Jimmie Lee Jackson's Killer Behind Bars 45 Years Later

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By Morgan Hightower

The 1965 death of Jimmie Lee Jackson is one of many that serves as a constant reminder of the true injustice Americans faced as a result of racism and intolerance.

"I remember the walking, a group of us, carrying his body, to the cemetery, right outside of Marion to be buried, and we walked through the rain," recalls Congressman John Lewis.

Four decades later Jackson’s killer is behind bars and his death isn't a cold case, but rather the symbol of a martyr’s sacrifice.

"I think history will remember Jimmie lee Jackson, not by the verdict in the criminal case by the person who killed him, but by the reaction of the people, all over the country to his death,” said Richard Cohen, President of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

And for people like Congressman John Lewis, who worked alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to extend and ensure equality, it was a time that helped galvanize their movement.

"More than anything else, the shooting of Jimmie Lee Jackson, provoked the march of Selma to Montgomery," said Lewis.

And it was that march that subsequently lead to the passage of the Voter's Rights Act of 1965.

“That era of our country's history will always be remember as a great injustice, rather than great justice, but it was also of course an era of great accomplishment,” said Cohen.

A time line in history forever marked with Jimmie Lee Jackson’s name.

James Fowler, a former Alabama State Trooper, plead guilty to second-degree manslaughter and was sentenced to six months in the Geneva County jail Monday.

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