Book explores the civil rights movement; Delano Middleton’s Story Shared Through Fiction |


Zachary Middleton finds it important to connect the dots between the historic civil rights movement and contemporary youth culture. He hopes his new historical fiction book that explores the life of his great-uncle who died in the Orangeburg Massacre will help him do so.

On February 8, 1968, three students were killed and 28 others were injured when SC Highway Patrol soldiers opened fire on crowds of protesters following three nights of escalating racial tensions over efforts to to desegregate the All-Star Triangle Bowl.

South Carolina State College students Henry Smith and Samuel Hammond, as well as Wilkinson High School student Delano Middleton, 19, were killed.

Delano Middleton was the uncle of Zachary’s father, Alonzo Middleton, a longtime Orangeburg businessman who recently retired after 36 years in the insurance industry.

Zachary said his self-published book “Running After Delano” focuses on the life of Delano through the lens of Alonzo, who was only 10 years old when Delano was killed.

“This is the personality of Delano Middleton. Who was he as a person? I was fortunate enough to sit down with about 22 people who were alive during that time, knew the community and knew him, ”Middleton said.

“I wanted our young people to be able to connect the dots between the historic civil rights movement and what is happening now. So there are a lot of ways that I try to do this in the story, but at least I try to keep the integrity of the real events that happened during that time, ”he said.

The 33-year-old continued, “The schedule has been drawn between a six-month period, but he’s focusing on some of his ups and downs. I wanted to tell it through my father’s lens, through the lens of a 10-year-old child, a bit like a “ To Kill a Mockingbird ”, or “ Monday’s Not Coming ”, to have the competence of a young being what. structure something that’s a very deep subject, something really difficult.

In the book, which is just over 100 pages long, he explores who Delano was among those who knew him best.

“Delano was the person running the plow for the family. He was a person with a good sense of humor. He was a person who was about 6-4 ”or 6-5” tall. According to people close to him, he was pushing. His best friend said he was recruited by the state of Kansas to play football.

“One of the things he shared was the fact that he had dreams. He wanted to own a property, he wanted to get a type of household that was behind Whittaker. Whittaker is what African Americans of that time held a special place, ”said Middleton.

“These are stories that have never been shared, and I think it helps young people see and say, ‘Hey, I can be a good steward of my life. You never know how much time you have, but I can keep progressing, so that’s the hope, ”he said.

Middleton said his book was among the first books to come out for a company he started.

“This will be one of the starter books from a company I created called Grace to Cultivate LLC. We’re going to do a lot of things. We’re a brand of imagination and we’ll do a lot of things from there. writing from a social media point of view and point of view, ”he said.

Middleton said that while realizing that the Orangeburg massacre was a painful part of history, especially for his father, there were ways to overcome the injury and do productive things for the community in the ‘to come up.

“It’s actually part of the end of the book. At the end of the book, one of the things I do is be intentional to show this story too, the image of my dad coming back to his town. Born in Orangeburg. He and my mom had a business for 36 years. It’s an incredible tribute, “said Middleton.

“They were married at Greater Faith Baptist Church, where I am associate minister. In this same church, they made a commitment and made a commitment to the community and the people here in Orangeburg. So it’s definitely part of the story, ”he said.

Middleton’s book can be purchased through Amazon at the following link: Fifteen percent of the net proceeds will go to Orangeburg-based charities.

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