e.h. white

E.H. Hurst

E.H. Hurst, a state legislator in Mississippi in the 1950s-60s, who opposed registration of African-American voters. On September 25, 1961, Hurst, who was white, shot and killed his former childhood friend, Herbert Lee, who was black. Lee was one of the first African-Americans to try and register to vote during the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) campaign in Mississippi. A jury acquitted Hurst [of manslaughter?] on the same day, on the grounds of self-defense. The Amite County courtroom was full of armed white men. One of the witnesses, Lewis Allen, soon recanted his testimony, saying that he had lied to protect his family. Before he could testify about the intimidation, Allen, too, was murdered in his driveway by a shot-gun blast. Medgar Evers was one of the speakers at Lee's funeral. The murder and similar violence elsewhere were setbacks to the black registration drive. By the end of 1964, Freedom Summer, out of 500,000 eligible blacks, Mississippi had only 1,200 new black voters.


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