JSU alumnae remembers 1970 Jackson State Massacre

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JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV)– Jackson State University is remembering the lives of two students killed 50 years ago and honoring many others who were injured when officers opened fire. ​

Phillip Lafayette Gibbs and James Earl Green had so much life ahead of them ​
Gibbs was a junior pre-law major with a wife, a child and a baby on the way.
Green was a senior at Jim Hill High School and was walking home from work when he stopped to see what was happening. They were both shot and killed. ​
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Jackson State University students marched paying tribute to Phillip Gibbs and James Green who died May 15, 1970. Twelve other students were shot and survived, and still students like Gailya Porter had to be treated for injuries from shrapnel and glass. ​
Porter remembers every detail and the gunshots.​
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“We were out on the lawn, and they turned, faced us, and lifted their guns, and they had on riot gear and they had the helmets that lifted their face and they opened fire,” said Porter. ​

A friend leaped into action to save her. She was 19 years old when the horrific events unfolded.​

“A good friend of mine lifted me and threw me through the door the glass of Alexander Hall,” said Porter. “It was glass at that time. There’s ​a steel door there now and when that occurred. I was just frightened. I was stiff and at the same time my girlfriend, he reached to grab her, and she jerked to reach away from him and she was actually shot.” ​

She received a standing ovation from students Thursday.

​​Civil rights professor Robert Luckett discussed how the shooting was racially charged. ​
Officers claimed a sniper was in the dorm, but there was never evidence found of that, and there were no arrests in the two murders. ​
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Professor Luckett said diplomas were mailed to the class of 1970, but this year he hopes to have the graduates walk across the stage.

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