Blood Justice: The Lynching of Mack Charles Parker

By Howard Smead | Go to book overview

9
Bad News from Bilboville

In the midst of the storm over the mistreatment of suspects by the FBI and the growing issue of race in the upcoming gubernatorial race, Roy Wilkins ventured into the tumult of Mississippi to address a NAACP meeting in Jackson. The visit further complicated the situation for Mississippi's embattled governor, who was still determined at least publicly to bring the mob members to justice. On Sunday, May 17, Wilkins spoke to a packed house in the twelve-hundred-seat Lynch Street Lodge in observance of the fifth anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education. Wilkins told the crowd that blacks had a long way to go before they would realize the promise of the 1954 decision. Racial tranquility in Mississippi, he said, was "the tranquility that exists between the jailer and the jailed. Nothing we on the outside can say about Mississippi can condemn the state as soundly as the guilt feelings revealed in the utterances of its own citizens and newspapers." The NAACP's executive director reminded the audience that both J. P. Coleman and Sebe Dale "cried out against stronger federal civil rights legislation." In the old days, "When the South exercised total control over their racial situation, no Mississippi governor or circuit judge would have felt the need to say anything." As he spoke eight plainclothes deputies from the Hinds County Sheriff's Department arrived at the front door with pis-

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