Jackson State to observe the 42nd anniversary of May 1970 campus shooting

Alexander Hall, May 15,1970

Click here to watch the memorial luncheon live at 11:30 a.m. April 20. 

Jackson State University will honor the memory of Phillip Lafayette Gibbs and James Earl Green during the 42nd Anniversary Gibbs-Green Memorial on April 19-20 on the university’s main campus at 1400 John R. Lynch Street. The annual Gibbs-Green Memorial serves as a reminder of the tragic campus shooting of the spring of 1970, which claimed the lives of two young men and injured 12 others.

On May 14, 1970, dozens of city and state policemen unloaded more than 460 rounds of gunfire into JSU’s Alexander Hall after claiming to have seen a sniper in a window on the building’s top floor. The shooting was the culmination of years of racial tension between white motorists who traveled through the JSU campus on John R. Lynch Street and JSU students.

Additionally, during the opening festivities of this year’s observance the university will officially unveil the Mississippi Freedom Mile Marker at Alexander Hall West as part of the Mississippi Freedom Trail. This cultural initiative is designed to commemorate the state’s Civil Rights heritage.

Other events will include the following:

 Thursday, April 19, 2012

JSU Freedom Mile Marker Unveiling
9 a.m., Alexander Hall @ Gibbs Green Pedestrian Walkway (Indoors for Inclement Weather)
This year’s memorial observance will include the unveiling of Jackson State University’s Freedom Mile Marker.

Open Mic and Talk Time:  Educating our Students – Gibbs-Green 101 Interactive Session
noon, Gibbs Green Pedestrian Walkway
This interactive session with members of the Class of 1970 and current students will focus on the conditions and climate that precipitated the May 1970 campus shooting at Jackson State

Campus Tours and Meet and Greet with Members of the Class of 1970
A tour of Jackson State’s facilities that gave rise to our community connectivity and involvement in the pre and post 60s will be rediscovered along our historic Lynch Street tour route.

Candlelight Vigil
5:30 p.m., Gibbs-Green Memorial @ Alexander Hall
In memory of Phillip Lafayette Gibbs and James Earl Green, the memorial Candlelight Vigil will honor the legacy of our fallen heroes.

Commemorative  Celebration – ‘When The Shots Rang Out’
7– 9 p.m., JSU Interfaith Choir, Gibbs-Green Pedestrian Walkway (McCoy Auditorium – Inclement Weather)
This commemorative celebration includes a night of inspirational entertainment from Jackson State University’s Interfaith Choir and local community choirs.  Special program highlights will also include performances from the JSU Maddrama dramatic guild, Spoken Word and oral presentations from eye-witnesses who were on the scene ‘when the shots rang out’.

Opening Reception
9 p.m., Penguin Restaurant
Hosted and sponsored by the Hinds County Black Legislators, the private Opening Reception will feature an exhibit of photos and collectibles from the 1970 campus shooting.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Students’ Forum on Race Relations and Sub-Cultures in Higher Education
9:00 a.m. – 9:45 a.m., Student Center – TBA
Participants facilitating our student forum will examine the impact of race relations in today’s markets and sub-cultures in higher education at historically black colleges and universities.  The audience is encouraged to share in the exchange of these experiences as they relate to their experiences in the higher education academy.

 Victims’ Impact Session
10 a.m. – 11:15 a.m., Student Center – TBA
Members of the Class of 1970 will share their experiences of the fateful night of May 14, 1970.  The impact of the campus shooting, its aftermath and how the event shaped their lives will be shared with our students, faculty, staff and community.

Fannie Lou Hamer Institute Humanitarian Awards Luncheon
11:30 a.m., Student Center Ballrooms A & B
This year’s Fannie Lou Hamer Humanitarian Awards Luncheon will honor members of the Class of 1970 and activists John Garner, Dr. Susan Glisson, Dr. Hickman Johnson . Flonzie Brown-Wright and a special tribute to Reverend Isaiah Madison (posthumously). General admission tickets are $35 and $25 for members of the Class of 1970.

Campus Tours
2 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Enjoy the campus scenery and buzz with guided tours of our College of Engineering, Campbell Suites, Johnson Hall, College of Liberal Arts, College of Business, Payton Health & Wellness Center and our Student Center.

Jazz on the Plaza featuring Cassandra Wilson
7 p.m., Gibbs-Green Pedestrian Walkway
Relax, unwind and take in the cool sounds of JSU jazz-extraordinaire, Dr. Russell Thomas and Time Magazine’s New Jazz Artist of the Year and JSU alumnus Cassandra Wilson at Jazz on the Plaza.

For additional information, contact Jean C. Frazier in the Office of Community Affairs and Events at (601) 979-1732.
Spencer McClenty


One thought on “Jackson State to observe the 42nd anniversary of May 1970 campus shooting

  1. I graduated from Jackson State University in 1970. I, for the first time read about this tragedy today while sitting at my desk. Thanks to my brother-in-law for letting me know about the information on the web site.

    After this incident I was sent walking downtown to catch a bus and sent home and never heard anything about it again. It is amazing that living in Alexander Hall at the time, what I read and what I experience is so different. I am glad to see that something was written about it.

    I guess the real truth is embedded in the racism that existed at that time and still is today.

    The information and the fact that it has been celebrated is wonderful.

    I was especially thankful to see the tribute to the two victims. The young man from Jackson State College was my lab partner. I never knew what really happen.

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