FEBRUARY 18, 1965
A nighttime protest in Marion, Alabama, led to law enforcement officers attacking the 500 or so protesters who were marching from Zion United Methodist Church to the Perry County jail, where a civil rights activist was being held. Police also beat two photographers and NBC News correspondent Richard Valeriani, who had to be hospitalized.
Jimmie Lee Jackson, his mother Viola Jackson, and his 82-year-old grandfather Cager Lee, ran into Mack’s Café behind the church. After police clubbed Lee to the floor, Jackson attempted to intervene. She, too, was beaten. When Jackson tried to protect his mother, one trooper threw him against a cigarette machine. A second trooper, James Bonard Fowler, shot Jackson, who was beaten again by police after staggering from the café.
Jackson’s death eight days later inspired civil rights activists to march from Selma to Montgomery. In 2007, his killer, Fowler, was indicted for murder, eventually pleading guilty to manslaughter, but he served only five months in jail.
Jackson’s death was portrayed in the 2014 movie Selma, and he is memorialized on the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery.