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Blood Justice

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How would you like to be accused of a crime and then be disenfranchised because of your race? Well this is what happened to Mark Charles Parker because he allegedly raped June Walters a pregnant white woman on February 23 1959. In Howard Smead's historical nonfiction book Blood Justice he describes one of the most important investigations of a racist, motivated crime in the history of the United States.

Blood Justice is about the killing of Mark Charles Parker and the investigation after his death. Mark Charles Parker was accused of the rape of June Walters which

Occurred on March 1, 1959. R. Jess Brown a well-known African American lawyer represented Parker. On April 13th an all white grand jury indict

d Parker for rape and two counts of kidnapping. On April 17th Parker pleaded not guilty to each charge. Next Parker's trial date was set for April 27th. Then Brown asked Judge Sebe Dale's to drop the case because a black man was not on the grand jury. Brown did this because of a recent ruling made by the 5th U.S. circuit court of Appeals. The ruling stated that it was unconstitutional for a jury of an all white people to convict a black man. The ruling went on to say that one African American had to be on a jury when an African American was on trial. This defense tactic by Brown was a legally intelligent thing to do but this actually became the motive for the mob to kill Parker.

On Friday April 24th J.P. Walker, Preacher Lee, Crip Reyer and L.C. Davis got into Reyer's Oldsmobile and they took off on a mission to kill Mark Charles Parker. (3 other cars of men followed) They went to the courthouse/jail in Poplarville and they could not get in. So they went to Jewel Alford's House (The jail keeper) to get the keys to the Jail. Alford went with the four men to the courthouse. When he got there he went in and down the hall to Sheriff Moody's office and got the keys to the jail. He opened the door to the jail and Lee, Reyer, Davis, Walker followed Alford into the jail. Alford then opened Parkers cell and Lee and Davis pulled Parker out of the jail and courthouse to the Reyer's Oldsmobile. Alford then left and the men got into the car.

The Oldsmobile sped away and the other cars followed. The mob headed southwest on highway 26 toward Pearl River. This river separates Mississippi and Louisiana. The other cars quit following the Oldsmobile after awhile and they went home. They drove just to the Louisiana side of the river and they stopped. Next they dragged Parker form the car and tried to put a rope around his head to hang him. Then parker tried to get away and then the mob shot him to death on Saturday April 25th at about 12:30 A.M.

Sheriff Moody called Mississippi Governor Coleman to inform him of the kidnapping of Mark Charles Parker. The Governor suggested that he call in the F.B.I. At 4:00 A.M. on April 25th the F.B.I. got permission to enter the case. As soon as the F.B.I. entered the case they began questioning people to find out what happened on the night Parker was killed. The town's People of Poplarville almost immediately did not like the F.B.I. involvement in the case. The whole town began to not even talk to the F.B.I. On Wednesday May 13th Arthur Smith under pressure from the F.B.I. told agents that Lee, Reyer, Davis, and Walker were in the front car that carried Parker from the jail. On May 20th 1959 the F.B.I. concluded that there were no federal laws violated that they could prove against the accused. Then they handed the case over to the State and local government.

There were two Grand jury hearings to see if there



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