Amite

PEOPLE

Oral History: McDew, Charles “Chuck”

Charles "Chuck" McDew participated in the civil rights movement in many parts of the American South, including Mississippi. (more…)

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EVENTS

The Murder of Herbert Lee and Louis Allen

(1961-1964) August 15, 1961: Bob Moses (a SNCC worker) accompanied farmer Ernest Isaac, Bertha Lee Hughes, and Matilda Schoby to register at the Liberty courthouse. All three filled out a form but were refused the test. Upon leaving Liberty, their car was pulled over by Marshall Carwyle Bates of Liberty, who arrested Moses.

August 28, 1961: Amite’s first voter registration class was held at Mt. Pilgrim Church.

August 29, 1961: Moses accompanied Reverend Alfred Knox and Curtis Dawson to the courthouse to register. Before reaching the courthouse, they were stopped by Billy Jack Caston, a cousin of the sheriff and the son-in-law of E.H. Hurst. Caston beat Moses, who then filed assault and battery charges against Caston—the first time any African American had challenged white violence in Amite County.

August 31, 1961: Billy Jack Caston is tried in Liberty on assault and battery charges. Caston testified that Moses picked the fight with him, and six white witnesses concurred. Moses also testified but was told by the sheriff to leave the courthouse before the jury returned its verdict because he could not guarantee Moses’s safety. Caston was acquitted.

September 5, 1961: Moses and Travis Britt, another SNCC worker, accompanied four Amite citizens to the Liberty courthouse, and the group was accosted by a group of white men in the hallway. Britt was beaten by several of the men, among them someone named “Bryant,”until he was nearly unconscious.

September 25, 1961: Herbert Lee is murdered by E.H. Hurst.

January 31, 1964: Louis Allen is murdered.

Sources:

Dittmer, John. Local People: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi. Champaign,
Illinois: The University of Illinois Press, 1995.

Newfield, Jack. A Prophetic Minority. New York: The New American Library, 1966.

Payne, Charles M. I’ve Got the Light of Freedom: The Organizing Tradition and the
Mississippi Freedom Struggle. Berkeley: The University of California Press, 1955.

Zinn, Howard. SNCC: The New Abolitionists. Cambridge Massachusetts: South End Press, 1964.

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DOCUMENTS

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