Learning the names I should have been taught, part 3.

Any time I see the word parish in a news report, I typically assume that something religious or something related to my state of birth is being referenced.  I felt no surprise seeing the words parish, Ku Klux Klan, and deputy in the same paragraph.  Nor was I aghast that a parish deputy in Louisiana helped to develop his own version of the KKK, the Silver Dollar Group, after feeling that it was not fulfilling its duties to promote white supremacy with enough efficiency and efficacy.  Frank DeLaughter, sheriff deputy of Concordia Parish, was eventually convicted of beating a black prisoner.  Despite signicant FBI evidence of DeLaughter’s involvement in other cases, he was not found guilty of any other racial crime.  DeLaughter and other partners in the Silver Dollar Group are thought to have been responsible for the murder of Wharlest Jackson and of the attempted murder of Jackson’s friend, Metcalfe.  Like many of the other names I’ve studied so far, engraved on the Civil Rights Memorial, Jackson’s murder remains unsolved.  At the age of 37, Wharlest Jackson died after a bomb placed beneath the driver’s side of his truck exploded as he was driving home from work.  He had recently been given a raise and a more senior position at the Armstrong Tire and Rubber Company.  In an effort to assuage the concerns of civil rights activists, Armstrong Tire and Rubber Company had begun to hire a few more black workers and to elevate some within the company, thus putting some black workers on the same levels within the company’s hierarchy as white workers who had previously been above them. The KKK members employed by the same company didn’t like these changes or Wharlest’s consequential change in status and pay.  In an effort to earn enough financially to need only his employment and not also his wife’s to support their five children, Wharlest accepted this new employment arrangement against his wife’s recommendations.  On February 27, 1967, Wharlest Jackson, Jr. found his father and his father’s truck, both slowly dying in the street.  After finishing his first day of his new job, Wharlest Jackson’s hope of becoming a single income family came to fruition. With his guilt for only one racially motivated beating proven and no consequences for any involvement in other murders, Frank DeLaughter had the audacity to ask to be pardoned in 1977.  

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