Price and Bowers Trial: 1967
Jury Reaches Tough Decision
On October 18 the case went to the jury. After a day they declared themselves deadlocked, but Judge Cox refused to declare a mistrial and ordered a return to deliberations, reminding them of the expense of another trial and the necessity for them to reach a verdict. The admonishment worked. On October 20 the jury found Price and Bowers and five other defendants guilty. They could reach no verdict against four other defendants; the remainder were acquitted.
Announcing himself in complete agreement with the verdicts, Judge Cox set December 29 as sentencing day. At that time he imposed a 10-year jail term on Bowers, and six years for Price. The other convicted men received sentences of 3-10 years.
History had been made. For the first time a Mississippi jury had convicted white officials and Klansmen of crimes against black people or civil rights workers. In 1988, these events were captured in the movie Mississippi Burning. While the factual accuracy of the film was often called into question, few doubted that its searing portrayal of bigotry and blind hatred was anything other than authentic.
Suggestions for Further Reading
Blaustein, Albert P. and Robert L. Zangrando. Civil Rights And The American Negro. New York: Trident, 1968.
Cagin, Seth and Philip Dray. We Are Not Afraid. New York: Bantam, 1988.
Huie, William Bradford. Three Lives For Mississipppi. New York:
Kornbluth, Jesse, "The Struggle Continues." New York Times Magazine (July 23, 1989): 16ff.