Lynch Street: The May 1970 Slayings at Jackson State College

By Tim Spofford | Go to book overview

9

SHOWDOWN

For if they do this when the wood is green, what will
happen when it is dry?

—Luke 23:31

Senator Edmund Muskie stood in the aisle of a Boeing 707 to address the congressmen, black leaders, and journalists seated before him. "Two young black men are dead," Muskie said, using the stewardess's microphone. "They died during a senseless display of violence at Jackson State College. Black Americans are all too often required to live in fear, fear often from the possible illegal overreaction of police authorities. From the facts at hand today, we seem to have yet another example of black lives not being valued."

Whitney Young, Jr., the husky black director of the National Urban League, rose in the jet's aisle to speak. "I am attending the funeral of the slain black youth in Jackson, Mississippi, because I want to help dramatize the sickness in our society that led to this tragedy. We are today a nation divisible with guns, and invective for all."

On Friday, May 22, 1970, Jackson was indeed a city divided by guns. Though guardsmen in jeeps were patrolling black neighborhoods, yet another white-owned store had been firebombed—the sixth such incident in a week. Troops were now stationed at Poindexter Park, about a mile north of Jackson State, and at Battlefield Park, a mile to the south. All leaves were cancelled for city police, and officers guarded most intersections along Lynch Street—the route of James Green's funeral procession. In addition, about 350 highway patrolmen were on alert in Jackson. At the Governor's Mansion downtown, twenty patrolmen stood guard with shotguns.

In keeping with Jackson's martial spirit, the morning's Clarion-Ledger

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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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