This Day in History

Oct. 30, 1959: Luther Jackson Murdered

Time Periods: Cold War: 1945 - 1960
Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Democracy & Citizenship, Racism & Racial Identity

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On Oct. 30, 1959, 27-year-old Korean War veteran Luther Jackson was murdered by Philadelphia, Mississippi policeman Lawrence Rainey. Rainey pulled Jackson from his parked car, where he was talking with a woman. Within minutes, Rainey shot and killed Jackson.

Rainey was not prosecuted and went on to become Neshoba County Sheriff, where he was accused of playing a role in the cover up of the 1964 murders of civil rights workers James Chaney, Andy Goodman, and Mickey Schwerner.

Jackson’s was one of many racially motivated murders investigated by Medgar Evers as field secretary for the Mississippi NAACP.

As quoted in the book Local People: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi, Myrlie Evers-Williams explained that:

Medgar Evers investigated, filed complaints, literally dragged reporters to the scenes of the crimes, fought back with press releases, seeking always to spread the word beyond the state, involve the federal gov’t., bring help from the outside.

Also see the reference in the news clipping to Aaron Henry and learn about him from the SNCC Digital Gateway Project.