Lynch Street: The May 1970 Slayings at Jackson State College

By Tim Spofford | Go to book overview

EPILOGUE

The past is never dead. It's not even past.

—William Faulkner

Litigation in the Jackson State case dragged on for more than a decade. In New Orleans in October 1974, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled there had been a sniper at Jackson State, but that the lawmen's barrage "far exceeded the response that was appropriate."The court added that Mississippi and the City of Jackson enjoyed "sovereign immunity," so they could not be held liable for the "excessive" shooting.

Seven years later in January 1982, the black plaintiffs appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court to reopen the 13.8 million dollar lawsuit against the state and the city. Only Justices Thurgood Marshall and William Brennan voted to hear arguments in the case. After a dozen years in the courts, the Jackson State case was closed.

Nearly three years before this final decision, I flew to Mississippi to begin research on the Jackson State killings. At the time, I was a college writing teacher from upstate New York. Ever since my days as a college student back in the turbulent spring of 1970, the killings at Kent and Jackson State had left a lasting impression on me. A decade later, I was glad that most Americans still remembered Kent State, but dismayed they had long forgotten the killings at the black college in Jackson. That convinced me to go to Mississippi.

It was April 1979 when my jet nosed down and cruised above the pine treetops and the muddy creeks of central Mississippi. The land below seemed strange. The yellow clay looked warm and moist, unlike the frozen ground in upstate New York that April. I took a bus later that day to Jackson State University, as it was now called. The black busdriver pulled

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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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