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Mack Charles Parker

victim of one of the last civil rights era lynchings

Mack Charles Parker

On the night of February 23, 1959, Mack Charles Parker and some friends were driving along Highway 11 between Lumberton and Poplarville, Mississippi when they came across a disabled car. The car's owner, Jimmy Walters, had gone for help, leaving his pregnant wife June and their four-year-old daughter Debbie Carol in the car. Exactly what happened next has never been determined, but the next morning Parker was awakened by Marshal Ham Slade and several deputies, who alleged that he had raped Mrs. Walters.

In her statement, Mrs. Walters identified her rapist as a black middle-aged man who stood about 5'10" and weighed 160-170 pounds; Parker weighed more than 200 pounds. Walters picked him out of a line-up, but later recanted that identification. Despite that recantation, Parker was indicted by a grand jury on April 13. On April 17, he pleaded not guilty to the charges, and the trial was set for April 27.

On the night of April 24, a mob that included J.P. Walter, a former deputy sheriff, and Jewell Alford, a jailer, dragged Parker out of his Pearl River County jail cell. After beating him, they drove him to the Bogalusa Bridge outside of Poplarville, shot him, weighted his body with chains, and threw him into the Pearl River. His body was discovered floating in the river on May 4.

Parker's death was investigated by the FBI (at the request of Mississippi Governor James P. Coleman), which compiled a 370-page report that was sent to both the Governor and the Pearl River County Prosecutor. A grand jury was called, but no one was ever indicted for Parker's murder.

Mack Parker's girlfriend breaks down at his funeral, which was held on May 5.


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This page was last updated on April 24, 2018.