There's been lots of talk about whether or not Booker was murdered because of his appearance in Frank's film, Mississippi: A Self-Portrait. This is one of the ideas that's explored in Booker's Place: A Mississippi Story. To be clear, seven years passed between Booker's 1966 news appearance and his murder in 1973. That's a long time for someone to wait for revenge.
Nevertheless, there are a whole host of strange details about the murder, and some Greenwood residents still believe today that Lloyd "Blackie" Cork was hired to kill my grandfather. Who hired him? I don't know. One lifelong Greenwood resident told me that a white cop hired Blackie to commit the murder. Interestingly, people who witnessed the murder are really uncomfortable talking about it. Even though Booker's Place had lots of customers that night and McLaurin Street was hopping with activity, only one person testified to actually seeing Blackie fire a gun. She's alive and she's avoiding me. The cop who pistol-whipped Booker Wright still lives just a short 45 minute drive from Greenwood.
If I could drop this, I would. I don't want to create a story where there isn't one, but I also don't want to be naive and believe a tale that's full of holes. I have an indescribable, difficult to explain passion for my grandfather. My love for him is fierce. I am tormented by his murder, by the loss of a man who surely would've embraced me had he been given the chance. I'm trying to think of the word to describe my feelings. It's more than duty, it's more than feeling tasked, it's more than being compelled. I know that I may never get to the bottom of his murder. Or maybe I already have. Maybe the odd, yet simple story is the truth. What I know for certain, is that I won't have peace until I've done all that I can get to the truth.
I'm hoping to sit down with Cork where he lives in a Mississippi State prison in late September to ask finally, face-to-face, exactly what happened that night. I hope to God that he tells me the truth.