|Death: ||Sep. 25, 1961|
Herbert Lee, a Black farmer with 9 children, is a founding member of the NAACP in Amite County Mississippi and one of the few rural Blacks who dares to work on voter registration with Bob Moses and the McComb Project. State Assemblyman E.H. Hurst (white, of course) lives across the street from Lee. They are friends and neighbors. But trying to register Black voters is a challenge to white supremecy that Hurst cannot accept and he orders Lee to stop.
On the morning of September 25, 1961, Lee takes a truckload of cotton to a cotten gin in Liberty Mississippi, the Amite County seat. Hurst follows him. According to witnesses, Lee is sitting in his truck when Hurst angrily walks up, begins arguing, and pulls out a pistol. "I'm not fooling around this time, I really mean business," shouts Hurst. "Put the gun down," responds Lee. "I won't talk to you unless you put the gun down." Lee slides out of his truck on the other side. Hurst runs around the truck and shoots Lee in the head, killing him instantly.
The Amite County Sheriff surrounds Hurst with armed men — not to keep him from escaping but to protect him from possible retaliation. An all-white Coroner's Jury is summoned. Hurst claims that Lee attacked him with a tire iron and he shot in self-defense. Louis Allen and other witnesses are pressured to confirm Hurst's claim, they know that the same thing can happen to them if they disobey. The jury accepts the "self-defense" story — that's the typical result when a white Southerner kills a Black man. Hurst never spends a day in jail.
Created by: Donna
Record added: May 25, 2008
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