Lynch Street: The May 1970 Slayings at Jackson State College

By Tim Spofford | Go to book overview

8

MAJESTY OF
THE LAW

If I were the sheriff and a negro fiend fell into my
hands, I would run him out of the county. If I were
governor and were asked for troops to protect him, I
would send them. But if I were a private citizen, I
would head the mob to string the brute up.

—James K.Vardaman,Mississippi governor,1904-8

Tuesday, May 19, 1970. On a highway in southern Georgia, civil rights marchers followed three mule-drawn wagons on a hundred-mile march to Atlanta. On each of the three wagons was a coffin with a sign: 2 Killed in Jackson, 4 Killed in Kent, 6 Killed in Augusta. In New York City, public schools closed to honor the students slain at Jackson State. And in Washington, the "front runner"for the Democratic presidential nomination, Senator Edmund Muskie, announced he would join a congressional delegation at the funeral of James Green in Jackson on Friday.

While the nation continued to focus attention on the campus slayings in Mississippi, another confrontation between students and lawmen pushed Jackson to the brink of renewed violence.

At 7:30 A.M., state construction trucks pulled up along the Lynch Street curb in front of Alexander Hall. State workmen and agents of the highway patrol's crime lab got out of the trucks, walked to the dormitory, and entered the west-wing doorway. They began removing the shattered doors and windows that appeared night after night on local and network television—an embarrassment to the state of Mississippi. But the students on watch alerted their comrades, and as the white workmen boarded up the west-wing doorway, a crowd of more than a hundred black youths closed in on them. The students ordered the white men off their campus. The whites moved from the doorway, walked back to their trucks, and left Lynch Street.

It was the second time in twenty-four hours that workmen and state

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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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