Police Killed 2 and Injured 11 at Jackson State
On May 15, 1970, police opened fire for 30 seconds killing two men on Jackson State’s campus and injuring eleven.
This happened only 11 days after police killed four students at Kent State University, but this event didn’t get nearly the same attention. I wonder why?
Killed in the shooting were Phillip Layayette Gibbs, a junior at Jackson State and father of an 18-month old, and James Earl Green, a high school senior.
Reportedly, a group of 100 Jackson State students gathered on Lynch street on the night of May 14, 1970. They gathered because there had been a rumor spread that the brother of Medgar Evers, Charles Evers, and his wife had been killed.
There were reports that the Jackson State students were throwing rocks at white people driving down the street. Someone called the police when a non-Jackson State student reportedly set a truck on fire.
When police arrived at the scene, students and non-students reported threw rocks and bricks at the police. They responded with extreme force. More than 75 units responded and firemen tried to put out the fires.
According to a 1970 report from the President’s commission on Campus Unrest, police fired more than 150 rounds at the students. They shot for over 30 seconds. An FBI investigation revealed that 400 bullets had been fired. The police claim that there was a sniper shooting at them, but investigators found “insufficient evidence” of that claim.
No arrests were ever made in connection with the Jackson State deaths even though the commission deemed the shootings “unreasonable and unjustified.”
To this day, you can still see the bullet holes that were left by police in a women’s dorm on Jackson State’s campus.
What do these killing teach us?
Black intellect and HBCUs, can not, and will not, ever be stopped.