If you Google Jackson State today you have to work to even catch a glimpse of the violence that happened on their campus between May 14th and 15th 1970, just ten short days after the Kent state massacre. Perform that same Google search on Kent State, of course, and there’s no doubt that something horrific happened. History has swallowed the incident at Jackson state university Mississippi, but it’s no less noteworthy than the massacre at Kent State.
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On May 14-15, 1970, Jackson State students were protesting the Kent State killings as well as agitating for civil rights. A few students set several fires and overturned a dump truck that had been left on campus overnight at a sewer line construction site. Jackson firefighters dispatched to put out the blaze met a hostile crowd. Fearing for their safety, the firemen requested police back-up. Seventy-five city policemen and Mississippi State Police officers armed with carbines, submachine guns, shotguns, service revolvers and some personal weapons, responded to the call. After the firemen extinguished the blaze and left, the police and state troopers marched along the unfortunately named Lynch Street toward Alexander Center, a women's residence, weapons at the ready. No one seems to know why. The officers deployed into a line facing the students. Someone in the crowd either threw or dropped a bottle which shattered on the asphalt with a loud pop. That’s when the police opened fire on the unarmed students. Over 200 hundred rounds were discharged. Miraculously only a dozen or so were wounded and two students were killed. 21-year old Phillip Lafayette Gibbs, a Jackson State College student, and 17-year old James Earl Green, a Jim Hill High School senior, were murdered on May 14, 1970 just 6 short days after the Kent State killings. It would be second time in less than a week that US authorities had murdered unarmed US students.
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May 22nd, 2010
Posted In: Music Shows