Booker T. Mixon

Background

Booker T. Mixon was born in 1934 in Itta Bena. A war veteran, Mixon, his wife Earlene, and their two children moved from Chicago in 1959, where they lived after the war, to Clarksdale, Mississippi. After the family moved, Mixon worked hauling dirt and gravel for about 3 months for J.A. Childs of Greenwood, a white man. He then worked in Crenshaw driving a truck for about 3 days before he was found dead. Mixon was 35 years old at the time of his death.

On October 12, 1959, Mixon was discovered naked lying in near fatal condition on the side of the road in Marks, Mississippi. Sheriff’s Deputy Ben Collins of Quitman County found Mixon and called his case a “hit and run.” Mixon remained in a coma from October 12 to 23, when he died. The flesh on Mixon’s abdomen and back had been torn from his body; witnesses said it appeared as though he had been dragged by a car. Dr. Joseph Jones Jr., a black physician and surgeon from Clarksdale, reported that “[Mixon] had multiple abrasions and bruises on his face, head, abdomen, and legs… Furthermore, there were brain injuries and head fractures. I would say he could have been dragged by a car, perhaps, over some grass.”

Family members hired Memphis Attorney J.F. Estes to investigate the death. Estes requested of Governor Coleman a full scale investigation. However, the attorney could obtain neither an autopsy nor a coroners’ inquest. The death was written off as an automobile accident.

Aaron Henry was deeply suspicious of Mixon’s death. It was troubling, he observed, that Mixon was found completely nude, and that the family could not get a straight answer as to who transported Mixon to the hospital. There were two funeral companies in the area, one white and one black, neither of which was responsible for transporting Mixon’s body.

Legal Status

No charges were ever brought in the Mixon matter.