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Shocking the ConscienceA Reporter's Account of the Civil Rights Movement$
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Simeon Booker and Carol McCabe Booker

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781617037894

Published to University Press of Mississippi: March 2014

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781617037894.001.0001

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date: 22 May 2019

“Let Them See What I’ve Seen”

“Let Them See What I’ve Seen”

(p.49) 5 “Let Them See What I’ve Seen”
Shocking the Conscience

Simeon Booker

University Press of Mississippi

In August 17, 1955, three months after the Reverend George Washington Lee was assassinated in Belzoni, Mississippi, Lamar Smith, a sixty-year-old farmer and civil rights activist in the state, had been murdered. Like Lee, Smith was an organizer of black voter registration and a close friend of Dr. T. R. M. Howard. Moreover, he also attended the massive voting rights rally in the Mississippi Delta town of Mound Bayou in April 1955. Two weeks after Smith was killed, a fourteen-year-old Chicago boy, Emmett Till, was kidnapped and murdered by two white men, J. W. Milam and Roy Bryant, for allegedly wolf whistling at a white woman who happened to be Bryant’s wife. Till’s case caught national attention after his mother decided to let the public see the photo of her son’s unrecognizable, mutilated corpse. On September 6, a Tallahatchie County grand jury indicted Milam and Bryant for kidnapping and murder. The author narrates his coverage of Till’s story.

Keywords:   civil rights, Lamar Smith, voting rights, rally, Mississippi, Emmett Till, kidnapping, murder, J. W. Milam, Roy Bryant

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