Lynch Street: The May 1970 Slayings at Jackson State College

By Tim Spofford | Go to book overview

3

THE MINIRIOT

The white South said that it knew "niggers," and I
was what the white South called "nigger. " Well, the
white South had never known me—never known
what I felt
.

—Richard Wright

"Better tell them security guards out there they better get them niggers into them dormitories, or we fixin'to have some trouble out here!" a Jackson policeman yelled into his squad-car radio. He was parked near the Jackson State campus and peering down Lynch Street in the dark.

"Ten-four," the police radio dispatcher replied.

"These niggers are congregated behind that fence, and them security guards should put them back in their rooms," the policeman added. "They're throwin' them bottles and things over the fence out in the street."

It was 9:20 on the night of Wednesday, May 13, 1970, and it was muggy and about eighty degrees on Lynch Street. A policeman cruising by the Jackson State campus had just drawn a spray of bottles and rocks. He had stopped and gotten out of his car near Alexander Hall, a women's dormitory, and stared at a crowd of about a hundred students milling behind a chain-link fence. He went back to his car and drove away.

Jackson State students had tossed rocks at passing white motorists several times that week, but security guards and student leaders had managed to keep things from getting out of hand. On Wednesday night, however, the crowd outdoors along the campus was larger than usual— about three hundred students and a few cornerboys along Lynch Street. They stood or sat on the lawns in front of the women's dorm, the Student Union next door, and up on the knoll beside Stewart Hall, a men's dorm. They eyed each motorist driving the two-block stretch by the darkened campus. When a white motorist passed, a group of rock-slingers let loose with a barrage, denting a fender or smashing a windshield, sending the white driver tearing down Lynch Street and jumping traffic lights to get past the college.

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Lynch Street: The May 1970 Slayings at Jackson State College
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Lynch Street - The May 1970 Slayings at Jackson State College *
  • Contents *
  • 1 - Strange Roots *
  • 2 - Mayday in Amerika *
  • 3 - The Miniriot *
  • 4 - By the Magnolia Tree *
  • 5 - Jacktwo *
  • 6 - Yoknapatawpha in Black *
  • 7 - Crisis *
  • 8 - Majesty of the Law *
  • 9 - Showdown *
  • 10 - Nixon's Court *
  • Epilogue *
  • Sources and Methods *
  • Index *
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