Lynch Street: The May 1970 Slayings at Jackson State College

By Tim Spofford | Go to book overview

4

BY THE
MAGNOLIA TREE

The Belgians cut off my hands in the Congo
They lynch me still in Mississippi.

—Langston Hughes

At their breakfast tables on Thursday morning, May 14, Mississippians unfolded the Jackson Clarion-Ledger and read the official version of the night's miniriot at Jackson State. They had to look for the story, though. It was under a front-page article about racial unrest twelve hundred miles away in a Syracuse. New York high school.


MOB ATTACKS
AUTOS HERE

The Mississippi Highway Patrol joined Jackson police shortly before Wednesday midnight on the Jackson State College campus, in an effort to quiet rampaging students who started stoning cars and buildings about 9:30 P.M.

There were unofficial reports, also, that some National Guardsmen had been alerted for possible service at the college.

Shortly before midnight. also, newsmen standing at roadblocks some four blocks from the college reported "something" burning in Lynch Street in front of the college. They speculated it might be an auto.

There were also rumors that students were threatening to burn a Reserve Officer Training Corps building on the campus.

Police quelled them after less than an hour, forcing the students back to the campus. No early arrests were reported.

The Ledger added that nobody was seriously injured and the melee had been started by the cornerboys, the "college dropouts or kickouts" hanging around the campus. Riddled with errors and glorifying the role of local lawmen, the Ledger's story was typical of newspaper reporting in Jackson.

There were two daily newspapers in the capital: the Clarion-Ledger and

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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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