Lamar Smith memorial sign approved for courthouse placement

Published 12:00 pm Tuesday, November 8, 2022

After a great deal of negotiating about wording, a state historical memorial marker honoring Lamar Smith has been approved to be installed at the Lincoln County Brookhaven Government Complex, the site of Smith’s 1955 death.

County Attorney Will Allen told the Lincoln County Board of Supervisors that the Mississippi Department of Archives and History had approved the sign and would send it for casting.

The MDAH, founded in 1902, collects, preserves and provides access to archival resources of the state, with a commitment toward “preserving Mississippi’s diverse historic resources.” Since 1949, the State Historical Marker program has “identified and interpreted historic sites across Mississippi.” To date, more than 1,000 markers can be found near buildings, battlefields, cemeteries, churches, temples, forts, homes, schools and even abandoned towns.

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The MDAH reports that supply problems and a backlog means new markers can take up to six months to cast.

Allen had previously told the board — which had already approved the placement of the sign— the only holdup concerning the sign was getting the two groups working on placement of the sign to agree on the wording.

“I think we’ve finally got the wording everyone was wanting,” he had said in a previous meeting.

On Monday he said, “I’m very pleased to announce that the Mississippi Department of Archives and Heritage has approved the sign. I sent notice to [the parties involved].”

The wording for the state historical marker is as follows:


Murder of Lamar Smith

On August 13, 1955, Lamar Smith,

A 63-year-old African American farmer

and World War I veteran, was murdered

in broad daylight on the courthouse lawn

while encouraging African Americans

to vote. Smith had been threatened for

organizing Black voters and was killed

in front of dozens of witnesses. An

all-White grand jury failed to indict the

three White men arrested for the murder

after witnesses refused to testify. No one

was ever prosecuted for Smith’s murder.


No one from either of the two groups attended the meeting.

County Engineer Ryan Holmes updated the supervisors on the many projects ongoing in the county. He said that TL Wallace’s countywide reseal project repairs are done but for two and relocation of utilities on Brignall Road is underway. He said the project is nearing completion on the courthouse roof and Civil Defense roof; only trim and flashing remain. He told the board he’s working on dividing up the 36 roads considered for the American Rescue Plan (ARPA) funding and updating road mileage for the county after redistricting.

In other news, the board also approved the following:

  • personnel reports
  • meal count sheets for Week 4
  • advertising in a half-page spot of the 2022 Christmas Wish Book 22
  • releasing budgeted funds as requested by the MSU Extension Service for the 2022-22 annual programs
  • payment of rail spur invoices for the AITX project
  • audit agreements with the State Auditor’s Office for the FY2021 audit
  • travel expenses for Veterans Service Officer Kimberly Bright to attend VSO training in Biloxi Nov. 29-Dec. 2
  • a notice of a retirement letter from Justice Court Clerk Sharon Lofton
  • advertising for the position of Justice Court clerk
  • a notice of management reports from the Lincoln Civic Center Commission from its Oct. 22 meeting
  • payment of invoice for the MS HOME rehabilitation Project for 2022
  • inventory control and transfer
  • reimbursement for expenses for inmate pickup
  • installation of culverts in several districts

The next meeting for the Board of Supervisors is set for Sept. 21 at 9 a.m. in the government complex.