Between 1882 and 1968 4,709 lynchings occurred in 43 states.
1954 The case of Brown vs Board of Education decision declared segregation in public schools unconstitutional.
1955 Mar 23: Jackson Citizens Council chartered as a non-profit corporation.
Aug 28: Emmett Till, a Chicago 14 year old, was accused of whistling at a white woman while he was buying candy in a store in Money owned by JW Milam and attended by his wife, Carolyn. His body was found by a fisherman three days later in the Tallhatchie River,
chained to a gin fan. He had been beaten beyond recognition and had been shot in the head.
Among Tutwiler Clinic patients involved in the Emmett Till case is Woodrow Jackson, who embalmed his body. Mr. Jackson said, “I’m proud of what I did. It’s hard to do a wet body, and they wanted the casket open.” The funeral was held in Chicago.
Another patient, recently deceased, was JW Kellum, lawyer for the defense, who said, “When they heard it was a Federal case, they wanted every lawyer in the county.” Mr. Kellum’s photo appeared in the Look magazine article at the time. Harvey Henderson, another local lawyer died in 2007. The trial was held in Sumner Courthouse. The all-white jury, after deliberating for an hour and five minutes, did not find JW Milam and Roy Bryant guilty, but they were shunned by their neighbors and moved away. (see 2007)
Dec 1: Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus to a white man and was arrested. (See
1956 The Mississippi Sovereignty Commission was formed by the state legislature to preserve
segregation laws in the state.
1957 Aug: Congress passed the Civil Rights Act
1958 Sep 22: The Citizens’ Council, Inc was chartered as part of the white supremacy group
1959 Apr 25: Mack Charles Parker , a truck driver, was accused of raping a white woman in Poplarville. He was dragged from his jail cell by a lynch mob. He was shot, bound in chains and his body thrown into the Pearl River. No one was ever charged or punished.
Dr. Gilbert Mason, Dr. Felix Dunn, Eulice White and Joseph Austin petitioned Harrison County supervisors to allow blacks access to the beach. When denied, they organized a series of wade-ins. Riots followed, with 6 blacks and one white being shot. The beach was finally opened 9 years later
1960 Dr Aaron Henry, a pharmacist from Clarksdale was elected head of the Mississippi NAACP
1961 May: twenty seven Freedom Riders arrested in Jackson.
1962 Aug 31: Fannie Lou Hamer was part of a group that tried to register to vote in Sunflower
County. She was asked to copy and interpret part of the Mississippi Constitution. She was able to copy it, but unable to interpret it. On the way back home the driver of the 18 women was arrested for “driving a bus the wrong color”.Later she was forced off the plantation, and had to move from place to place. (Several Tutwiler Clinic employees
Sep 20: James Meredith tried to enroll at Ole Miss. Governor Ross Barnett denied it by standing in the door of the admissions office. The US Supreme Court ordered the university to allow him to attend classes. Riots ensued, leaving 175 injured, 212 arrested. Federal forces numbering 23,000 eventually were called out to keep order.
Dec 4: Fannie Lou Hamer returned to register to vote and passed the test.
A U.S. Court order forced Mississippi to desegregate its state-run schools.
Bob Tyler, a white coach at a Meridian high school, played a black student in a football game. The Klan burned a cross on his lawn.
1963 Jun 12: Medgar Evers was shot and killed in his front yard in Jackson.
A lawsuit was filed against WLBT-TV for refusing to sell Dr. Aaron Henry air time
during his gubernatorial bid. The station lost its license in 1969
Aug 18: James Meredith became the first black to graduate from Ole Miss
Dr. Aaron Henry became president of COFO (Council of Federated Organizations) which planned the Freedom Summer in 1964.
1964 Feb 14: Whites abducted and whipped Alfred Whitley, a black employee at Armstrong Rubber Co. in Natchez.
Feb 15: Klansmen lured black mortician Archie Curtis and his assistant to a deserted field, stripped and beat them.
Feb 28: Clifford Walker, a black employee at International Paper Co. in Natchez, was killed on
his way home. His car was found off Highway 61, riddled with bullets, He was shot in the back. It was the first killing identified by congressional investigators as the work of the White Knights of the KKK. No one was prosecuted.
May 2: Charles Moore and Henry Dee, students, both of Meadville, were hitchhiking when
two Klansmen passed by. They suspected the two boys were involved in a rumored gun smuggling operation for an uprising by Black Muslims. The Klansmen went to get help,abducted the boys, drove into Homo Chitto National Forest where they were tied to trees and beaten unconscious. Later, a car drove into the woods, the bodies were lifted into the trunk, where a tarpaulin caught their blood. They were taken to Louisiana, weighted down with a Jeep motor block and dumped in the the Old River south of Tallulah. Klansmen James Seale and Charles Edwards, employees of International Paper Co in Natchez were arrested but never tried.
June 21: James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner were shot to death by
Klansmen who had been ordered to do it by Imperial Wizard Sam Bowers.They were buried in a levee in Neshoba county. A jury convicted Bowers and 6 other Klansmen of federal conspiracy charges, but no murder charges were ever filed.
Aug: The Democratic National Convention was interrupted by the Mississippi Freedom
Democratic Party which was led by Fannie Lou Hamer. It demanded the seats of the regular Mississippi Delegation on grounds that half of the would-be electorate had been denied vote in violation of the Constitution. The Credentials Committee of the Democratic party seated the all-white MS delegation and two members of the integrated Freedom Democratic Party.
Sept: The KKK bombed the home and later the grocery store of Mayor John Nosser.
The Klan bombed the home of Leonard Russell, a black union worker.
James Winston, a black employee of International Paper Co, was abducted and beaten.
Children of Lee Collins and Henrietta Franklin were among the first to integrate the
Marks public school system.
James Figgs was a student at MS Valley State when he acted as part of the security team
to insure the safety of the families housing freedom riders. He later took part in the mule train to DC.
Helen Ingram, age 16, and other students were attacked and beaten unconscious for
protesting the jailing of voter registration workers.
Aug 27: George Metcalfe, president of the Natchez branch of the NAACP and an employee at Armstrong Rubber Co was nearly killed when a bomb exploded in his car.
In 1964 alone in Mississippi there were 80 beatings, 35 shootings, 68 bombings or burnings
of churches, businesses and homes, much of it due to the White Knights of the KKK.
1965 Aug 15: Earl Hodges was beaten to death at his home after he reportedly tried to leave the
Klan. No one was ever prosecuted.
1966 Jan 10: Vernon Dahmer was an NAACP leader who was killed by the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan when his home and store were firebombed just north of Hattisburg. One Klansman quoted Imperial Wizard Bowers as saying, “A jury would never convict a white man for killin a nigger in Mississippi.” Three Klansmen were sentenced to life, but Bowers was freed after mistrials resulted from hung juries.
Jun: James Meredith was shot on US highway 51 near Hernando during a voter registration march.
June 10: Three Klansmen: James Jones, Claude Fuller and Ernest Avants lured Ben C.White to
a secluded area of Natchez, where he was killed. None of them was ever convicted. Later, testimony revealed that they had hoped to lure Dr. Martin Luther King to Natchez.
Sep: Diane Hardy became the first black woman to be accepted into Mississippi’s only all-white women’s college. Her family had threatening phone calls, vandalism by the KKK. Her father received numerous letters warning him that his job at Kerr-McGee was in danger. She left after one year, returning in May 1992 to finish. She graduated in 1996.
Nov 19: A Natchez jewelry store was firebombed.
Nov 19: The home of an Adams County Supervisor was hit with a grenade.
1967 Feb 27: Wharlest Jackson, an employee of Armstrong Rubber Co was killed on the way home when a time-delayed bomb blew up his pickup. Jackson had been offered and had
accepted a promotion to a position historically held by white employees. The company was a center for White Knights of the KKK. No one was prosecuted. (See 1998).
Robert Clark was the first black since Reconstruction elected to the state House of Representatives.
May 12: Ben Brown died after being struck by low officers’ bullets in a demonstration on Lynch St. in Jackson. No one was ever prosecuted. Eyewitness accounts say he was struck in the back and base of the neck after leaving a store with a sandwich and a bottle of soda.
Unita Blackwell became the first black woman mayor in Mississippi as Mayor of Mayersville.
1968 Apr 4: Dr. Martin Luther King assassinated in Memphis at the Lorraine Motel
May 13: Seventeen mule-drawn wagons filled with men, women and children from Quitman county left Marks . It took 30 days to get to Atlanta where they boarded a train form Washington DC. The Poor Peoples’ March had been organized by Dr. King.
JW Milam, one of the men who killed Emmett Till in 1955, died.
State Representative Robert Clark introduced an education reform bill in the state legislature,
requiring all children to attend school. (see 1982 and 2001)
1970 Rainey Pool, a one-armed sharecropper, was beaten to death outside a bar and thrown off the bridge in Sharkey county into the Sunflower RIver. Judge B.B. Wilkes threw out Joe Watson’s statement to the police in which he implicated himself and four others. Three days later, at the request of District Attorney George Everett, the charges were dismissed..
May: two students were killed by officers in a major racial disturbance at Jackson State University Dr. Gilbert Mason was the first African American to be admitted to the Mississippi Academy of
Family Physicians (see 1959)
1971 May: Jo Etha Collier was killed in a drive-by shooting in Drew. Three whites were charged.
1973 Gov. Bill Waller vetoed funding for the State Sovereignty Commission.
1975 William Ayers filed a lawsuit against Mississippi because of the segragated college system, which used standardized admissions tests that discriminated against blacks. The case was settled in 1992.
1977 The Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission, a domestic spy agency, was disbanded after waging a 21 year war on the civil rights movement. The State Legislature sealed its records for 50 years.
The Tuskegee Syphilis Study ended after 40 years. The US Public Health Service in Macon Co.,AL tracked the natural history of untreated syphilis in 399 impoverished black men, 274 of whom died. The men were never told they had syphilis. The comprehensive summary was never published, but 13 articles later appeared in various medical journals.
Eddie Carthan was elected the first black mayor of Tchula since Reconstruction.
1980 Dr. Aaron Henry, a civil rights activist from Clarksdale, was elected to the state legislature.
1982 The Education Reform Act was passed by the Mississippi state legislators. Representative Robert Clark introduced it and it was only when William Winter became governor that it passed after 14 years in the education committee of the state legislature. This Act was the nation’s first comprehensive education reform which established public kindergarten for all Mississippi children, a minimum drop-out age, and mandatory attendance at school.
1983 Aug 15: The Tutwiler Clinic opened for patient care, following renovations in which the black waiting room was closed. .
Oct: On the Friday before the dedication of the Clinic and the town clerk collected cookies from those who cared to bring them by city hall; she carefully gave Dr. Brooks two bags of store bought cookies, “This one is from us and this one from the Nigras.”
Standing at the checkout counter at Tutwiler Grain Elevator, one could see in the office, a noose hanging from the wall with other memorabilia. It was not removed until 1996, when new owners took over.
1984 The Tutwiler Clinic hosted the Harvard School of Public Health committee on Hunger in America as they evaluated the food stamp program at the 20 year anniversary.
Opening of the black museum in Jackson at the Smith Roberstson Museum and Cultural Center
The Confederate flag was officially dissociated with Ole Miss but continued to be waved at games.
There was a patient who came to the Tutwiler Clinic with bad arthritic pain, which had soured her disposition. On her second visit, scheduled to see if the arthritis medicine helped, she came in smiling, and said to Dr. Brooks, “Even if you are white, I’m gonna hug your neck.”
1985 Legal action by the NAACP resulted in the division of the Town of Tutwiler into racially bal- anced voting wards that were approved by the Justice Department. Elections were super vised by federal poll watchers for several years after that.
Jul: Dr Brooks was delegate and presenter at the Holy Names Justice Colloquium (Portland, OR)
1986 Indianola black residents boycotted schools and businesses in a predominantly (93%) black school district when a white superintendent,W.A. Grissom was appointed . Schools closed for 3 weeks. White businessmen offered to buy his 3 year contract (His annual salary was $45,000) but he declined the offer. A march held through the town was peaceful. The only whites in the march were a priest and 2 nuns. Several businesses closed permanently after a month of the boycott.
The Tutwiler Clinic Outreach Department received a grant for workshops in child sexual abuse prevention. They were refused the use of the meeting room at the Tutwiler Library, in spite of appeals to the county.
In the Mississippi House of Representatives, 18 blacks members staged a 3 day protest over the failure to pass the bill making Dr. King’s birthday a holiday. (Note that 15 January is Robert E Lee’s birthday.)
Mike Espy was elected the first black member of the US Congress since Reconstruction. He served 7 years representing the Second Congressional District, which comprised all or part of 24 rural counties, including Tallahatchie.
1987 There was the town clean-up organized by Sister Maureen and the Tutwiler Improvement Association complete with the high school band, trophies for the people who threw out the most trash, certificates for the trashmen (who couldn’t read them) ; a flatbed was covered with funeral grass; speeches were made by the mayor, the fire chief, the police chief, the doctor. The townspeople came together, seemed to enjoy themselves, and mixed without incident.
There were the efforts by the Tutwiler Improvement Association to upgrade the debilitated phone system. The only building offered for public meeting was one of the black churches in town, where some white people did join blacks to work together on the problem.
Apr: US District Court Judge William Barbour ruled that eight of the state’s judicial districts violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Apr: Jimmie Holman became Marks’ first black mayor under the newly adopted ward system.
Aug: The white sheriff lost the election to Andrew Thompson, the first black in Coahoma county to attain that office.
Aug: The first black woman to be elected to the state Senate: Alice Harden.
The Tutwiler Clinic hosted the US House of Representatives Select Committee on Hunger and Infant Mortality, headed by Congressman Mickey Leland, and including Congressman Mike Espy. Dr. Brooks testified at the congressional hearing, and escorted the members to visit Pearlie Taylor, a clinic patient living in the plantation field hands’ quarters, who opened her “house” to the delegation. While they were there, the owner (also a clinic patient) drove by several times in his pickup with his rifle on the gun rack in back.
1988 Aug: Mayor of Glendora Johnny B Thomas was found guilty on 3 alcohol related charges: possession for resale of 72 bottles of whiskey, selling whiskey to a minor, selling beer to a minor. He was sentenced to 6 months in jail with three suspended and fined $1700 plus court costs. He was acquited of four other charges: possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, possession of paraphenalia, sale of whiskey after hours and sale of beer to a minor. The Mississippi Judicial Performance Commission charged that he could not serve as mayor and simultaneously as municipal judge. He was also charged with accepting bribes and kickbacks in exchange for allowing slot machines to operate in his town, which resulted in an additional indictment on one count of conspiracy to obstruct the criminal laws of MS .
Aug: Fire destroyed the first black fraternity house on Ole Miss compus. Ruled arson.
There was the effort by the Tutwiler Improvement Association (with Sister Maureen behind the scenes) to get the down-river areas dredged to prevent frequent flooding of the bayou in town. Finally one day the Secretary of the Army and her entourage drove into town for a meeting. The Methodist church had graciously offered their Sunday school classroom as a meeting place and served lunch to local and visiting dignitaries. It was said later that one of the few families in that church refused to continue their membership because blacks had been in their building to a meeting.
1989 There was the time at white Easter sunrise service in Tutwiler where the Presbyterian minister (who happened to be a patient) suggested that the traditional collection be donated to the Clinic for all the good works done there instead of just put into a fund. There was no collection that year.
The White Citizens’ Council closed. This organization was founded in the wake of Brown vs Board of Education and led the battle to preserve segregation and the Southern “way of Life.” Ross Barnett was their candidate for Governor in the 1960s.
June : For the first time in Tutwiler history, the town board of aldermen had a 4 - 1 black majority (and 4 of the 5 were women).
June: Mayor Johnny B Thomas of Glendora was sentenced to 8 months in federal prison and 5 years probation when he pleaded guilty to gambling charges (operating slot machines out of his cafe and getting bribes from the owners. He refused to step down as mayor even after he was sentenced.
Dr Brooks testified before the Lower Mississippi Delta Commission, a congressional committee charged with finding ways to correct the fact that the country’s poorest people lived on the richest land.
Jul: US District Court Judge William Barbour ruled that the records of the SovereigntyCommission sealed by the state legislature in 1977 should be opened; however, appeals by privacy advocate Rev. Ed King of Jackson kept the files sealed until 1998.
Aug: Dr Brooks was a guest presenter at the United Auto Workers Civil Rights Seminar in Black Lake, MI.
1990 $476,000 in funds designated for Tallahatchie County were frozen because the supervisors did not comply with the unit system law passed in 1988.
Town of Tutwiler voting ward lines were redrawn after the census was completed.
There was the time after the airing of “60 Minutes” when the Baptist Church in Tutwiler showed the videotape and had a discussion that went on into the night. Finally, after three weeks of silence, our neighbor, one of the deacons, came and told us he agreed with what we were doing and would side with us.
22 of the 122 state representatives and 2 of the state’s 52 senators were black.
1991 The KKK paper “The World Wide Voice of the Aryan People” was left on Dr. Brooks’ car. There was a note pasted on it: “WERE (sic)AWARE OF YOUR POLICY “ TO ONLY HELP BLACKS” NEVER WHITES UNLESS THEY WHORE WITH BLACK MEN. MAY GOD HAVE MERCY ON YOUR SOULS. FOR THE THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS AND DONATIONS YOU HAVE BEGGED OFF THE WHITE RACE.”
Apr: The US Dept of Justice rejected Tallahatchie Co redistricting plan for the Board of Supervisors because it was “legally unenforceable” due to components which inhibited black voters from electing candidates of their choice.
May 17: Tougaloo College, traditionally a black college, and a center for state civil rights activities, presented the Meritorious Leadership Award to Dr Brooks.
Jul 29: A cross was burned and graffiti saying “KKK stay away” was on the window of a black family that planned to move into a white neighborhood in Grenada.
Aug 4: An employer who hired black workers had a cross burned outside his home in northeastern Lowndes county near Columbus.
Dec: The United Parcel Service provided a $100,000 grant to 5 families in Dirty Corner for rebuilding their homes. Jack Kemp, Secretary of Housing and Mike Espy, District 2 Congressman came for the ceremony.
1992 May 3: Two white men burned a cross on the yard of a black couple in the white Eupora community in DeSoto county. Each received 6 months to 2 years in prison.
Jun: The US Supreme Court in settlement of the Ayers case ruled that the state wipe out remnants of segregation at its eight universities.
Oct: The College Board voted 8-4 for a desegregation plan to close traditionally black MS Valley State and merge traditionally black Alcorn State with other institutions. A flurry of legal activity followed to preserve their black identity, but allow more white students to attend.
Dec: President Clinton named Mississippi Second District Congressman Mike Espy to be Secretary of Agriculture.
1993 Jan 22: Six Kappa Sigma fraternity members from Ole Miss were in Charlottesville, VA, where
they had gone to visit the national headquarters of their fraternity. Later they went to Crazy Charlie’s Bar and Grill. They were becoming rowdy and refuse to pay for their drinks. They were asked leave the premises. The ensuing confrontation resulted not only in loud racial slurs, but Howard Weinberger, the manager who was a black U VA student, was punched and kicked. The fraternity was suspended by Ole Miss.
Mar: The Commission on Human Rights Abuses in Mississippi met to examine black inmate deaths. The charges: “Since January 1990, more than 24 young African-American males have been arrested by various white law-enforcement officials on minor charges, and within hours of being in custody, these men have died...Local law enforcement call their deaths ‘suicide by hanging’ but evidence indicates the hangings are in fact murders.”
Mar: A West Clay High School teacher, Susan McBride, who taught biology and history, acknowledged she had referred to a messy desk in one of her classes as “nigger trash.” The next day racial graffiti was sprayed on the school walls. The teacher was suspended and school was dismissed for the rest of the week.
Apr: Opening of the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis at the former Lorraine Motel.
Apr 4: Three white teens, Charles McGeehee, Roy McGovern and Jerome Bellelo burned two black churches in Pike and Amite counties. They pleaded guilty in US District court and were sentenced to 3 years in prison without parole.
May: The Justice Department began inspecting Mississippi county jails following complaints about jail suicides.
Jun: State and local NAACP chapters, the Legislative Black Caucus and 49 individuals filed suit against Governor Fordice over the state flag, which contains the Confederate battle emblem. The case was again dismissed.