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Author Topic: Tommy Johnson headstone desecrated  (Read 5368 times)

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Offline crawlinkingsnake

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Re: Tommy Johnson headstone desecrated
« Reply #45 on: October 28, 2013, 05:41:52 PM »
the Tommy Johnson Blues Festival is this weekend (Nov 1 & 2) in Jackson. Tommy's niece Vera, has said they hope to have the headstone repaired and replaced by then.

If anybody has any more news of this please let us know.

Offline mtzionmemorialfund

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Re: Tommy Johnson headstone desecrated
« Reply #46 on: May 08, 2017, 05:12:49 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.


This incident was not due to the continuance of Klan mischief.  Julius Harper, the former Copiah County sheriff and #2 man in the Mississippi White Knights of the KKK, was able to avoid prosecution and live out his days until he passed in the 1980s.  While his descendants remain in the area and some folks from time to time enjoy spray-painting racial slurs and the letters "KKK" on campaign signs in the rural part of the county, this ordeal coming to an end was welcomed by everyone who I had to sue or antagonize to finally get a permanent easement to the site.  The clear route to a conclusion, moreover, was always open and available; no one ever went after the absentee landlord, who owned the land and lived in Texas.  Rather than force him to give up the easement for ten years, everyone decided to point fingers at the county board of supervisors in the press and at public meetings, because the attorney general had told them not take the land by eminent domain.  While the county board surely disliked all involved by the time I arrived on the scene, they were most helpful in pointing me in the right direction to end the whole ordeal. 

And you would also be correct in regards to the broken marker designed by Alan Orlicek.  The grave marker broke because it was not installed according to the specifications of the person who designed it.  The TJ foundation decided to hire someone local who clearly had a backwards conception of headstone installation.  The six foot tall, 500 lb. marker was simply supposed to be buried about 2 to 2 1/2 feet in the bare, soft earth of the cemetery floor.  Had we been allowed to do that then no one would have poured a concrete slab in the middle of the forest, which, in fact, was the only thing that could have ever broken the huge monument.  Then for some reason they thought it was good idea to stand it six feet upright with only two small pieces of rebar--each about 6 to 8 inches long--straining to hold up the 500 lb. monster of a headstone.  If it was vandalized, then it was the person hired to install the monument who is responsible. 

In February 2013, according to a sheriff?s report, the headstone ?fell over by wind or accident and broke? off the top portion. The report also noted that ?there were no marks?to indicate that it was hit with a hammer or any type blunt instrument.? The deputy's report ?didn?t find anything to indicate foul play,? and most everyone who examined the marker realized that it ?was improperly mounted on slab pins too small and too short." The marker was poorly attached to a concrete slab with two small pieces of rebar, which all but assured its broken fate. 

The police report was subsequently confirmed upon independent examination. Based on his observations made on-site, engraver and stone designer Alan Orlicek also agreed with the police report, stating that there was "no evidence that a hammer was used to destroy the marker." In his opinion, the "placement of the stone...was 95% of the problem, if not more." To top it off, the slab wasn't even near the grave of Tommy Johnson.  The slab sits underneath a large white oak tree.  Mager Johnson told David Evans very clearly that his brother's grave was at the foot of a cedar.  There are only two in the overwhelmingly pine forest.  Both are at the center of the cemetery.

For the full story, in case anyone wants to know what actually happened, can be read right here:

« Last Edit: May 08, 2017, 06:45:15 AM by mtzionmemorialfund »
T. DeWayne Moore
Executive Director, Mt. Zion Memorial Fund

Offline jpeters609

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Re: Tommy Johnson headstone desecrated
« Reply #47 on: May 08, 2017, 06:39:07 AM »
The grave marker broke because it was installed according to the specifications of the person who designed it.

Just to clarify, I believe you meant to write, "The grave marker broke because it was NOT installed according to the specifications of the person who designed it."

Offline jed

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Re: Tommy Johnson headstone desecrated
« Reply #48 on: May 08, 2017, 07:00:37 PM »
Thanks to T DeWayne for the comprehensive clarification.  Looks like May isn't working out for me, but hoping to return while weather and foliage are still welcoming.
ok then:

Offline Rivers

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Re: Tommy Johnson headstone desecrated
« Reply #49 on: May 13, 2017, 07:00:50 PM »
I will modify the old saying to "if it walks like a duck it might just be an engineering problem" in future. Fake news, before it became famous.


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