0:00

Lloyd Peterson: Jimmy and I were real close. Well my wife was Jimmy’s cousin, so I guess that’s where we really connected together. That’s the way I’d get over & see her.

Emma Peterson: Jimmy Lee was a nice person, that’s all. He was a nice, quiet person. It was just him and his sister and his mom and dad and his dad got killed about two years before then, so Jimmy was the man of the house. I don’t think he was really involved in it. He was just like me, because we would all just go to the meetings. Well I wasn’t there at the meeting. The meeting was at Zion Methodist Church. I was at work. And he wasn’t even at the meeting; he was at the café down there waiting on his mom and granddaddy. And he was sitting out there waiting on them to come because he really had the flu back then. He didn’t feel like being in the crowd.

Lloyd Peterson: I had an uncle who was the principle of Marion Baptist Academy and he had had a stroke so I had been out that night to give him a bath and what have you and so then after that I went to the meeting. I pulled up right across from the church and parked. The so-called state troopers, which they was just people from Marion or somewhere just in state trooper suits and they told me, “If you got a home to go to, you better go,” and at that time, I was going to ease around the back and go to the back of the church and tell them about all these people outside. I started around the back of the church and there was two men back there, so I had to go. I got up and went. When they came out of the church, that’s when the head-knocking started. They let out and they were going to march down to the jail and have prayer and that’s when they started. Reverend Durbine, he was down on his knees praying and they were steady beating his head up with those clubs. It was rough. Rough. So then I figured it was time to go. Wasn’t no use in staying around. If they hit me, I was going to shoot until I died. That’s right.

Emma Peterson: One thing about it was, you didn’t see a light nowhere. In the stores, out the stores, in the street, you didn’t see a light nowhere.

Lloyd Peterson: That was the general idea. They wanted to turn the lights out where you didn’t know who they were. If they had the lights on, you can see who it is.

Emma Peterson: They tell me when they came out of church they came out beating heads. They went on down to the café where he was and he was fighting back, but he couldn’t fight them all, so then he got shot.

Lloyd Peterson: We carried Jimmy Lee’s grandfather and mother to the hospital over in Selma and after that, after they got treated we were going to come back home. They told us nobody was going to leave out of Selma and nobody was coming in. Shortly after that we learned that Jimmy was over at Good Samaritan Hospital. We were going to go over there and see about him, but they wouldn’t let us leave that place either. So here I was, down there and I had a wife and I guess we had two kids at home and I don’t know what happened to them, you couldn’t get back to them. It’s not like today, we didn’t have cell phones and what have you, so now here you are, you’re scared to death. You don’t know what’s going to happen.

Emma Peterson: He stayed down there almost a week, so my pastor went down to see him and he said, “Oh Jimmy’s doing good. He’ll be home in a couple of days,” but that same night he passed. So we don’t know what happened to him. They had the funeral in Selma.

Search This Transcript
SearchClear