Cleveland L. Sellers Jr., president of Voorhees College in Denmark, South Carolina, has announced that he will step down from his post at the end of the 2015-16 academic year. Dr. Sellers stated that he was stepping down for medical reasons.
Dr. Sellers is the eighth president of Voorhees College and has served in that post since 2008. Previously, he served as director of the African American studies program at the University of South Carolina.
Dr. Sellers was active in the civil rights movement as early as age 15. In 1965 he was named program director of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. In 1968, Sellers was charged with inciting a riot after police killed three Black students at South Carolina State University who were protesting at a segregated bowling alley. Nine police officers faced federal charges in what became known as the “Orangeburg Massacre.” All nine were acquitted. Cleveland Sellers was the only person to serve time in jail as a result of the Orangeburg Massacre. Twenty-five years afterward, Dr. Sellers was granted a full pardon.
After serving time in jail, Dr. Sellers earned a bachelor’s degree at Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina. He holds a master’s degree from Harvard University and an educational doctorate from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Dr. Sellers is the author of several books including the memoir The River of No Return: The Autobiography of a Black Militant and the Life and Death of SNCC (William Morrow, 1973).