Anniversary of Wharlest Jacksons death must be remembered

Published 9:37 pm Sunday, March 3, 2024

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For most people in Adams County, Feb. 27 was a typical day.

But for those who recall the history – and those who still live in the shadow of it – the day was much more than typical.

Feb. 27 marked the 56th anniversary of the death of Wharlest Jackson Sr., a leader of the NAACP branch in Natchez who was killed in a truck bomb just blocks from the Armstrong Tire and Rubber Co. plant where he worked.

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It was one of the most violent deaths during the Civil Rights era and it brought the violence of the struggle for equality crashing down on our community.

Jackson was a Korean War veteran and a treasurer of the Natchez NAACP. He became a target of the Ku Klux Klan after he was promoted to a supposedly “white’s only” job at Armstrong. Just two years earlier, Jackson’s friend George Metcalfe had been injured in a car bomb after taking a similar “white’s only” position at the plant.

But Jackson was determined to take the job he earned, and that determination as well as a belief in the right to liberty and equality, made him a target.

And, it made him a martyr of the Civil Rights movement.

Jackson’s killers were never prosecuted, despite an FBI investigation. His son, Wharlest Jr., still works to raise awareness of the senseless murder and to fight for justice.

It’s a justice long overdue. Men like Wharlest Jackson Sr. gave their lives in support of a righteous cause – equality and liberty – and their stories and passings must never be forgotten to the annals of history.

Let us remember the sacrifice made by the Jackson family this week, and every week, as we move forward.