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Tag: Mississippi

Activists: Reopen Case of Emmett Till After Witness Lied About What Happened

Emmett Till

Emmett Till

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Civil rights activists and others are calling for the federal government to reopen its investigation of the killing of Emmett Till, a black teenager who was killed in Mississippi in 1955 for allegedly flirting with a white woman.

The renewed interest in the case comes after Carolyn Bryant, who accused Till of grabbing her and asking her for a date, said she was not physically assaulted by the 14-year-old. The revelation came in a book, “The Blood of Emmett Till.”

“Nothing that boy did could ever justify what happened to him,” the author Timothy Tyson quoted her as saying.

On Monday, activists rallied outside the Mississippi Capitol, calling for justice for the teen, whose killers were found not guilty by an all-white jury. They later admitted they killed Till.

Activists believe Donham should be charged.

“We just don’t want a conviction,” community activist Duvalier Malone said. “We want an apology.”

What remains unclear is what Donham could be charged with.

FBI Investigates Fire at Black Church Where ‘Vote Trump’ Tagged on Side

2000px-washington_county_mississippi_incorporated_and_unincorporated_areas_greenville_highlighted-svgBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is investigating a fire that tore through a black church in Mississippi that was scrawled with the message, “Vote Trump,” in silver spray paint.

The bureau’s civil rights investigation is in coordination with the Mississippi Bureau of Investigations.

The suspicious fire Tuesday night caused heavy damage to the 200-member Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church in Greenville, Mississippi, the New York Times reports. 

Mayor Errick Simmons described the fire and graffiti as a “heinous, hateful, cowardly act.”

“We consider it a hate crime … because of the political message which we believe was intended to interfere with worship and intimidate voters,” Simmons said. “This act is a direct assault on people’s right to freely worship.”

The FBI said it’s working with all levels of law enforcement.

“The FBI Jackson Division is aware of the situation in Greenville, and we are working with our local, state and federal law enforcement partners to determine if any civil rights crimes were committed,” state FBI spokesman Brett Carr said in an email.

FBI’s Fabled Behavioral Analysis Unit to Investigate Hanging Death of Black Man

Otis Byrd

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI will use its Behavioral Analysis Unit to investigate the hanging death of Mississippi man Otis Byrd, the USA Today reports.

The unit  “focuses specifically on criminal human behavior in an attempt to better understand criminals — who they are, how they think, why they do what they do — as a means to help solve crimes,” according to FBI.gov.

The hope is that the unit will help determine whether Byrd, 54, committed suicide or was murdered.

He was found hanging from a tree by a bed sheet near his last known residence last week.

FBI to Investigate Hanging Death of Black Man in Mississippi

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is helping investigate the hanging death of a 54-year-old black man in Mississippi.

Local police in the small central Mississippi town of Port Gibson requested the bureau’s help to determine whether Otis Byrd was murdered or committed suicide.

Byrd was last seen on March 2 and was found Thursday hanging from a tree in the woods.

“We want to make sure it was not a racial hate crime,” Derrick Johnson, head of the state chapter of the NAACP, told the Los Angeles Times. “We cannot stand by in 2015 and watch a lynching, if in fact that’s what happened.”

The focus Thursday was on combing the scene for evidence.

“We seen a man who had a bedsheet tied around his neck,” Claiborne County Sheriff Marvin Lucas told CNN.

 

 

Former Mississippi U.S. Attorney George Phillips Dies at 65 After Battle With Cancer

George Phillips

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

George Phillips, who served as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi from 1980 to 1994 and oversaw corruption cases, including the FBI’s Operation Pretense, which led to the prosecutions of 57 Mississippi supervisors on corruption charges, has died the Clarion-Ledger reports.. He was 65.

The Clarion-Ledger reports that he died of cancer.

Assistant U.S. Attorney John Dowdy of Jackson told the paper that Phillips was “like a second Dad to me. He was a Christian, and his character reflected that. He was honest, truthful and passionate about life, both personally and professionally. George is the reason I have a career as an Assistant U.S. Attorney.”

To read more click here.

FBI Investigating Threat Against Ole Miss Trees, Shrubs Ahead of Rivalry

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

As far as threats go, this isn’t the FBI’s most dire.

The bureau launched an investigation into an anonymous letter that threatened someone would damage trees and shrubs in the Center of Ole Miss’ campus, the USA Today reports.

“What’s going to happen to y’all on the field Saturday Aint nothing compared to what’s going to happen on your beautiful campus,” the letter read. “You won’t be one of the most pretty campus’s Next year. A lot of shrubs and trees are going to die; especially in the grove. Can’t stop us.” (SIGNED) “Hail State go to hell TSUN”

Ole Miss handed over the note to the FBI’s Jackson office.

University police chief Calvin Sellers said the threat is no laughing matter.

“This longtime football rivalry has separated families and friends for generations, but while it’s spirited, our attention has been focused mostly on the football field,” Sellers said. “We encourage everyone to remember that this is a game, after all, not a time for hate. We are hopeful that passions have not escalated to the point that someone is prepared to do damage to a landmark for which all Mississippians take great pride.”

 

Weekend Series on Crime History: LBJ Talks to J. Edgar Hoover About Mississippi Civil Rights Workers’ Murders in 1964

Stejskal: Mississippi Burning 50 Years Later

Greg Stejskal served as an FBI agent for 31 years and retired as resident agent in charge of the Ann Arbor office.
By Greg Stejskal
ticklethewire.com
 
The 60s were a tumultuous decade, and 1964 was emblematic of that decade. Arthur Ashe won the US Open, and Martin Luther King, Jr. was awarded the Nobel Prize for peace. The Beatles came to America and established a beachhead for the “British invasion.” Lyndon Johnson, a Southern Democrat, having become President when John Kennedy was assassinated in November of 1963, showed great political courage and legislative acumen by getting landmark civil rights laws passed in Congress.

On June 19th the US Senate passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Two days later the need for that legislation became clear when three civil rights workers disappeared under suspicious circumstances in Mississippi. Two of the workers were white and from the north, Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman. The third, James Chaney, was black and from Mississippi.

In the heady days of the spring of ’64 with the civil rights bills moving through Congress, the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) announced an initiative, the Mississippi Summer Project. It was to participate in this project that Schwerner and Goodman had traveled to Mississippi. There, they joined-up with Chaney and other local civil rights workers.

There were those in Mississippi who were dead set (literally) against the civil rights initiatives or any of the changes to the status quo that were portended by the civil rights legislation. Foremost in this opposition were the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan of Mississippi.

The following is a rendition of events based on the testimony at the 1967 federal trial, US v. Price; et al:

In May of 1964, Sam Bowers, Imperial Wizard of the Mississippi KKK sent word to his fellow klansmen, it was time to activate “Plan 4” – the “elimination” of Michael Schwerner. Schwerner had drawn the enmity of the Klan because he had organized a black boycott of a white-owned business and had aggressively been trying to register blacks to vote. The Klan referred to Schwerner as “Jew-boy” and “Goatee.”

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