On May 9, 2007—only five years ago today—former state trooper James Bonard Fowler was indicted for the murder of Jimmie Lee Jackson—42 years after Jackson was fatally shot.
The killing, which led to a series of historic civil rights protests in Selma, Alabama, occurred while Jackson was defending his mother and grandfather from white state troopers in Marion, Alabama. He was one of a few hundred people who participated in a march from Zion United Methodist Church toward the city jail, on February 18, 1965—a march that was violently broken up by law enforcement, causing demonstrators to run for safety.
Jackson and his family sought cover in a café, where they were beaten by state troopers, and where Jackson was eventually shot in the abdomen. He was pronounced dead a week later.
Four decades passed before any charges were filed. When Fowler was finally indicted, he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge—second-degree manslaughter—and was finally sentenced to jail in 2010 … but only for six months.
For more information, consult this article.
To read about reaction to the indictment by Cager Lee Jr., Jimmie Lee Jackson’s uncle, click here.
To read an article published after Fowler’s sentencing, click here.
To see a page from Jackson’s emergency room logbook, click here.
Artist Jonathan Frost, four decades after the event, painted 18 scenes illustrating what he imagined the events of February 18, 1965, might have looked like, using knowledge he first gained on a 2008 tour civil rights tour.