Montgomery County Jail

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On June 9, 1963, Fannie Lou Hamer was arrested at Staley’s Café in Winona, Mississippi.  She and five of her arrested colleagues were returning via Trailways Bus from a voter education workshop near Charleston, South Carolina.  The Montgomery County Jail used to occupy this piece of land and all six were brought here—to be held, tortured, and perhaps even murdered.  Hamer’s beating was particularly severe as State Highway Patrolman John Lutellas Basinger tracked down her name (and thus activism) in Sunflower County.  Hamer’s beating was so severe that she would not allow her immediate family to see her for several weeks. She later traveled to Washington, DC where she allowed the FBI to photograph her bruised and battered body and later be used as evidence during a federal trial.  Hamer suffered permanent injury from the beating, inflicted on her by two black trustees forced by the law enforcement officials to participate in their crimes.