Supervisors approve August date to unveil Lamar Smith marker

Published 11:24 am Monday, July 3, 2023

BROOKHAVEN — Lincoln County’s Board of Supervisors approved a date to unveil the Lamar Smith memorial marker in front of the courthouse during a regularly scheduled meeting Monday. Smith was a voting rights activist who was shot on the courthouse lawn on August 13, 1955, no one was ever prosecuted for his murder. 

Lincoln County Administrator Daniel Calcote said the marker would be in front of the courthouse and would be angled where it could be visible from the road. Lincoln County’s board of supervisors voted in November to approve the installation of the sign cast by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History with the wording below.

“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.”

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Lincoln County has the sign and will mark a spot for installation in the coming weeks before an unveiling ceremony scheduled for August 14 at 10 a.m. The date was chosen due to its proximity to the anniversary of Smith’s murder but does not conflict with any meetings nor church services. 

“The family is invited and so is Dickie Scruggs. The NAACP is invited too,” Calcote said. 

No one was present at Monday’s meeting to encourage the supervisors to rename the courthouse like Roy Smith did on June 7. Smith was unable to force a revote and suggested a referendum at the June 7th board meeting.