Lynch Street Shooting

On May 14, 1970, a protest among Jackson State students erupted on Lynch Street. Just ten days before, four students protesting the Vietnam War were killed in Ohio at Kent State by National Guardsmen. Partially in response to the deaths at Kent State and partially in response to a fallacious rumor that Charles Evers, brother of slain NAACP leader Medgar Evers, had been killed, students began rioting on Lynch Street. Several reports were made to the police department regarding fires, overturned vehicles, thrown rocks, and gunfire. National Guardsmen and police officials blocked off a section of Lynch Street and several surrounding blocks. After quelling a fire at Stewart Hall, a men’s dormitory, a group of policemen proceeded to the Alexander Center, a women’s dormitory. At Alexander the officers encountered between 75 and 100 protesters and opened fire. The gunshot volley killed Phillip Gibbs, a pre-law major, and James Green, a Jim Hill High School student, and wounded eleven others. No evidence of a sniper was ever found. Some of the chipped concrete is still visible on the west end of Alexander Hall. The Lynch Street shooting was the topic of Congressional probe and received considerable attention from President Nixon’s Commission on Campus Unrest. Today a memorial marker to Phillip L. Gibbs and James Earl Green is in place at the Alexander Center.


“Civil Rights Driving Tour of Hinds County”produced by the Associated Press, Tougaloo College, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, and the Mississippi Development Authority (Tourism Division).