Monday, February 16, 2009

Will There Be Justice For Mack Charles Parker & Others???

Burial of Hate Crime Victim

In a flag draped casket the body of Mack Charles Parker a victim of a lynch mob is lowered into a grave. Awaiting trial on charges of having raped a pregnant white woman Parker was dragged from his unguarded cell by a masked mob in Poplarville in Mississippi and his body was found May 4, 1959.

Photo from the Erle Johnston Papers, McCain Library and Archives, University of Southern Mississippi.

Mack Charles Parker, a resident of Poplarville, Mississippi, was jailed for allegedly raping a white woman. A white mob abducted Mr. Parker from his jail cell, beat him, took him to Louisiana and then shot him. Although Parker's abductors were well known and some admitted their complicity to FBI agents, the judge in the case, Sebe Dale – a white supremacist and member of the White Citizens' Council – encouraged the grand jury to return no indictments against the killers.

Bill Minor /
Political Columnist For The Clarion Ledger

February 13, 2009

On a Friday night 50 years ago this April, eight masked white men burst into a jail atop the Pearl River County Courthouse, asking terrified black prisoners: "Where is M.C. Parker?"

Knowing this was a lynch party, a prisoner pointed to Parker's cell as the 23-year-old black man began screaming for help, loud enough to be heard by a nurse in the county medical clinic across the street.

Led by beefy former deputy sheriff J.P. Walker, three men began beating the struggling Parker with clubs and tying his hands with a rope. After beating Parker senseless, the mob dragged his body in a trail of blood outside to waiting automobiles.

Ten days later, the bullet-ridden body of Mack Charles Parker popped to the surface of the Pearl River 15 miles away near Bogalusa.

Thus Parker, scheduled to go to trial on charges of raping a white woman, arguably became in 1959 America's last classic lynching victim.

What followed left a dark page in Mississippi history: The town's hostile reaction to a massive FBI investigation that identified all participants in the lynching, and then a travesty of justice which sealed the case with no one charged or punished.

Today, knowledgeable Poplarville residents say everyone connected with the lynching has died and reopening the case would be useless. Moreso, the community has moved on to a new day, a new openness, as County Administrator Adrian Lumpkin attests.

Lumpkin hosted me and Jerry Mitchell, prize-winning investigative reporter for The Clarion-Ledger, recently to revisit the scene of the April 24, 1959, Parker lynching. Whereas Parker's case was an interracial crime, "we now have some interracial marriages here in Pearl River County," said Lumpkin.

The very cell from which Parker was abducted is now without bars and used mostly for storage. The beige-brick county courthouse, built in 1918, is much as I remember it when covering the Parker case in 1959.

Sixty FBI agents were sent into Poplarville by Director J. Edgar Hoover to crack the case. The area staunchly resented Gov. J.P. Coleman for inviting the FBI and the town treated Parker's disappearance as a joke until his body was found. Townspeople clammed up to reporters when asked about rumors that advance knowledge of the lynching was widespread.

The FBI after 30 days identified each man connected with the lynching, including some 30 who met on a farm where the lynch party was picked. (Unknown to Sheriff Osborne Moody, one of his deputies furnished jail keys to the mob.)

The FBI's 370-page findings were given to Coleman and, following custom, he handed it to Pearl River County District Attorney Vernon Broome to pursue state charges.

Incredibly, the FBI evidence was never presented to the all-white grand jury after blathering Circuit Judge Sebe Dale Sr. (who quoted and dressed like racial demagogue Theodore Bilbo) charged the grand jurors to "preserve ... our way of life" and "keep your mouth shut."

Dale (his son, Sebe Jr., later became a respected jurist) had refused Sheriff Moody's request to move Parker out of the county or have National Guardsmen present at Parker's trial. (Rape then was a capital offense in Mississippi.)

Parker, just out of the Army, allegedly raped the young white mother while she waited in a stalled automobile off U.S. 11 late on Feb. 23, 1959.

Mitchell is part of a national civil rights cold case project supported by several news organizations and seeking foundation funding to develop documentaries on unpunished civil rights killings. That's what brought us and a film crew to the lynching scene.

Notorious as the Parker case was, only one book, Blood Justice, by Howard Smead, a University of Maryland lecturer and Washington Post librarian, has been written about it.

Write Bill Minor at Box 1243, Jackson MS 39215.

February 15, 2009

Jerry Mitchell

A day after the FBI asked for the public's assistance in solving 43 unpunished killings in Mississippi during the civil rights era, researchers say they know of at least 18 more slayings that haven't been included.

"There definitely needs to be a bigger list," said Margaret Burnham, professor at Northeastern University School of Law in Boston.

On Thursday, the FBI highlighted 43 killings between 1955 and 1967 in Mississippi.

Burnham said research has uncovered 11 additional cases. She said one name the FBI released is misspelled - it should be the Rev. J.E. Evasingston, who was killed in 1955 in Tallahatchie.

Ben Greenberg of Boston, a journalist and blogger investigating the Feb. 28, 1964, killing of Clifton Walker, north of Woodville, said he's run across seven names in his research that don't appear on the FBI list and weren't cited by Burnham's research. "And there might be more," he said.

Three of those - Lula Mae Anderson, Eli Jackson and Dennis Jones - were found dead in a car in December 1963, not far from Poor House Road, where Walker is believed to have been killed by Klansmen.

FBI officials could not be reached for comment, but agents previously have acknowledged the names they collected came mainly from a list of slayings gathered by the Southern Poverty Law Center - a list center officials say was never meant to be comprehensive.

Burnham said they have found the additional names through searches of archives kept by civil rights organizations and others. A number of those killings were contained in the NAACP papers, investigated by then-Mississippi NAACP field secretary Medgar Evers.

Among the 43 victims listed is Louis Allen, who was killed Jan. 31, 1964, after he told a federal grand jury that a Mississippi lawmaker did not kill voting-rights activist Herbert Lee in self-defense in Liberty in 1961.

Allen's son, Henry, said he hopes publicizing the name will bring in more leads for the killing that took place 45 years ago.

"We put out a $25,000 reward, and we haven't heard a thing," he said. "If the FBI is working on it, it's all good."

Alvin Sykes of Kansas City is the architect of the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crimes Act, which creates a cold-cases unit inside the Justice Department to gather information for possible prosecution of unpunished killers from the civil-rights era.

He said he's encouraged the FBI released these names in order to get public input, "But this is not an exhaustive list of the actual cases of the civil rights era in Mississippi."

He said more names likely will arise in a forum in Jackson later this year where victims' families can come forward and share names and information. No date has been set for that forum.

"We've been made aware of names that haven't been turned in to the FBI, and we will make them aware of them,"Sykes said.

Surprisingly, all seven additional names that Greenberg found were either mentioned or referenced in the FBI file itself.

He has obtained a copy of the file of the Walker case, but some of the most important information has been redacted, such as the names of the two suspects recommended for arrest by the FBI, he said.

If the FBI is truly interested in solving these cases, the entire files should be released to the families and the public, he said.

He recalled sharing some of the FBI files with the Walker family - files the family had never seen.

"A full approach to justice involves more than just procedures in the courtroom," he said. "It also involves as full accounting as possible of the truth in the community where the murders occurred."

February 12, 2009
The Clarion-Ledger

The FBI in Mississippi released today the names of 43 people who were
possibly victims of unsolved hate crimes in the state during the civil rights era.

The federal agency had announced in 2006 that it would identify and closely
examine all unsolved hate crimes that resulted in deaths before 1970.

The names are as follow:
# Date of Death: January 31, 1964
# Location: Liberty

# Date of Death: May 10, 1967
# Location: Jackson

# Date of Death: June 20, 1957
# Location: Yazoo City

# Date of Death: January 13, 1965
# Location: Winona

# Date of Death: October 13, 1961
# Location: McComb

# Date of Death: March 1, 1964
# Location: Jackson

# Date of Death: May-July, 1966 (circa James Meredith's March Against Fear)
# Location: Natchez

# Date of Death: June 25, 1958
# Location: Yalobusha County

# Date of Death: April, 1961 or 1962
Location: Taylorsville

# Date of Death: 1964
# Location: Canton

# Date of Death: Unknown; Body discovered December 24, 1955
# Location: Tallahatchie

# Date of Death: June 30, 1964
# Location: Vicksburg

# Date of Death: September 24, 1965
# Location: Near Sturgis

# Date of Death: September 30, 1962
# Location: Oxford

# Date of Death: January 11, 1966
# Location: Sidon

# Date of Death: October, 1959
# Location: Philadelphia

# Date of Death: February 27, 1967
# Location: Natchez

# Date of Death: October 20, 1963
# Location: Clarksdale

# Date of Death: May 7, 1955
# Location: Belzoni

# Date of Death: September 25, 1961
# Location: Unknown

# Date of Death: February 25, 1965
# Location: Rankin County

# Date of Death: January 7, 1958
# Location: Ruleville

# Date of Death: Unknown; Body discovered on January 17, 1963
# Location: Canton

# Date of Death: November 6, 1964
# Location: Pelahatchie

# Date of Death: December 3, 1955
# Location: Tallahatchie

# Date of Death: October 12, 1959
# Location: Clarksdale

# Date of Death: August 10, 1964
# Location: Cleveland

# Date of Death: August 14, 1959
# Location: Centreville

# Date of Death: September 7, 1964
# Location: Canton

# Date of Death: April 25, 1959; Body discovered May 4, 1959
# Location: Poplarville, Pearl River County

# Date of Death: November 1, 1959
# Location: Corinth, Alcorn County

# Date of Death: August 8, 1965
# Location: Fayette

# Date of Death: February, 1965
# Location: Okolona

# Date of Death: January 29, 1956
# Location: Yazoo City

# Date of Death: January 22, 1965
# Location: Hinds County Jail, Jackson

# Date of Death: April 27, 1958
# Location: State Line

# Date of Death: August 13, 1955
# Location: Brookhaven

# Date of Death: July 9, 1966
# Location: Jackson, Hinds County, Mississippi or Crystal Springs, Copiah County

# Date of Death: June 26, 1964
# Location: Ruleville

# Date of Death: August 16, 1965; Body discovered August 19, 1965
# Location: Batesville

# Date of Death: January 23, 1965
# Location: Hattiesburg

# Date of Death: February 28, 1964
# Location: Woodville, Wilkinson County or Natchez, Adams County

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Anonymous said...

I think that there already has been justice for him. He got what was coming to him.

Teach these bucks to keep their paws off of white women.

Anonymous said...

Shut the fuck up ignorant honkey.

Iarya said...

Both of the above are prime examples of racism from both sides.