This Day in History: 1959-04-25

Mack Charles Parker is murdered by a a vigilante mob of eight to ten hooded and masked men, wearing gloves, in Mississippi. He had been accused of raping a pregnant white woman at gunpoint in northern Pearl River County, Mississippi. Mr. Parker vehemently denied having raped anyone, and statements from his supporters after his death suggested that the rape accusations may have been fabricated by the alleged victim as a means of concealing an ongoing consensual affair with a local white man. Additionally, while awaiting trial, Mr. Parker was subjected to several lie detector tests, all of which either indicated he was telling the truth or were inconclusive. In addition, no handgun was ever found by police, nor was one ever connected to Mr. Parker. Three days before he was to stand trial, Mr. Parker was kidnapped from his jail cell in the Pearl River County Courthouse by a mob, beaten and shot. His body was found in the Pearl River, 20 miles west of Poplarville, 10 days later. Following an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the men who killed him were released. Despite confessions, no one was ever indicted for the killing. Historian Howard Smead called the killing the “last classic lynching in America.” Learn more.