Eleven days after the massacre at Kent State University, on May 14, 1970, a group of around one-hundred African-American students gathered on Lynch Street — which bisected the Jackson State College campus — in protest of the Camboadian invasion during the Vietnam War. By 9:30 p.m. students had started fires, thrown rocks at motorists, and had turned over several vehicles. Firefighters were called to the scene, quickly requesting backup from police. At least seventy-five units from the Jackson Police Department and the Mississippi Highway Patrol arrived at the scene and tried to control the crowd while firefighters put the fires out. When the fire department left, shortly before midnight, police moved to disperse crowd away from Alexander Hall.
Advancing within fifty to one-hundred feet, the officers opened fire on the protesters. The exact cause of the shooting in unclear, as the police claim they saw a sniper in one of the dormitories upper floors and that they were being sniped from multiple directions, but the investigation into the incident revealed no evidence of sniper being at the scene. Furthermore, the students did not provoke the officers.
The Jackson State Killings
(Philip Lafayette Gibbs and James Earl Green, 12 others wounded)
May 15, 1970