Interview with John Jackson

OK, but even after the Voting Rights Act was passed there was still some violence that happened to many people who tried to help out here, of course, Jonathan Daniels was killed. You told us yesterday that you had been shot at 17 times. And you told us about a story when you were on the porch. I wonder if you could tell that story to us right now.


We had began to send people down to get them registered to vote. And people had begin to come together to meet, I talked about the five men who met, seven men who met, and decided to work with the Civil Right workers. See what they could do to change the situation. Ah, there was certain groups had moved against Blacks in term of sharecropping, funding, ah, people, so those people made up their minds to, to take some kind of stand. And of course, my father was one of those people, and, ah, those who went down to get registered were evicted. And so people came together to see what they could do about that, because they didn't have places to stay. And they created what you called a "poor people land fund" and they began to buy property and Miss Viola Smith gave them, a place for them to camp. And they put out tents for those people, and, ah, what they were doing was organizing themselves so they could build them homes, so they could become self-sustained. They don't own their own homes--because a lot of people were afraid to get registered, afraid to get down to vote, because they would be evicted from the plantations, and those few who stayed on, ah, places were their father, people owned their own land, they were still afraid that they wouldn't be financed. So at that particular weekend they had set tents, and they had agreed to put them on, put it on Highway 80. Were everybody could see it, right where the March went through. And somehow or another, they, we had Uncle Toms during that time too, and they went back and told them that it was gonna put the tents on my father's place. So I figured, ah, that's was the reason that night we would all, ways, we were always trained to try to protect ourselves. And of course along with being educated politically and getting the right to vote, SNCC also told us self-protection, because a lot of people had died across the country. And, ah, that night we, we used to pick cotton, during the day. And we leave the cotton, it was in August, middle of September, on the the porch until you get a full bale and then you take it in. But--I was lying on, watch that night, because there were other people who were up to the tents, we had pitched tents for more than 38 families that had been evicted off plantations just because they went down and registered to vote. And those people didn't have anywhere to stay, so we got tents that were donated from Michigan to, ah, put those people in, until the--we could find homes for them. Because we didn't have any houses around here. And this is--so I was lying there that night, and there has been threats on burning my fathers house, and other people who were actively involved in the Civil Rights movement. And I happened to be there on guard that night with a little rifle in my hand at sixteen. And, ah, a flashlight came on the porch where I was, and, ah, a shot went off. They shot two or three times, and of course I fired back because I was scared. And they ran on down the road. And my sister was in the house next door, who taught in this county, and, ah, by herself. So I got in the car to go down to see if I could assist her or get the tag number. And before I could get close enough to get the tag number, they fired on the car, and they shot car up. There was about 17 bullets in the car. And of course, the Civil Rights workers came, and people came to see what had happened. And the next day the FBIs came, and they said--I managed to get just part of a tag number. They said they found the truck, and that they were hunting. And you know there's a law against hunting at night. But they were hunting, so I guess they were hunting Black people. And they were getting to burn some of the people's houses, and burn crosses in front of people's houses that were actively involved in the Civil Rights movements. It was really devastating.


As a kid what was some of the--