Friday, September 2, 2011

Lamar Smith
Civil Rights Activist in the Family

Photograph Courtesy of Wikipedia

On August 13, 1955, civil rights activist Lamar Smith was murdered on the crowded lawn of the Lincoln County courthouse in Brookhaven, Mississippi, at close range. Lamar Smith campaigned against one of two candidates for the county Board of Supervisors. He encouraged African Americans to vote by absentee ballot. Lamar was warned several weeks before that he was too political. He was told to quit or be killed. He was shot by a .38 caliber pistol under his right arm, died instantly.

When District Attorney E. C. Barlow reached the scene of the murder, he first spoke with Sheriff Robert E. Case who told him that he saw Noah Smith leave the scene of the murder with blood all over him. Noah Smith and two other men, Charles Falvey and Mack Smith, were arrested. The men were each released on a $20,000 bond.

Not one witness appeared before the grand jury. The case was dropped and the three men went free. District Attorney Barlow called the lack of cooperation "a gross miscarriage of justice."

Lamar "Ditney" Smith was born March 1893 to Levi Smith and Harriet Humphrey in Lincoln County, MS. He served in World War I and was a local farmer in rural Lincoln County. He was the husband of Annie Clark, father of Earline Smith Thomas.
Lamar Smith's sister Susie Mae Smith married Walter Scott, my mother's first cousin once removed.

See a picture of youthful Lamar and wife here, see a picture of older couple here
Sources:
1900 Federal Census - Lincoln County, MS - Searched for Levy Smith
Brookhaven Leader-Times Newspaper - August 17-19, 1955 - Mississippi Department of Archives and History - Microfilm Number: 31241
Jet Magazine - August 25, 1955 - Jet Magazine - Oct 6, 1955 - Google Books


10 comments:

  1. I give deep respect to Lamar Smith for blazing the trails so that people of color would have the right to vote, and the right to protest. Mr. Smith is one of our unsung heroes.

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  2. I always tell my children that you don't have to be famous to impact the World. I am sharing this post with them. Thank you for sharing.

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  3. i am doing a report on lamar smith and at first it was just a name and now it's reality and yeah im only 12 yrs old and you're never to young or old to make a difference

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  4. We can all make a difference when we stand for or support what we believe to be the right thing. I wish you well with your report.

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    1. LindaRe,
      My name is Linda and I think I'm related to you. John Archie Smith was my grandfather and Jacob Smith was his father. My families property is in Copish County near Hwy. 28. Would love to contact you for more family history. You may email me at ljp_ctls@yahoo.com.

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    2. How can an entire town keep the secret of who killed this brave man? It's been 58 years, shouldn't someone be alive who knows something? I have heard this story many times and it still haunts me.

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    3. All the men believed to have participated in the murder of Lamar Smith are deceased. Someone likely knows something that would bring closure, healing to Lamar's family.

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    4. My great grandfather was Jacob Smith and Lamar Smith was his younger brother. I recently spoke to my Uncle David Smith about the murder of Uncle Ditney Smith and he related to me that Noah Smith was in fact the shooter/killer of Uncle Ditney. He also said that Noah Smith was out of his mind and tormented by the killing until the day he died.

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    5. Linda, I have been told a similar story concerning Noah Smith, and that the other men involved also had "hard" deaths.

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