Jackson State Killings, May 14-15, 1970.
JACKSON, Miss. (LNS) — Jackson police chief Pierce addressed the students. “Ladies and gentlemen, we have something to tell you.” He went no further. The police turned and began firing into the crowd of 200 students who had gathered on the campus of Jackson State College, Mississippi’s largest black university. A tape made by local TV recorded more than 30 seconds of uninterrupted gunfire as hundreds of rounds of ammunition were fired through the crowd into an adjacent women’s dormitory, suddenly spotlighted by huge police searchlights.
When the cease-fire order was given, two lay dead and dozens of wounded people lay scattered in front of the dorm and in the lounge inside.
Two dead. Phillip Gibbs, a Jackson State student who was walking with his sister to the dorm, was shot as he was leaving the building with his hands over his head. He died on the way to the hospital. James Green, a senior at nearby Hills High School, returning home from his nighttime job, was killed instantly as he stood across the streets from the dorm.
Rat Subterranean News (1970)
Seale was arrested in California in connection with the alleged New Haven, Connecticut torture-slaying of Alex Rackley, a Panther recruit from New York. Eleven other Panthers (mostly members of the New Haven BPP chapter) were indicted as well. The main witness against Seale and the others turned out to be one of the defendants, George Sams, a police infiltrator and former psychiatric patient who had worked his way into a position in the Panther security apparatus before being expelled from the party by Seale. As it turned out, Sams had accused Rackley of being an informer and had himself carried the bad-jacketing effort through a week-long interrogation during which the young recruit was chained to a bed and scalded with boiling water. Sams had then killed him, dumping the body in a swampy area where it was soon discovered by fishermen.
In the aftermath, one New Haven Panther, Warren Kimbro, pled guilty to second degree murder, not for having killed Rackley, but for not having prevented his death; he was sentenced to life in prison. A second, Lonnie McLucas, was tried alone, convicted of conspiracy to murder and sentenced to 15 years. Sams, the actual killer, was also eventually given a life sentence, despite his various police connections.
Although it was plain that the culprits in this ugly matter had been dealt with—even the New Haven Police Chief James F. Ahern stated publicly that there was no evidence that Bobby Seale had been involved in Rackley’s death—the state proceeded to bring Seale, along with Ericka Huggins (widow of assassinated LA Panther leader Jon), another “notable,” to trial. Apparently, the hope was that the earlier confession and convictions would have tempered public sentiment against the BPP to such an extent that these defendants would be found guilty on the basis of party membership alone. In this the government was disappointed when the “jury in the trial was ready to acquit Seale but…two jurors refused to vote for acquittal unless [Ericka Huggins] was convicted. [Judge Harold M. Mulveny then] ordered both cases dismissed [on May 24, 1971] when the jury reported it was hopelessly deadlocked.” State apologists promptly claimed “justice” had been served, but by then Seale had served more than two years in maximum security lockup without bail, much of it in solitary confinement, without ever having been convicted of anything at all, and was never really able to resume his former galvanizing role in the party. —The COINTELPRO Papers by Ward Churchill and Jim Vander Wall
Motherfuckers center spread in Rat Subterranean News (1969).
Long ago The Ancient Ones told that these things would be. The white man would kill the spirit of the peoples and take it to a far place, but after a while it would come back again, it would be born again. In time a new spirit would come into the world and we should look for it. Like the rain drops gathering in the clouds of the springtime so would the spirit come to a thirsty land and a dying people. It would bring back life and hope and make them great again. We have seen the beginning of this spirit in this people. Let it grow ¡Let it grow! This light you must find. When you seek for your vision on the mountain top you will be told how to find it. For it will be something so big and wonderful that in it all peoples of the world can find shelter and in that day all the little circles will come under the big circle of understanding and unity. The rainbow is a sign from that which is in all things. It is a sign of the vision of all the peoples like one big family. Seek the Vision - become a Warrior of the rainbow. Let it Grow! ¡Let it grow!
Wall Street is War Street - Today at 5 pm in room W 605 at Pace University for Left Forum 2012.
Sean Stewart, editor of On the Ground: An Illustrated Anecdotal History of the Sixties Underground Press in the U.S., will introduce and moderate a discussion between Ben Morea and Josh MacPhee about the role that art and artists play in social change.
Ben Morea was the main instigator of the Black Mask group, Up Against The Wall/Motherfucker (UAW/MF), and the Armed Love communal movement. By the end of the Sixties, facing increased police attention, Morea “disappeared” into the rural communal movement. Galvanized by the current imperial wars he has reemerged to talk of the legacy and history of Black Mask and UAW/MF and their relevance to the struggles today.
Since 1998 Josh MacPhee has commissioned and produced over one hundred posters that pay tribute to revolution, racial justice, women’s rights, queer liberation, labor struggles, and creative activism and organizing. His most recent books are Celebrate People’s History, Signs of Change, and Paper Politics. He is a founding member of the artists’ cooperative Justseeds.org, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.