National Register right for Jackson

Published 12:05 am Friday, March 31, 2017

In some ways, Wharlest Jackson was an unlikely hero. He was involved in the Natchez civil rights movement in the 1960s, but he had every reason not to be.

Unlike some of those bravely standing up for equality that were young and single, Jackson was married and had small children at home.

He could have simply gone through his life quietly accepting the oppression he and others faced because of their skin color.

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Certainly he could have turned down the promotion he received at his place of work. But he knew he had to be brave and bold to better the lives of his wife and small children.

He accepted the job, and prior to that was active in the local civil rights movement, in spite of the obvious danger.

That danger became real when a bomb exploded beneath his truck as he drove home from his job at the tire plant. His murder shocked Natchez in a way prior racially motivated crime had not.

Fifty years after Jackson’s murder, no one has ever been charged.

At this point it seems unlikely that anyone living will ever officially be proven responsible for the crime.

In that, Jackson remains a symbol of the injustice so prevalent during the 1950s and 1960s.

Today, the City of Natchez is working to get Jackson’s house placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

We think Jackson’s sacrifice and that of his family should never be forgotten. Adding his former house to the National Register could serve as a small way of helping keep his name alive in our modern day conscience.

We applaud the city for moving forward with the plan.