From The Mississippi Link Newswire

JACKSON – On Friday, May 10, the Mississippi Freedom Trail honored Rev. George Lee with a marker in Belzoni. The event was at Green Grove M.B. Church at 603 Church Street in Belzoni. This is the 11th Mississippi Freedom Trail marker to be unveiled.

Rev. George Lee

“The Mississippi Freedom Trail recognizes both the celebrated and lesser known heroes of the Civil Rights Movement,” said Malcolm White, director of the Mississippi Development Authority’s Tourism Division. “This marker helps to preserve Rev. Lee’s legacy and to educate Mississippians and visitors alike on his role in the fight for justice and equality.”

Though not as well-known as some of his contemporaries in the Civil Rights Movement, Rev. Lee was an early participant in the movement.

He was a vice president of the Regional Council of Negro Leadership, a co-founder of the Belzoni branch of the NAACP and a powerful public speaker. In the spring of 1955, he addressed a crowd of 10,000 people gathered for a voter registration rally in Mound Bayou, Miss.

Two weeks later, Lee was assassinated; no one was ever charged for his murder.

Rev. Lee’s funeral was held at Green Grove M.B. Church where the marker is being erected (corner of First and Church Streets). Lee is widely considered to be the first martyr of the modern Civil Rights Movement. His death came three months before the lynching of Emmett Till in Sunflower County, Miss.

  1. Meredith Coleman McGee says:

    Glad to hear that Rev. Lee will be honored with a marker. His story is very important.
    Excerpt from new book: James Meredith: Warrior and the America that created him — Chapter II Path of a Warrior page 28
    Rev. George T. Lee, 51, was killed gangland-fashion by shotgun blasts fired through the open window of his ear by the occupants of another car carrying two white men and a Negro. Called the most militant Negro minister in Mississippi, Rev. Lee was No. 1 on the Citizens Council violence list of eight, was one of the original 92 (ten withdrew) Negroes who were determined to vote in the August primary.9

    The Council’s death list included T.B.M Howard, who hired a body guard; Clinton Battle, an Indianola physician; Medgar W. Evers, the NAACP’s state secretary and the youngest individual at age 30 on the list; Gus Courts, a Belzoni grocer; Emmett J. Stringer, a Columbus dentist, and A. H. McCoy, a Jackson dentist and the president of the NAACP. Many continued to fight for social rights in the wake of the murder. Battle went on record saying, “I’m here, not backing down.”

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