Lynch Street: The May 1970 Slayings at Jackson State College

By Tim Spofford | Go to book overview

10

NIXON'S COURT

That Justice is a blind goddess
Is a thing to which we black are wise:
Her bandage hides two festering sores
That once perhaps were eyes.

—Langston Hughes

Biloxi, Mississippi. Resort town of palm trees, white antebellum mansions and beachfront motels facing the brown silty waters of the Gulf of Mexico. In 1972 it was a hustling town of strip joints, seedy bars, Keesler Air Force Base, and marinas. A wave-swept and battered city, Biloxi had survived Indian raids, Yankee conquerors, and killer hurricanes like Camille, which in 1969 had sucked away 157 lives and smashed 36,000 homes and 400 businesses along Mississippi's Gulf Coast.

Just 80 miles east of New Orleans—but more than 160 miles south of Jackson—Biloxi seemed more a part of Louisiana than Baptist Mississippi. Settled two centuries ago by the French, it was a Roman Catholic city of fifty-thousand (14 percent black). It had its own Mardi Gras festival, and like Bourbon Street, its own strip of nightclubs with girly shows and spirits flowing until the wee hours. Things were a lot quieter in the rest of Mississippi, where many towns had no bars at all, and those that did sell liquor closed the bars at midnight.

But Biloxi was the Sodom of Mississippi, a tolerant, easy-going resort town that had no great quarrel with a little vice and the racial peace that helped keep the tourist trade humming. True, Biloxi was the resting place of Mississippi's own Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy. And once there had been segregated buses and segregated water fountains here, as well as beaches for whites only. But during the sixties, there had been none of the lynchings and church-bombings that had erupted in other parts of Mississippi.

In February 1972 the students wounded two years before at Jackson

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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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