Robert McNair

Background

Robert McNair, a father of six children, lived in Rankin County. On November 6, 1965, McNair was shot and killed by Constable Luther Stevenson in Pelahatchie in Rankin County. Constable Stevenson claimed he was serving McNair with a justice of the peace warrant when McNair lunged at him with an open pocketknife. Constable Stevenson claimed that he fired the fatal shots in self-defense. What was not known at the time of the shooting was that Luther Stevenson was an informant for the Mississippi Sovereignty Commission.

In late 1965, the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) in Rankin County was actively seeking to get black representatives elected to the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service (ASCS). Restrictive registration requirements and intense harassment kept blacks from voting in these elections election.

Lawrence Guyot, MFDP Chairman asked the Department of Justice to investigate the McNair shooting, and although the FBI appears to have initiated a review of the incident, no investigative results ever came to public light. Observers remarked that many community residents appeared to take the McNair killing as a warning against participation in the ASCS process.

Legal Status

There do not appear to have been any arrests in connection with this shooting death.