Benjamin Brown was a twenty-one-year-old truck driver and civil rights activist living in Jackson, Mississippi. Brown was shot in the back, on the evening of May 11, 1967, by local police officers during a student protest near Jackson State College. Brown, a reported by-stander in the protest, Brown died on May 12, the day of his 22nd birthday. Brown’s death prompted criticism from civil rights leaders and set off a series of protests and demonstrations in the Jackson area. He was active during the freedom rides, participated in voter registration drives, and worked with the Delta Ministry “Freedom Corps” until late 1966. By 1967, Brown had married Margaret Brown, a fellow civil rights worker, and begun working as a truck driver in Jackson. Brown was well known to local authorities for his civil rights activism, having been arrested seven times in Jackson for his participation in various protests and demonstrations. Based on the grand jury report and evidence that became available as a result of fresh investigations, Ollie Mae Brown and Margaret Brown sued the Mississippi Department of Public Safety and the City of Jackson for wrongful death. Plaintiffs alleged that Jones and Kane directed their weapons at certain targets, including Brown. The case was eventually settled for an undisclosed amount in 2002.
Sharing a moment in history: REMEMBERING BENJAMIN BROWN (May 12, 1945 – May 12, 1967)