One warm Mississippi night in 1970, lines of blue-helmeted lawmen marched up a darkened street at Jackson State College. They stopped in front of a women’s dormitory to face a jeering crowd of Black students. Someone threw a bottle and it popped like a gunshot. A roar of submachine guns, shotguns and rifles followed – a twenty-eight-second barrage that lit up the sky, downed power lines in a shower of sparks, and blew out the dormitory’s windows. When it was over, two young people were found dead and and a dozen others injured.
For the second time in ten days law enforcement officers had fired upon students on a college campus. First had been the killing of four white students by National Guardsmen at Kent State. It’s often remembered as a violent coda to the 1960s, but the killings days later on the Black campus in Mississippi were soon forgotten. Drawing on public records, court testimony, news reports and more than a hundred interviews, Tim Spofford presents the slayings in the context of the history of Jackson, Mississippi, and the student protests of the 1960s.
“…[A] passionately researched account of the Jackson State incident, including new and damaging evidence about the behavior of the police.”
“The book is direct, and written in a style that combines detail with suspenseful storytelling."
“Good, solid investigative reporting.”
“Spofford successfully recalls the moment with primary sources. His reporting is rigorous….”
“A model of meticulous reporting and historical scholarship, this book deserves a place in every respectable academic and public library.”
“[T]his is a well-researched work that conveys the terrible drama inherent in the facts and a sense of the individual tragedies resulting from Jackson State.”
“Well written and captivating….”