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Who killed Jimmy Lee Jackson? by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Posted by Forest Tyson on September 29, 2015 at 6:10 PM

“Who murdered Jimmy Lee Jackson? We know a State Trooper acting under the orders of George Wallace pointed the gun and pulled the trigger, but how many other fingers were on that trigger?

Who murdered Jimmy Lee Jackson? Every white lawman who abuses the law to terrorize! Every white politician who feeds on prejudice and hatred! Every white preacher who preaches the Bible and stays silent before his white congregation!

Who murdered Jimmy Lee Jackson? Every Negro man and woman who stands by without joining this fight as their brothers and sisters are humiliated, brutalized and ripped from this earth!

When I heard President Kennedy had been shot and killed, and when I heard just yesterday that Malcolm X who stood in this very church just 3 weeks ago had been shot and killed, I turned to my wife Coretta and said the same thing I often say when one of our leaders is struck down, our lives are not fully lived if we are not willing to die for those we love and for what we believe!

But today Jimmy, we’re doing the living and you’ve done the dying dear brother! We will not let your sacrifice pass in vain dear brother! We will not let it go! We will finish what you are after! We will get what you were denied! We will vote! We will put these men out of office! We will take their power! We will win what you were slaughtered for!

We’re going back to Washington, we will demand to see the President and I’m gonna tell him. That Jimmy was murdered by an administration that spends millions of dollars every day to sacrifice life in the name of liberty in Viet Nam but lacks the moral will, and the moral courage to defend the lives of its own people here in America!

We will not let it go! If he will not act, we will act! We will do it for all of our lost ones! All of those like Jimmy Lee Jackson who have gone too soon, taken by hate!”

by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Now that you have this visual in your mind, replace Jimmy Lee Jackson's name with anyone murdered throughout our city and ask yourself the question; who’s to blame?


Jimmy Lee Jackson was a deacon of St. James Baptist Church in Marion, Alabama, ordained In the summer of 1964. He tried to register to vote for four years, without success under the discriminatory system maintained by Alabama officials. On the night of February 18, 1965, about 500 people organized by SCLC activist C.T. Vivian left Zion United Methodist Church in Marion and attempted a peaceful walk to the Perry County jail about a block away were activist James Orange was being held. The marchers planned to sing hymns and return to the church. Police later said they believed the crowd was planning a jailbreak. The marchers were met at the nearby post office by a line of Marion police officers, sheriff’s deputies and Alabama state troopers.

Jackson, his mother Viola Jackson, and 82 year old grandfather Cager Lee ran into Mack’s Café’ behind the church, pursued by state troopers. Police clubbed Lee to the floor in the kitchen, when Viola attempted to pull police off, she was also beaten. When Jackson tried to protect his mother, one trooper threw him against a cigarette machine, a second trooper shot Jackson twice in the abdomen. Jimmy Lee Jackson struggled out of the café’ and collapsed near the bus station. Jimmy Lee died from his wounds on February 26, 1965.

Another side note to this bit of history is that the state trooper that shot and killed Jimmy Lee Jackson pleaded guilty to manslaughter. He was tried and convicted 42 years later. HE WAS SENTENCED TO 6 MONTHS IN JAIL!




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