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May 3, 2019 -- Martyrs of the Civil Rights Movement 1955-1968
Previous blogs in this series are now on my web site
at Living Legacy Pilgrimage blog page.

On the road again: 
Greetings from Fort Davis, Texas. Last night, Cyndy and I saw the mysterious Marfa Lights in nearby Marfa. Tonight, we'll attend the Star Party at the MacDonald Astronomical Observatory. Tomorrow, we'll be at a Cinco de Mayo celebration in Alpine. 

Today's Story

The "Star Spangled Banner," composed by Francis Scott Key in 1814, is an anthem of America's white society, irrelevant and inapplicable to enslaved or marginalized persons of color of the past and of present.
Yet, in "the land of the free and the home of the brave," courageous African Americans have stood up against racial injustice and given their lives so that other suppressed people of color might know freedom. 
As you read the names of these martyrs of the Civil Rights Movement  and the circumstances of their deaths, think about the injustice of not only their murders but also of how little most of Americans know about them ... with the exception of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., of course.
The four white students at Kent State University who were shot by National Guardsmen for protesting the Vietnam War in 1970 are immortalized in many people's minds. 

But I wonder how many people know about the three black students who were shot and killed -- and another 27 persons injured -- on the campus of South Carolina State College by Highway Patrol officers for demonstrating against  for civil rights in 1968.
I didn't. Nor did I -- and perhaps you -- know about most of the victims presented here ... until now.
Source, including photographs:
Southern Poverty Law Center, Civil Rights Memorial
May 7, 1955 -- Belzoni, Mississippi: Rev. George Lee was murdered for using his pulpit and printing press to urge blacks to vote.

August 13, 1955 -- Brookhaven, Mississippi: Lamar Smith was shot dead on a courthouse lawn for organizing blacks to vote. The shooting took place in broad daylight with dozens of witnesses, but the killer was never indicted because no one would admit to seeing the shooting.

August 28, 1955 -- Money, Mississippi: Emmett Louis Till, 14, of Chicago was brutally murdered for supposedly flirting with a white woman.

October 22, 1955 -- Mayflower, Texas: John Earl Reese, 16, was shot while dancing in a café by persons who were attempting to terrorize blacks who wanted to build a new school.

January 23, 1957 - Montgomery, Alabama: Willie Edwards, Jr., was forced by the KKK to jump off a bridge into the Alabama River because they believed he was dating a white woman.

April 25, 1959 - Poplarville, Mississippi: Mack Charles Parker, 23, was accused of raping a white woman; three days before his trial, a masked mob took him from his jail cell, beat him, shot him, and threw his body in the Pearl River.

September 25, 1961 - Liberty, Mississippi: Herbert Lee was killed by a state legislator for registering blacks to vote.

April 9, 1962 - Taylorsville, Mississippi: Cpl. Roman Ducksworth, Jr., a military police officer, was shot by a local police officer who mistook him for a Freedom Rider.

September 30, 1962 - Oxford, Mississippi: Paul Guihard, a reporter for a French news service, was killed by gunfire from a white mob protesting the admission of James Meredith to the University of Mississippi.

April 23, 1963 - Attalla, Alabama: William Lewis Moore, a white postman from Baltimore, was shot and killed during his one-man march against segregation.

June 12, 1963 - Jackson, Mississippi: Medger Evers was shot and killed by a sniper for leading a campaign for integration.

September 15, 1963 - Birmingham, Alabama:   Carole Denise McNair, 11, Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley, all 14,  were killed in a bomb explosion at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, which had been a center for civil rights meetings and marches. 

September 15, 1963 - Birmingham, Alabama: Virgil Lamar Ware, 13, was fatally shot while riding on the handlebars of his brother's bicycle by white teenagers who had just come from a segregationist rally.

January 31, 1964 - Liberty, Mississippi: Louis Allen, after two years of harassment, was murdered for having witnessed the murder of Herbert Lee on September 25, 1961.

March 23, 1964 - Jacksonville, Florida: Johnnie Mae Chappell was murdered while walking along the road by white men looking for a black person to shoot.

April 7, 1964 - Cleveland, Ohio: Rev. Bruce Klunder, a white civil rights activist, was crushed to death by a bulldozer while protesting the construction of a segregated school.

May 2, 1964 - Meadville, Mississippi: Henry Hezekiah Dee and Charles Eddie Moore were killed by the KKK who believed they were part of an fictitious plot to arm blacks in the area.

June 21, 1964 - Philadelphia, Mississippi: James Earl Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner were shot and buried in an earthen dam for registering blacks to vote.

July 11, 1964 - Colbert, Georgia: Lt. Col. Lemuel Penn, a Washington, D.C., educator, was driving home from US Army Reserves training when he was shot by Klansmen in a passing car.

February 26, 1965 - Marion, Alabama: Jimmie Lee Jackson was beaten and shot by a state trooper for trying to protect his mother and grandfather from attacks by another trooper; his death led to the famous Selma-to-Montgomery march and eventual passage of the Voting Rights Act.

March 11, 1965 - Selma, Alabama: Rev. James Reeb, a Unitarian minister from Boston, was beaten to death by white men for participating in the Selma-to-Montgomery march.

March 25, 1965 - Selma, Alabama: Violo Gregg Liuzzo, a white housewife and mother from Detroit, was shot and killed, possibly by an FBI agent working undercover with the KKK, for ferrying civil rights marchers from Montgomery back to Selma.

June 2, 1965 - Bogalusa, Louisiana: Oneal Moore was one of two black deputies hired by white officials to appease civil rights demands; while on patrol, both were shot by persons in a passing car.

July 18, 1965 - Anniston, Alabama: Willie Brewster was shot and killed while on his way home from work by members of the National States Right Party, a violent neo-Nazi organization.

August 20, 1965 - Hayneville, Alabama: Jonathan Myrick Daniels, an Episcopal Seminary student in Boston, was shot by a deputy sheriff for registering blacks to vote.

January 3, 1966 - Tuskegee, Alabama: Samuel Leamon Young, Jr., was fatally shot by a white gas station owner for protesting segregated restrooms.

January 10, 1966 - Hattiesburg, Mississippi: Vernon Ferdinand Dahmer, a wealthy businessman, died from severe burns when his home was firebombed after he offered, via a radio broadcast, to pay poll taxes for blacks who couldn't afford the required fee.

June 10, 1966 - Natchez, Mississippi: Ben Chester White, who had no involvement in the Civil Rights Movement, was murdered by Klansmen who thought they could divert attention from a civil rights march by killing a black person.

July 30, 1966 - Bogalusa, Louisiana: Clarence Triggs, a bricklayer, was found dead on a roadside, shot through the head, after having attended a civil rights meeting.

February 27, 1967 - Natchez, Mississippi: Wharlest Jackson, the treasurer of his local NAACP chapter, was killed when a bomb planted in his car exploded; he had promoted in his workplace to a position previously held only by whites.

May 12, 1967 - Jackson, Mississippi: Benjamin Brown, a former civil rights organizer, was killed by stray gunshots fired into a crowd who were watching a student protest.

February 8, 1968 - Orangeburg, South Carolina: Samuel Ephesians Hammond, Jr., Delano Herman Middleton, and Henry Ezekial Smith were shot and killed by police who fired on student demonstrators at the South Carolina State College campus.

April 4, 1968 - Memphis, Tennessee: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who had won the Nobel Peace Prize for his role as a major architect of the Civil Rights Movement, was assassinated while preparing to lead a demonstration about unfair working conditions of sanitation workers in Memphis.

Next blog: Colorism, racism, and whiteness

is a powerful, eye-opening, mind-expanding experience into the depths of segregation, racism, and injustice inflicted by White supremacists onto African Americans from the end of slavery to the mid-1900s. 

It is also rife with stories of courage and determination by those who physically and vocally resisted injustices. Thus, it is an inspiration for citizens today to continue the ongoing struggle for justice and equality now.

Previous blogs in this series are now on  my web site  at   Living Legacy Pilgrimage blog page.  

Thank you for reading my stories.

God bless everyone ... no exceptions

Robert (Bob) Weir

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