Jan. 10, 1966: Voting Rights Activist Vernon Dahmer is Murdered | Zinn Education Project


On January 9, 1966, Vernon Dahmer announced on the radio that he would pay the poll tax for anyone who could not afford to register to vote. (Despite the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, a poll tax was still charged in local elections in Mississippi.)

The next day, Dahmer’s home was firebombed by the Ku Klux Klan. Dahmer guarded the front door while his wife and children escaped out the back. He died the next day from severe burns and smoke inhalation.

On this 50th anniversary of his murder, we encourage everyone to learn and teach about Vernon Dahmer and the long, brave fight for voting rights. We recommend Count Them One by One: Black Mississippians Fighting for the Right to Vote by Gordon A. Martin Jr. and the Journey to Justice blog by Jerry Mitchell, whose investigative journalism played a key role in the convictions of Klan imperial wizard Sam Bowers for ordering the fatal firebombing. 

Source: The Zinn Education Project

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