[fla-left] [never forget] 30 Years Ago Today: Jackson State Deaths Recalled (fwd)

Michael Hoover hoov at SPAMfreenet.tlh.fl.us
Tue May 16 11:10:55 MDT 2000


> Published on Sunday, May 14, 2000 by the Associated Press
>
> 30 Years Ago Today:
> Jackson State Deaths Recalled
>
> JACKSON, MS - Time has diminished much of the anger and terror of that
> night 30 years ago. Two young people died in a barrage of police gunfire
> after white motorists clashed with black students at Jackson State
> University
>
> Today, only the bullet-scarred walls of Alexander Hall still attest to the
> violence that forced Mississippi to look at race relations and at the way
> its police respond.
>
> <p>May 14, 1970, marked the tragic climax of a week of demonstrations and
> nightly clashes between students and motorists harassing them along Lynch
> Street, which cut through the then-3,500-student campus.
>
> The student protests had started over the Jackson Police Department's
> refusal to shut down the street.
>
> That night, when students refused to disperse, police gunfire set off by
> the sound of a bottle breaking killed Phillip L. Gibbs, a 21-year-old
> Jackson State student, and James Earl Green, a 17-year-old passer-by. Both
> victims were black.
>
> Ten days earlier, four white students had been killed at Ohio's Kent State
> University when the National Guard opened fire on anti-Vietnam protesters.
>
> "I can still recall the awful screaming and yelling and the gunfire," said
> Jack Hobbs, a television reporter who filmed the shooting at Jackson State.
> "It was deafening. I thought 'Oh my God, they're shooting these kids."
>
> Like their northern, white counterparts, many of the Jackson State students
> were angry about the Vietnam War, but in a Southern city divided by a long
> and bitter civil-rights struggle, the unrest was more about simmering
> racial tension.
>
> Jackson State instructor Gene Young witnessed the shooting as a 19-year-old
> sophomore and traveled to Kent State on May 4 for a service to remember the
> victims of both tragedies.
>
> "It's therapeutic to meet with other people coming to terms with conflict,"
> he said. "Students on other campuses suffered great losses also."
>
> Young said he hopes that Jackson State will do a better job of educating a
> new generation about the shootings. Thousands turned out for ceremonies at
> Kent State, but fewer than 50 attended a candlelit vigil at Jackson State.
>
> Students living in Alexander Hall today said they know little about the
> shooting.
>
> A dozen students were hospitalized, but a federal investigation revealed
> that ambulances were not called until after the officers had picked up
> their shell casings.
>
> Then-university president John Peoples heard news of the shooting from
> National Guardsmen who arrived at his on-campus house with fixed bayonets.
>
> James Earl Green's younger sister, Gloria Green McCray, now 46, went to
> Kent State this year. She said vivid memories of distant gunfire, chaos and
> waiting in vain for her brother still haunt her.
>
> McCray earned a degree at Jackson State last year.
>
> "I always felt I lost something at Jackson State which could never be
> returned,"she said. "But I gained something which can never be taken away."





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