Seeking justice, 40 years later

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Over 40 years after Marion native Jimmy Lee Jackson’s life was cut short, people are still looking for closure.

Sunday, they hope to come one step closer at a special program at the Marion Baptist Academy. Judge Greg Mathis will be in town for a special visit and Marion resident Albert Turner said they plan to call for justice.

“We are going to call for a full indictment of the state trooper who shot him,” Turner said. “They have located the suspect, he is still living and he is still in Alabama. We are going to seek help from the U.S. Justice Department and get them involved as they have in many similar cases from the 1960’s to bring justice to this individual.”

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Many in Marion are still disturbed that there seems to be sufficient evidence to question the man believed to be responsible for the shooting, yet nothing has been done.

On Feb. 18, 1965, Jackson, his mother, Viola Jackson, and grandfather, 82-year-old Cager Lee Jackson, took part in a protest demonstration led by Reverend C. T. Vivian in favor of African American voter registration.

State troopers attacked the marchers and both Jackson’s mother and grandfather were hit with billy clubs.

When Jackson went to help them he was shot in the stomach by a state trooper. Jackson was arrested and charged with assault and battery before being taken to the hospital.

Jackson died of his wounds on Feb. 26 1965, at the Good Samaritan Hospital in Selma. After Jackson’s death the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) decided to hold the Selma to Montgomery protest March in March 1965.

Jackson, who was born in Marion, played a major role in trying to win equal rights for African Americans.

There is a memorial held in Marion every year that commemorates the tragic murder of Jackson.