The Town Has Blood On it's Hands

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Historical Fiction  |  House: Boley Folks House

Scores of "dazed Negroes'' in the area whispered: "It's been going on for years and nothing has been done." And the rabid and predominant racists in the wealthy hometown of the late Sen. Theodore Bilbo still echoed white supremacy views.

I was born on the th.day of January 1936. It was a Wednesday.

 

 If.your eyes look closely at the steps of the Pearl River County Courthouse you will see the faint trace of " innocent" blood.  My blood, The blood of Mack Charles Parker, A negro veteran , a pulpwood hauler, a young hard working family man struggling to support his widowed mother and siblings  and three other family members listen and I will tell you about April, 24, 1954.

 

 I , Mack Charles Parker   was an African-American, a  victim of lynching in Poplarville, Mississippi, in Pearl River County. I  was the victim of the local Citizens Council. The purpose of the Citizen's Council was to maintain segregation and white supremacy. My white lover  and I crossed the lines. Pearl River county wasnt ready for interracial relationships.

 

Beçause I dated to do something which was socially taboo. My few remains lie buried in an intended cemetery somewhere in the Northern City Limits of Lumberton Mississippi.

 

 I was accused of raping my lover , a pregnant white woman , June Walters in northern Pearl River County, Mississippi. 

 

June made the accusation when I told her that I was going to marry another woman Ruth White , probably in June. June, my lover,  couldn't marry me. She was married to Jimmy Walters. Opening our relationship to the public would be disastrous for both of us. Mississippi, especially Poplarville and Lumberton, were intolerant of interacial marriage.

 

I,  was arrested for the February 23, 1959 rape and kidnapping of a pregnant white woman, in Pearl River County, Mississippi. The victim, Walters,  reported that the crime occurred on a dirt logging road called Black Creek Ford Road, off U. S. Route 11, approximately seven miles south of Lumberton, where she and her child were waiting alone in a car while her husband went to get help.

 

I  vehemently denied having raped anyone, I half expected June to drop the charges after she had time to cool off.

 

June ,Mrs. Walters, did  not identify me as her attacker by name or detailed description beyond sex,he was male race he was black  and approximate age.He was middle age.His weight was I guess between 160 and 170. 

 

I am  6'0" my  weight is or was  . Over 200. My age is 23. I in no way match the description. I believe even in the dark Mrs. Walters can tell the difference between me and the man she described.

 

 There were  statements from whites as well as blacks  suggesting that the rape accusations had been  fabricated as a means of concealing an ongoing consensual affair with a black man. A few suspected her black lover was me. But, only my mama, June, and I knew the truth.

 

 Rumors  also flew alleging June Walters was  having a consensual affair with a white politician.She was, he too was married and very unlikely to divorce his wife.

 

These accusations were true but never proven and widely believed to be unfounded and quickly silenced. However, it is true.  they were sufficient to invoke the Citizen's Council. If the council's suspicion had been stronger she too would have been publicly beaten and possibly lynched. Most certainly, June would have been divorced. She might have lost custody of her daughter, Debbie. June sided with self preservation and framed me.

 

According to reports published in the New Orleans Times Picayune and the Jackson Clarion Ledger, I,  and four friends, Norman Malachy, David Alfred, Curt Underwood and Tommy Grant were returning to Lumberton from Poplarville. The five of us had been to Slim’s, an illegal bar which was operated under the protection of the Poplarville City Police. It was located in the black section of Poplarville, and was known for selling white lightning moonshine. This part was 100% accurate.

 

As we neared Lumberton, I and my  four companions spotted a Dodge sedan broken down on the side of the road.We Assumed  the car was abandoned, we stopped. Some speculated that together we planned to strip the car or steal it. I cannot speak for my companions. I don't know what they were thinking. We were all extremely intoxicated.

 

I got out and shined a flashlight into the car. I recognized  June and her daughter in the car. I asked if they were alright. I asked if I could help in any way. She  refused my offer. So, I returned to my Chevy sedan and left.

 

 As we  left the scene, They, my friends, say I  turned to Malachy, Alfred, Underwood and Grant and said, “Why don’t we stop and get some o’ that white stuff?”   They say I shouted those words as I drove past Jimmy Walters. The author of this fictional story wasn't aware That I knew Jimmy Walters. I was drunk but, I wasn't that stupid. They  lied, I never said anything like that.

 

The four friends recalled  Telling me I was crazy, and to take them home. I remember the conversation differently. I told my friends I was taking them home before their drunk asses got all of us in serious trouble.

 

David Alfred's father would later take the story to the Lumberton police that after  I dropped the four friends at their homes I returned to the abandoned car where I broke the passenger side window saying " you white Bitch, I'm going to fuck  you." I did not say that. I did not return to the disabled vehicle. I may burn in Hell but that preacher is lying. He may be covering for another black man, the rapist.

 

Other fictional stories emerged throughout the night of the alleged rape. The one on my mind is the story that June Walters and her four year old daughter had to hitchhike back to the abandoned car. I wasn't there. I don't know what happened. If Mrs.Walters left the car, if she caught a ride with a passing trucker, if she told that trucker that she had been raped by " A Nigger" it wasn't me. 

 

 After an intensive manhunt, Lumberton police were informed by David Alfred’s father, a local Baptist minister, that i was the perpetrator. 

 

That Preacher is lying. There wasn't any intensive manhunt. The police knew exactly where I could be found.

 

There were no witnesses. If the preacher's story is factual, I raped June  in front of her child. That never happened. No way in Hell. I dropped my friends off . I said good night. I went home and went to bed where the Lumberton police found me

 

I  was arrested at approximately 10 a.m. on February 24 at my Lumberton home by Lumberton City Marshal Ham Slade. I was beaten by Slade and his deputies, to the horror of my  mother, Mrs. Eliza i. Mama's screams could be heard several houses away. Her screams, her pain and anguish is the only thing I have to regret.


 

According to local law enforcement officials, before the woman’s husband could return to the disabled car, i allegedly returned, kidnapped the woman and her four year-old daughter at gunpoint and took them to Black Creek Ford Road where he raped the pregnant woman.

 

No, I never returned to that car. I never kidnapped either June or her daughter Debbie at gunpoint. I do not have a gun. I never had access to a gun. I'll never tell this in court but, I had too much love and respect for Mrs. Walters and little Miss Debbie Walters. My mama raised me to respect women. The law has everything wrong. I am not the man they are hunting.

 

There was police impropriety: a deputy or Slade turned his back to  Jimmy Walters, June's husband. With his side arm unstrapped he encouraged him " Take my pistol and finish this here and now. You'll never spend one day in jail. Jimmy Walters declined saying we'll let the justice determine his fate.you're insane June isn't positive he is the right man. He deserves a trial.

 

The white people of Poplarville blamed Jimmy Walters. They accused him of being a spineless coward. He wasn't man enough to avenge the wrong perpetrated against his wife. This blame and condemnation carried forward to every Walters family member who wanted me to have " a fair trial"

.

 

 Very Few whites in Poplarville, Miss., shared Walter`s sense of justice. A former deputy sheriff was among many who believed i did not even deserve a jury trial, and he recruited a lynch mob from men attending a prayer meeting.

 

I continued to  vehemently deny having raped anyone. In a line-up at the Lumberton City Jail, the victim identified me  with the words " yes it is him. it could be him. I don't know .It was night and I was startled and afraid. I'm not sure.

 

 A check of the tire tracks left by the perpetrator’s car indicated they were similar to those of my Chevrolet, but a positive identification could not be made. My hope that mama was wrong and I would come home increased.

 

A check of fingerprints failed to implicate me. Because my fingerprints failed to match the prints left on Walters car by the perpetrator I was almost certain I would be acquitted.

 

 Soon after my  arrest, and for my own protection,  the Lumberton Police had the Mississippi Highway Patrol transfer me  to the Hinds County Jail in Jackson Mississippi. The atmosphere was becoming hotter than Hell. Something had to be done to protect me. To make sure that I reached trial alive.

 

While in the Hinds County Jail, I  was subjected to several lie detector tests. All of the lie detector tests given to me proved to be inconclusive or truthful..

 

Hinds county requested the DNA , the semen from the rape exam . They requested the photos taken in the hospital, if there were any. The DNA failed to match my DNA. The Local police authority said the DNA evidence was inconclusive, it was a relatively new science. They deemed the photos to be pornographic and refused to send them. The official explanation was the pictures had been destroyed.

 

 In addition, no handgun was ever found by police nor was one ever connected to  me, Mack Charles i.

 

The Defense Dept. Officials denied that  Ihad a criminal record while serving in the Army and was dishonorably discharged for a series of thefts, as was disclosed by Mississippi law enforcers. I was separated from the service on a general discharge. It should have been a hardship discharge, my mother needed me and there wasn't time for me to buck this back through the channels. 

 

The authorities were grasping at straws hoping to build an ironclad case against me. The most they could legally hold me on was an alcohol related charge. 

 

On April 13,1959 I  was indicted by a Pearl River County grand jury, on one count of rape and two counts of kidnapping. I was in shock as the bailiff led me to my cell

 

Two days later I  was brought back to Pearl River County. I appeared  before Judge Sebe Dale, Sr., on April 17. represented by attorney and civil rights activist, R. Jess Brown of Vicksburg, I  entered a plea of not guilty to each charge. Judge Dale set the trial date for April 27, and I was returned to my cell at the Pearl River County Courthouse.

 

Three days before I was to stand trial, eight masked white men dragged me  from my jail cell, beat me. If you listen closely you will hear my pleas for the other prisoners to help me. I begged " Don't let them take me. Please don't let them kill me.

 

I was dragged down the stairs at the Pearl River County courthouse. The impact of my body with the steps further opened the beating wounds. I begged for my life. I begged the men to let me walk. My pleas tell on deaf ears.

 

Later the jail officials would justify the beating by saying I was escaping. They are right, if you're surrounded by eight armed men intent on killing you,  you're going to escape if escape is possible. 

 

There were witnesses to what was about to happen. Two nurses stood at a nearby gas station and watched the hooded men drag me down the concrete stairs. I don't think the lynch mob saw the curious young women.

 

 I was placed in a car with three hooded men that sped away toward the Louisiana state line. Upon arrival in Bogalusa I was pulled from the car . A  deputy shot me point blank in the heart from six inches away and threw my body into the Pearl River, where it was found 10 days later.

 

Do you know what ten days submerged in the muddy brackish waters of the Pearl River did to my remains? Decomposition had begun. Catfish and other creatures had nibbled and feasted on me. My skin was waterlogged to the stage it was splitting and turning into a greasy soapy gelatinous substance. It wasn't pleasant for those who recovered my remains. It wasn't pleasant for the motician or the elderly minister who buried me.

 

 In addition to the former sheriff, the lynch mob included a Baptist preacher and the jailer. Within hours, most white people in Poplarville knew I had been killed, and they knew who did it.

 

 The other Black prisoners were put on stair scrubbing detail. But as the surviving Negro prisoners daily scrubbed the jail house steps, ugly blood stains refused to be washed out.and some of my blood stained the hands of fellow negro prisoners who were to afraid to get involved.

 

Upon learning of the events in the early morning hours of April 25, Pearl River County Sheriff, Osborn Moody, informed the Mississippi Highway Patrol, who then urged him to contact the FBI. That same morning, Moody obtained a "John Doe" warrant for the kidnapping of Mack Charles Parker The John Doe warrant was inaffective the lynch mob left no viable DNA.

Almost immediately, 60 agents from the FBI descended upon the town of Poplarville, Mississippi. In the first two weeks following my  death, the FBI questioned hundreds of potential witnesses and suspects. Several local Poplarville men, Jewel Alford, Christopher Columbus "Crip" Reyer, L. C. Davis, Preacher, J. Floren Lee, his son J. F. "Jeff" Lee, Herman Schultz, Arthur Smith and J.P. Walker, a former Pearl River County Sheriff’s Deputy, who would be elected sheriff of Pearl River County in November 1963, quickly became the focus of the FBI’s intensive probe into my  abduction and death o


 

In a three hour interrogation session they say,  FBI agents browbeat Crip Reyer. Reyer finally admitted that his red and white 1956 Oldsmobile 88 had been used by the mob, but denied having anything to do with the abduction or killing.

 

.Every one knew who did what and most knew why But when FBI agents began investigating the incident, no one in town would tell them anything. Many were afraid of the mob, others simply believed the killing was justified. The county prosecutor himself praised the attack and said he would refuse to prosecute anyone arrested for the crime.

 

Stunned people throughout Lumberton and Poplarville Mississippi whispered . It's been this way for as long as anyone can remember. Nothing has ever changed. We knew it would happen here someday, sooner or later, but Lordy ! Not here ,not today, Lord, not over this soon. 

 

Many people of color , blacks, would go fifteen miles out of their way to avoid Poplarville. The town has a reputation as a Hell Hope. Mother's, from the impoverished side of town won't let their children come into the town. Poplarville isn't ready for equality.

 

Scores of "dazed Negroes'' in the area whispered: "It's been going on for years and nothing has been done." And the rabid and predominant racists in the wealthy hometown of the late Sen. Theodore Bilbo still echoed white supremacy views.

 

The  publicity only enraged whites in Poplarville, and they took out their anger on my  mama and family. After receiving a barrage of death threats, my mother, Liza, fled to California. With whatever she could shove into the few suitcases she and my siblings owned.

 

She was on a bus heading West when my body was found. My mama, my brothers, my sister and other family had to flee or be executed, lynched.. I regret not being there to protect my mama, to help her through the difficult times.

 

On May 4, my  bloated and decomposing body was found floating in the waters of the Pearl River two and one-half miles south of the Pearl River Bridge at Bogalusa.

 

After an American flag was used to drape My coffin, whites raised such an uproar that the Veteran`s Administration, which had issued the flag, ordered my sister to return it. I was denied the military honors I was entitled to.

 

I chose to have consensual sex and an affair  with a white woman and I've paid the price.

 

Scores of dazed people are still whispering it's been going on for years.

 


Submitted: June 15, 2021

© Copyright 2021 M.L.Williamson Hume. All rights reserved.

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