Jimmie Lee Jackson

  • Shot twice at close range behind the Zion Methodist Church in Marion, Alabama. Jimmy Lee Jackson was 26 years old.

The killing of Jimmie Lee Jackson (December 16, 1938 – February 26, 1965)  happened behind the Zion Methodist Church in Marion, Alabama on February 18, 1965.

He didn’t die from the Alabama State Trooper’s gun shot wound to the stomach right away, but 8 days later, on February 26th,  28 miles away in Selma, Alabama. According to Sister Michael Anne, an administrator at Good Samaritan Hospital in Selma, Alabama, the powder burns on his clothes was evidence Jimmie Lee was shot twice at close range.


At only 26 years old, Jimmie Lee was a Deacon of his church (St. James Baptist Church, in Marion, Alabama) and involved in the civil rights movement. On the night of February 18, 1965, Alabama State Troopers responded to the protesters with force. The protest was for the support of a fellow SCLC (Southern Christian Leadership Conference) member, James Orange.

 

 

 

Orange (October 29, 1942 – February 16, 2008) was arrested and charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor by having young people help in his voter registration drives. The protests by Jackson and others were brought on by the fear that Orange would be taken from the Perry County jail and lynched. The attack by law enforcement was aided by the city having the street lights turned off. To facilitate the police action under the cover of darkness. Jackson and others were chased to a local cafe. Where Jimmie Lee’s mother and his 82 year old grandfather were beaten by troopers.

Among the beaten were reporters. Two from UPI (United Press International) and an NBC News correspondent, Richard Valeriani, who was hospitalized from his wounds.

jimmie-lee-jackson-flyerJimmie Lee was shot and beaten behind the Zion Methodist Church then taken to Perry County hospital. Jackson was transferred to Good Samaritan Hospital in Selma where he died of his wounds eight days later on February 26. Many civil rights leaders visited Jimmie Lee in the hospital. Jackson’s funeral was held on March 3rd. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke at the funeral condemning the actions of the State Troopers.

Voting rights and registering blacks to vote was fought by white elected officials and aided by law enforcement. Jackson’s death inspired civil rights leaders to hold the “Selma to Montgomery March”. The march, more than 50 miles east on highway 80, to the Alabama state capitol was designed to bring attention to voting rights issues. When the marchers arrived at the Edmund Pettus Bridge, on the edge of Selma’s city limits, to cross the Alabama river, they were met with violence. The Alabama State Troopers were going to use any means to stop the march. That day March 7, 1965, is known as “Bloody Sunday”.

The killer of Jimmie Lee Jackson was believed to be an Alabama State Trooper named Fowler. A grand jury was en-paneled in September of 1965, to charge the trooper, but no indictment was made.

 

 

On March 10, 2007, 73 year old James Bonard Fowler surrendered to authorities. Fowler stated he shot Jimmie Lee Jackson in self defense and was only following orders. In November 2010, Fowler pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter and was sentenced to six months in jail, making Fowler the first law enforcement officer to serve time for a civil rights slaying. Fowler was released from custody in July 2011.

 

The family of Jimmie Lee Jackson sits before his flower - draped coffin during funeral service in Selma, Ala. March 3, 1965. Seated far right are his grandfather, Cager Lee, 82 and his mother, Mrs. Viola Jackson. The 26 year old black laborer was wounded fatally during racial violence at nearby Marion, Ala, where another service and burial are scheduled. (AP Photo)

The family of Jimmie Lee Jackson sits before his flower – draped coffin during funeral service in Selma, Ala. March 3, 1965. Seated far right are his grandfather, Cager Lee, 82 and his mother, Mrs. Viola Jackson. The 26 year old black laborer was wounded fatally during racial violence at nearby Marion, Ala, where another service and burial are scheduled. (AP Photo)

 

 

Freedom Day; Selma, October 7, 1964

Freedom Day; Selma, October 7, 1964

 

 

 

 

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Sources:
http://www.encyclopediaofalabama.org/
http://www.biography.com/people/jimmie-lee-jackson-21402111#synopsis
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimmie_Lee_Jackson
http://www.peoplesworld.org/today-in-black-history-civil-rights-activist-jimmie-lee-jackson-dies-becomes-catalyst-for-selma-march/

2 Comments:

  1. Pingback: BH-101 Killing Jimmie Lee Jackson

  2. Pingback: BH - Selma, Notes From the Field - Chapter 1

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