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I grew up in a town so small that you didn't lose your girlfriend, you lost your turn - Tim Williams, in concert

Author Topic: Tommy Johnson headstone desecrated  (Read 5316 times)

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Offline jrn

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Re: Tommy Johnson headstone desecrated
« Reply #30 on: February 06, 2013, 06:22:52 AM »
As I read back through the posts I notice that I'm the first poster that mentions racism. When I heard about Tommy Johnson's grave being vandalized, I immediately thought of James Earl Chaney's grave, and how much it had been vandalized over the years. So at that point my mind was already pondering how hate motivates someone to do such things.

Personally I feel like it was probably nothing more than an act of vandalism by one or more kids that live in that area. A lot of times this seems to be the case. I also seriously doubt race had anything to do with it in this instance.

Jason
Quitman, Mississippi

Offline CF

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Re: Tommy Johnson headstone desecrated
« Reply #31 on: February 06, 2013, 06:30:32 AM »
Lots of white kids destroying white grave plots where I come from. I agree, this is not necessarily a racist act, I'd say bored teenagers are a more likely perpetrator here.
Stand By If You Wanna Hear It Again . . .

Offline jostber

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Re: Tommy Johnson headstone desecrated
« Reply #32 on: February 06, 2013, 07:05:59 AM »
Bad stuff. Not a way to treat the memory of a legend. Can the headstone be repaired or will a new one be needed?


Offline crawlinkingsnake

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Re: Tommy Johnson headstone desecrated
« Reply #33 on: February 06, 2013, 07:54:06 AM »
General consensus now is that it was probably racial motivated. The cemetery is in a very isolated, over grown area. The guilty party(s) had to know exactly where they were going and what they planned to do.

The gentleman who did the original headstone says he plans to repair or replace it soon as possible. More discussion at pomeroyblues.org

Also Jackson Clarion Ledger released an article on Monday Feb 4th that goes into more detail about what exactly Vera found when she first arrived at the cemetery.

http://www.clarionledger.com/article/20130205/NEWS01/302050026/Marker-Mississippi-blues-legend-Tommy-Johnson-vandalized?nclick_check=1

Offline misterjones

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Re: Tommy Johnson headstone desecrated
« Reply #34 on: February 06, 2013, 09:17:50 AM »
Lots of white kids destroying white grave plots where I come from. I agree, this is not necessarily a racist act, I'd say bored teenagers are a more likely perpetrator here.

I also would guess that it is not racially motivated. I am accustomed to basing my decisions on evidence rather than historical anger and conjecture.  The article linked to above seems to be light on the former and heavy on the latter.  But having precious little evidence at this point, I cannot say what the motivation(s) of the perpetrator(s) were.

Perhpas it is because (as one person suggested) that I am not from Mississippi, but my first thought was an attempted theft (aborted when the idiots broke the headstone trying to pry it loose).
« Last Edit: February 06, 2013, 09:19:54 AM by misterjones »

Offline bnemerov

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Re: Tommy Johnson headstone desecrated
« Reply #35 on: February 06, 2013, 10:18:10 AM »

"They tried to take the headstone completely off the grave. It was screwed down, and it was kind of difficult to take off,? she said.
The vandals left tools and a two-by-four there, but only after smashing parts of the headstone when they couldn?t pull it up."

      from the Clarion-Ledger account.

.....hmmm. Some planning here. And knowledge of just where the grave site was.

Doesn't sound like teenage mischief to me....too much work.

Either someone from the neighborhood wanted the headstone to go away (keep the cultural tourism travelers out of the area...fear of busloads of Japanese blues fans pulling up?) or a twisted fan ("Hey man, I've got Tommy Johnson's headstone in my den! How cool is that?") had a psychological breakdown.

Pure speculation until someone's ID'd (fingerprints on the tools?) and confesses a motive.
Call in "CSI--Crystal Springs"

best to all gumshoes,
bruce

Offline unezrider

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Re: Tommy Johnson headstone desecrated
« Reply #36 on: February 06, 2013, 03:46:52 PM »
how pathetic & disgusting. the damaging of other people's property is one of my biggest pet peeves. & regardless that it happens to be a "famous" (among us, anyway) bluesman's gravestone. it could be anyone's gravestone this happened to. it's just stupid, pointless, & void of respect.
"Be good, & you will be lonesome." -Mark Twain

Offline bob long

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    • Bob Long
Re: Tommy Johnson headstone desecrated
« Reply #37 on: February 06, 2013, 04:44:53 PM »
I've sent an email to Milton Twiner, Chief Investigator of Copiah County Police, telling him I live in The UK but I was at the opening ceremony last October and that this is a matter of international interest and importance and that the eyes of the world are watching now and the culprit must be identified and shamed. I also wished him success. The more messages he gets the better!

Offline Rivers

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Re: Tommy Johnson headstone desecrated
« Reply #38 on: February 06, 2013, 05:40:27 PM »
Good on you Bob!  8)

Offline crawlinkingsnake

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Re: Tommy Johnson headstone desecrated
« Reply #39 on: February 08, 2013, 05:04:22 AM »
I've sent an email to Milton Twiner, Chief Investigator of Copiah County Police, telling him I live in The UK but I was at the opening ceremony last October and that this is a matter of international interest and importance and that the eyes of the world are watching now and the culprit must be identified and shamed. I also wished him success. The more messages he gets the better!

Thanks Bob. Other emails have also been sent with hopes more. During the '68 Democratic Convention in Chicago when police beat protesters with billy clubs the crowd chanted "the whole world's watching" Crystal Springs needs to hear that same message.
once again the link is:

http://www.copiahcounty.org/sheriffsoffice.htm

also letters to the editor at Jackson Clarion Ledger can be sent to:

letters@jackson.gannett.com
or
Letters to the Editor
The Clarion-Ledger
PO Box 40
Jackson, MS  39205-0040

Offline 78erhortig

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  • Howdy!
Re: Tommy Johnson headstone desecrated
« Reply #40 on: February 11, 2013, 09:46:09 PM »
I remember back in 1981, while staying in Leland with Son Thomas, we drove back home after visiting friends, when we got into a police blockade after a drug-store robbery. we had been forced
to the Sherrif`s office, cause a young white with a black in a car, what`s more suspect......

regards
mike

Offline crawlinkingsnake

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Re: Tommy Johnson headstone desecrated
« Reply #41 on: February 17, 2013, 10:32:05 AM »
Tuesday Feb 12th the Clarion Ledger printed a letter to the editor concerning this matter. However it was edited to the point it no longed carried the theme of "the world is watching". Had it been edited for the purpose of saving space, one could understand. But some actual wording was changed. Such as "desecrated" became "disheartening", "destroyed" was now "damaged" along with entire sentences or paragraphs deleted.

All are encouraged to stay on top this issue and continue sending a message to those that need to hear.

Offline wreid75

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Re: Tommy Johnson headstone desecrated
« Reply #42 on: February 17, 2013, 12:48:58 PM »
See this is when the devil myth should be real.  Who ever did this would be paying for it had Tommy really sold his soul to the devil >:D  Now if Tommy was to possess this douche bag would he hiss like a snake :) like Tommy is said to do when he sang?

Offline crawlinkingsnake

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Re: Tommy Johnson headstone desecrated
« Reply #43 on: March 10, 2013, 07:00:14 PM »
Spoke with Vera this evening. She said the man who made the headstone has gathered the pieces to see about repair. Also a donor in Greenville has offered to help replace it if necessary.
Tommy Johnson's 1928 recording "Canned Heat Blues" is part of this years Blues Hall of Fame class.

Offline frailer24

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Re: Tommy Johnson headstone desecrated
« Reply #44 on: March 10, 2013, 10:08:43 PM »
I don't generally quote many things, but this calls for a chorus of "Happy Happy Joy Joy!"
That's all she wrote Mabel!

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