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August 1955   go to audio


Lamar Smith, sixty-three-year-old farmer and World War II veteran, was shot in cold blood on the crowded courthouse lawn in Brookhaven, Mississippi, for urging blacks to vote. In Local People, John Dittmer says that "although the sheriff saw a white man leaving the scene 'with blood all over him,' no one admitted to having witnessed the shooting" and "the killer went free."




audio Click on the play button to hear the following excerpt.         Total time: 23 seconds

We had police brutality. And you know, the police would always find the fault with the black man, you know, to lock him up. And we neveró. It wasn't any white being locked up, but just only blacks. And we just got, you know, kind of fed up on that. And we decided to do something about it. And we decided we'll march against them.

--Bea Jenkins, a Sardis, Mississippi, native who became active in the civil rights movement in the early sixties.