A Carroll County resident approached the Carroll County Board of Supervisors about removing the Confederate battle flag flown on the lawn of the Carroll County Courthouse in Carrollton. The flag stands before the Confederate memorial monument on the southwestern corner of the courtyard.
Jackie McKinney went before the board Monday morning to discuss the flag. She said the flag is a reminder to many in the black community of Carroll County of the “Carrollton Massacre,” an 1886 mass shooting that lead to the deaths of 23 black people in the courtroom of the Carroll County Courthouse. She also told supervisors how Carroll County has gone from predominantly black to predominantly white, and she doesn’t feel the 33 percent of blacks in the county have a true representation in county government.
According to a 2012 article in Mississippi History Now, two brothers Ed and Chaney Brown were taking molasses to a saloon when they bumped into Robert Moore and some of the molasses spilled on him.
The article says that Moore’s friend, James Monroe Liddell decided to deal with the brothers himself. He confronted them and a fight happened, and all three men were injured.
The Brown brothers pressed charged on Liddell, and a trial was held on March 17, 1886. Historic accounts state that it was unheard of in those days of a black man filing charges against a white man, and some in the community were outraged.
During the trial, a 50-100 armed men rode into Carrollton, entered the courthouse and opened fire upon the plaintiffs and members of the audience. The article stated, “Those who escaped from the second story windows were shot as they lay upon the ground or were hanging from a windowsill. No white person was hit. The renegades then rode out of town.” Despite national outrage, no one was ever prosecuted in the incident.
McKinney read about the Carrollton Massacre and the 23 black people killed, including her ancestor Will McKinney, who she said was serving a year sentence in the county jail before he was shot and hung.
McKinney said nothing was done about the murders, and the massacre was one of the memories engrained in the minds of many black people in Carroll County.
She also told them that she understood the battle flag holds memories and heritage for some in the county, but for blacks it holds memories that are not good. She said she isn’t the only black person in the county who feels this way. She was just the one before the board.
McKinney countered that if the flag would continue to be flown at the Carroll County Courthouse in Carrollton, then the board should erect a memorial in honor of those who lost their lives in the Carrollton Massacre.
“Because that’s our heritage. And if you erect the memorial, then you can keep your flag. And then everybody will be, what?”
“Happy!” A few voices shouted in the crowd, followed by applause.
Later during the meeting, Board President Jim Neill told McKinney that the memorial and the accompanying flag pole on the courthouse lawn were donated by the United Daughters of the Confederacy.
McKinney said she wanted to “iron out the wrinkles” that Carroll County has to become better.
“I just want Carroll County to be the best it can be,” she said.