When Marco McMillian decided to move back to his home town and run for mayor, the 33-year-old aspiring candidate knew he needed the blessing of the silver-haired oligarchy that ruled quietly from church pews. It was familiar turf for McMillian, who grew up singing in the choir at New Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church a half-mile from his small house near the railroad tracks in this grindingly poor city in the Mississippi Delta.
He went to see Bertha Blackburn, an 89-year-old pillar of Metropolitan Baptist Church, laying out his ideas for fixing the schools and creating jobs. “We thought he was the answer to our prayers,” Blackburn said.
A week and a half after McMillian’s body was found in the mud on an isolated stretch of levee outside Clarksdale, his death remains a mystery. It has roiled old suspicions and fears from Mississippi’s dark history of racial brutality, although both McMillian and the man charged with his murder are African American. McMillian was also gay, adding fire to demands by civil rights groups for the killing to be investigated as a hate crime. The FBI said this week that it is “monitoring” the investigation.
Hundreds of mourners are expected to attend McMillian’s funeral here Saturday, scheduled for 11 a.m. at Coahoma Community College. Hotels are full and florists have been working overtime delivering arrangements, but hovering closely are the questions surrounding McMillian’s death.
TVNL Comment: Why was this story not national news when it first happened? Why is it still not a front page outrage? Just asking....