Sunday, May 17, 2009

In Memory: Jackson State Murders

Today is Friday, 15 May 2009.

I’ve been so caught up in following the dénouement of the civil war in Sri Lanka that I forgot to post the following column.

On 14 May 1970, a few more than a hundred students at Jackson State College, in Jackson, Mississippi, an historically Black institution, gathered to protest the murders eleven days before at Kent State. Cars were overturned and fires were set, then extinguished.

Shortly after midnight on this date, a force of at least 75 members of the Mississippi Highway Patrol and Jackson Police Department opened fire, unprovoked, on the students, murdering two. The police later claimed they had come under sniper fire, but no evidence was ever uncovered to support this rationalization.

No police were ever charged in the murders, let alone convicted. Is it any surprise that coverage of the murders of Black students was hardly a ripple, compared to the tidal wave of publicity surrounding the Kent State murders?

Murdered were Phillip Lafayette Gibbs, 21, a junior, and James Earl Green, 17, a student at Jim Hill High School; twelve others were wounded.


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