nellie, on a farm, and held the position of treasurer on the Bath school board. The one-time electrician had a large supply of explosives—World War I surplus—bought from the government that he used to help farmers remove tree stumps. There’d been several unusual incidents prior to the bombing: Kehoe killed his neighbor’s dog, beat one of his horses to death, and argued with members of the school board over the cost of ongoing taxes for the consolidated school. But it had never been anything so alarming that other villagers had any suspicion of what was coming.

“A lot of the stupid things he did were just stupid things people did,” says Arnie Bernstein, the author of Bath Massacre: America’s First School Bombing.

In the end 44 people died, 38 of them students. It wasn’t the first bombing in the country’s history—at least eight were killed during the Haymarket Square rally in Chicago in 1886, and 30 when a bomb exploded in Manhattan in 1920. But none had been so deadly as this, or affected so many children.

Newspapers rushed to make sense of the tragedy. They called Kehoe insane, demented, a madman. Although there was little understanding of mental illness at that point, the media still tried to find reasons for the bombing. “He was notified last June that the mortgage on his farm would be foreclosed, and that may have been the circumstance that started the clockwork of anarchy and madness in his brain,” claimed the New York Times, while the Boston Daily Globe suggested that two head injuries may have disrupted his thinking.

“At the conclusion of the inquest, it says he was of rational mind the whole time,” Bernstein says. “It does take a rational mind to plan all that out. The reality is there’s no why.”

In the immediate aftermath of the bombing, the community was inundated with well wishes and donations—as well as rubbernecking tourists. As funerals were held in homes around Bath over the weekend, as many as 50,000 people drove through the town, causing massive traffic jams. But almost as quickly as the media frenzy built up, it abruptly ceased—in part because of Charles Lindbergh’s successful first-ever nonstop transatlantic flight two days after the bombing. Combined with the lack of true mass media, the Bath bombing quickly fell out of the news cycle.

“In a way that’s probably the best thing that could happen for the town, because it gave them time to mourn and heal,” Bernstein says.

Within a year, the school had been repaired, and classes moved from local stores back to the schoolhouse. The school remained in place until the 1970s, when it was torn down and replaced by a memorial park. In the center of the park stands the school’s cupola, exactly where it would have been on the school. For Bernstein, it’s a place of quiet and peacefulness, a fitting tribute to the students and community members who died.

“In the face of horror we discover how decent we are,” Bernstein says. “That, to me, is the beauty of Bath.”

Aftermath of the Orangeburg Massacre

After Sellers’s conviction, the state of South Carolina effectively closed the book on the Orangeburg Massacre, despite no one being held accountable for the students killed and injured that night.

The lack of justice and conflicting accounts of what had happened inflamed the racial divide between black and white residents of Orangeburg. Even many historians have largely left the incident out of civil rights articles and educational textbooks.

Survivors of the Orangeburg Massacre were determined the deaths of Hammond, Middleton and Smith would not be in vain. In 1999, many joined with white Orangeburg residents and called for healing in the community. In 2003, Governor Mark Sanford offered a written apology for the massacre.

In 2006, Cleveland Sellers’s son Bakari was elected to the South Carolina Legislature. Speaking with emotion at a SC State memorial service to honor those lost in the massacre, he said, “We join here today in our own memorial to remember three dead and 27 injured in yet another massacre that marked yet another people’s struggle against oppression. These men who died here were not martyrs to a dream but soldiers to a cause.”

Despite official government apologies, most survivors of the Orangeburg Massacre feel South Carolina continues to suppress knowledge of what really happened. More than fifty years later, they’re still haunted by the carnage that took place and vow to continue to honor the victims and work to bring the truth to light to prevent a repeat of the tragedy.

Carlos Casta󱻚 and Other Hallucinogens

Hallucinogens can be found in the extracts of some plants or mushrooms, or they can be manmade like LSD. The ergot fungus, from which Hofmann synthesized LSD in 1938, has been associated with hallucinogenic effects since ancient times.

Peyote, a cactus native to parts of Mexico and Texas, contains a psychoactive chemical called mescaline. Native Americans in Mexico have used peyote and mescaline in religious ceremonies for thousands of years.

There are more than 100 species of mushrooms around the world that contain psilocybin, a hallucinogenic compound. Archeologists believe humans have used these “magic mushrooms” since prehistoric times.

Carlos Casta󱻚 was a reclusive author whose best-selling series of books include The Teachings of Don Juan, published in 1968.

In his writings, Casta󱻚 explored the use of mescaline, psilocybin and other hallucinogenics in spirituality and human culture. Born in Peru, Casta󱻚 spent much of his adult life in California and helped to define the psychological landscape of the 1960s.

A number of manmade hallucinogens, such as MDMA (ecstasy or molly) and ketamine, are sometimes associated with dance parties and “rave culture.” PCP (angel dust) was used in the 1950s as a anesthetic before it was taken off the market in 1965 for its hallucinogenic side effects, only to become a popular recreational drug in the 1970s.

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