Lamar Smith, the Civil Rights Movement, Mississippi, discriminatory practices, discrimination, racism
During the civil rights movement and the various circumstances that established the foundations for this movement, there were many civil rights leaders with strong beliefs and the willingness to reverse discrimination policies. While many of the movement leaders were extremely prominent and well-known at the time, others were relatively unknown but nonetheless played an important role in helping push the movement forward.
[...] Lamar Smith was an important activist and his name should be remembered because he stood for what he believed in and was willing to risk even his life for these beliefs. If we look at it from his perspective, we can certainly see where he is coming from. He is a black man who fought for the United States during WWII, and after returning home, it makes little sense that he and his community members should be treated with such disrespect. References “Lamar Smith.” Biographies of Slain Civil Rights Figures. [...]
[...] On August after Lamar Smith had made several efforts to organize the community, develop leaders, and get black Americans to vote, he was shot and killed in broad daylight. As Lamar Smith was walking near Lincoln County courthouse in Brookhaven, Mississippi, he was approached and shot. After the fatal shooting, contemporary reports tell us that many people actually saw a white man running from the scene with blood on his hands. After this, three suspects were arrested for the murder, but no witness was willing to step forward to confirm that the murder was done by these men. [...]
[...] Lamar Smith, a World War II veteran, was a local farmer and also a leader within the black community in 1955. Smith had attended meetings of the “Regional Council of Negro Leadership,” and there is evidence to suggest that this was the largest civil rights organization in the state during this time. At the meetings, Smith encouraged black community members to vote, he attempted to cast them as leaders, and he was involved in inspiring and leading these individuals. During this time in Mississippi, the black community was suffering from extensive discrimination, segregation, and Jim Crow laws. [...]
[...] A terrible attitude against black people that was passed on from generation to generation—so powerful that those believing in this ideology were willing to kill in order to take away the most basic right granted to U.S. citizens—the right to vote. The murder of Lamar Smith, a 63 year old man who fought for the United States in a war, represents a much greater tragedy. The mindset in the United States during the mid 1950's, especially down South in states such as Mississippi, was one that promoted racism, hypocrisy, and other ideologies that completely contradicted our Constitution. [...]
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