I thought it might be worth starting a thread on Civil Rights workers who were murdered during the struggle during the 1950s and 1960s.
Some, but not all of the names below were Civil Rights workers. The Memorial was designed by Maya Lin, who also designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.From the Civil Rights Memorial
Southern Poverty Law Centerhttp://www.splcenter.org/
On the Civil Rights Memorial are inscribed the names of individuals who lost their lives in the struggle for freedom during the modern civil rights movement 1954 to 1968. Between the first and last entries is a space that represents civil rights heroes who died before or after this period and others whose stories were not known when the Memorial was created. The martyrs include those who were targeted for death because of their civil rights activities; those who were random victims of vigilantes determined to halt the movement; and those who, in the sacrifice of their own lives, brought a new awareness of the struggle to people all over the world.
May 7, 1955 Belzoni, MississippiREV. GEORGE WESLEY LEE
, an NAACP leader and one of the first black people registered to vote in Humphreys County, used his pulpit and his printing press to urge others to vote. White officials offered Lee protection on the condition he remove his name from the list of registered voters and end his voter registration efforts, but Lee refused and was murdered.
August 13, 1955 Brookhaven, MississippiLAMAR SMITH
was shot dead on the courthouse lawn by a white man in broad daylight while dozens of people watched. The killer was never indicted because no one would admit they saw a white man shoot a black man. Smith had organized blacks to vote in a recent election.
August 28, 1955 Money, MississippiEMMETT LOUIS TILL
, a 14-year-old boy on vacation from Chicago, reportedly flirted with a white woman in a store. That night, two men took Till from his bed, beat him, shot him, and dumped his body in the Tallahatchie River. An all-white jury found the men innocent of murder.
October 22, 1955 Mayflower, TexasJOHN EARL REESE
, 16, was dancing in a cafe when white men fired shots into the windows. Reese was killed and two others were wounded. The shootings were part of an attempt by whites to terrorize blacks into giving up plans for a new school.
January 23, 1957 Montgomery, AlabamaWILLIE EDWARDS JR.
, a truck driver, was on his way to work when he was stopped by four Klansmen. The men thought Edwards was another man who they believed was dating a white woman. They forced Edwards at gunpoint to jump off a bridge into the Alabama River. Edwards' body was found three months later.
April 25, 1959 Poplarville, MississippiMACK CHARLES PARKER
, 23, was accused of raping a white woman. Three days before hls case was set for trial, a masked mob took him from his jail cell/ beat him, shot him, and threw him in the Pearl River.
September 25, 1961 Liberty, MississippiHERBERT LEE
, who worked with civil rights leader Bob Moses to help register black voters, was killed bya state legislator who claimed self-defense and was never arrested. Louis Allen, a black man who witnessed the murder, was later also killed.
April 23, 1963 Attalla, AlabamaWILLIAM LEWIS MOORE
, a postman from Baltimore and CORE activist, was shot and killed during a one-man march against segregation. Moore had planned to deliver a letter to the governor of Mississippi urging an end to intolerance.
June 12, 1963 Jackson, MississippiMEDGAR EVERS
, who directed naacp operations in Mississippi, was leading a campaign for integration in Jackson when he was shot and killed by a sniper at his home.
September 15th, 1963 Birmingham AlabamaADDlE MAE COLLINS, DENISE McNAIR, CAROLE ROBERTSON
and CYNTHIA WESLEY
were getting ready for church services when a bomb exploded at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, killing all four of the school- age girls. The church had been a center for civil rights meetings and marches.
September 15, 1963 Birmingham, AlabamaVIRGIL LAMAR WARE
, 13, was riding on the handlebars of his brother's bicycle when he was fatally shot by white teen-agers. The white youths had come from a segregationist rally held in the aftermath of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing.
January 31, 1964 Liberty, MississippiLOUIS ALLEN
, who witnessed the murder of civil rights worker Herbert Lee, endured years of threats, jailings and harassment. He was making final arrange- ments to move North on the day he was killed.
March 23, 1964 Jacksonville, FloridaJOHNNIE MAE CHAPPELL
, who cleaned houses to help support her family, was shot by four white men as she searched for a lost wallet along a roadside. The murder occurred during an outbreak of racial violence in downtown Jacksonville. Her story was not known when the Memorial was dedicated.
Apri17, 1964 Cleveland, OhioREV. BRUCE KLUNDER
was among civil rights activists who protested the building of a segregated school by placing their bodies in the way of construction equipment. Klunder was crushed to death when a bulldozer backed over him.
May 2, 1964 Meadville, MississippiHENRY HEZEKIAH DEE
and CHARLES EDDIE MOORE
were killed by Klansmen who believed the two were part of a plot to arm blacks in the area. (There was no such plot.) Their bodies were found during a massive search for the missing civil rights workers Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner.
June 21, 1964 Philadelphia, MississippiJAMES EARL CHANEY, ANDREW GOODMAN
, and MICHAEL HENRY SCHWERNER
, young civil rights workers, were arrested bya deputy sheriff and then released into the hands of Klansmen who had plotted their murders. They were shot, and their bodies were buried in an earthen dam.
July 11, 1964 Colbert, GeorgiaLt. Col. LEMUEL PENN
, a Washington, D.C., educator, was driving home from U.S. Army Reserves training when he was shot and killed by Klansmen in a passing car.
February 26, 1965 Marion, AlabamaJIMMIE LEE JACKSON
was beaten and shot by state troopers as he tried to protect his grandfather and mother from a trooper attack on civil rights marchers. His death led to the Selma-Montgomery march and the eventual passage of the Voting Rights Act.
March 11, 1965 Selma, AlabamaREV. JAMES REEB
, a Unitarian minister from Boston, was among many white clergymen who joined the Selma marchers after the attack by state troopers at the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Reeb was beaten to death by white men while he walked down a Selma street.
March 25, 1965 Selma Highway, AlabamaVIOLA GREGG LlUZZO
, a housewife and mother from Detroit, drove alone to Alabama to help with the Selma march after seeing televised reports of the attack at the Edmund Pettus Bridge. She was driving marchers back to Selma from Montgomery when she was shot and killed bya Klansmen in a passing car.
June 2, 1965 Bogalusa, LouisianaONEAL MOORE
was one of two black deputies hired by white officials in an attempt to appease civil rights demands. Moore and his partner Creed Rogers were on patrol when they were blasted with gunfire from a passing car. Moore was killed and Rogers was wounded.
July 18, 1965 Anniston, AlabamaWILLIE BREWSTER
was on his way home from work when he was shot and killed by white men. The men belonged to the National States Rights Party, a violent neo-Nazi group whose members had been involved in church bombings and murders of blacks.
August 20,1965 Hayneville, AlabamaJONATHAN MYRICK DANIELS
, an Episcopal Seminary student in Boston, had come to Alabama to help with black voter registration in Lowndes County. He was arrested at a demonstration, jailed in Hayneville and then suddenly released. Moments after his release, he was shot to death bya deputy sheriff.
January 3,1966 Tuskegee, AlabamaSAMUEL LEAMON YOUNGE JR.
, a student civil rights activist, was fatally shot by a white gas station owner following an argument over segregated rest rooms.
January 10, 1966 Hattiesburg, MississippiVERNON FERDINAND DAHMER
, a wealthy businessman, offered to pay poll taxes for those who couldn't afford the fee required to vote. The night after a radio station broadcasted Dahmer's offer, his home was firebombed. Dahmer died later from severe burns.
July 10, 1966 Natchez, MississippiBEN CHESTER WHITE
, who had worked most of his life as a caretaker on a plantation, had no involvement in civil rights work. He was murdered by Klans- men who thought they could divert attention from a civil rights march by killing a black person.
July 30, 1966 Bogalusa, LouisianaCLARENCE TRIGGS
was a bricklayer who had attended civil rights meetings sponsored by the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). He was found dead on a roadside, shot through the head.
February 27, 1967 Natchez, MississippiWHARLEST JACKSON
, the treasurer of his local NAACP chapter, was one of many blacks who received threatening Klan notices at his job. After Jackson was promoted to a position previously reserved for whites, a bomb was planted in his car. It exploded minutes after he left work one day, killing him instantly.
May 12, 1967 Jackson, MississippiBENJAMIN BROWN
, a former civil rights organizer, was watching a student protest from the sidelines when he was hit by stray gunshots from police who fired into the crowd.
February 8, 1968 Orangeburg, South CarolinaSAMUEL EPHESIANS HAMMOND JR., DELANO HERMAN MIDDLETON
and HENRY EZEKIAL SMITH
were shot and killed by police who fired on student demonstrators at the South Carolina State College campus.
April 4, 1968 Memphis, TennesseeDR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.
, a Baptist minister, was a major architect of the civil rights movement. He led and inspired major non- violent desegregation campaigns, including those in Montgomery and Birmingham. He won the Nobel Peace Prize. He was assassinated as he prepared to lead a demonstration in Memphis.