Look Around: Civil Rights Collection - WLBT.com - Jackson, MS

Look Around: Civil Rights Collection

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT

Lots of people collect lots of things as a hobby and Walt Grayson has just such a person to tell us about.

There is usually more to the story than just the collection. And that's the case this time, too.

Clinton Alexander has quite an extensive collection of civil rights memorabilia. And as interesting as the collection is, why he started it and what's to become of it now, are maybe even more important elements of his story.

In the carport of Alexander's house in north Jackson is where he has set out just a taste of his collection of civil rights related items so we could see it. 

There are stacks and stacks of newspapers with historic headlines and articles. A library of books, biographies, autobiographies, accounts of incidents, extensive collections about individuals.

"I'm a great collector of Medgar Evers," he tells us.

There are photographs and autographs and pamphlets and leaflets of a quantity and quality that only a compulsive collector could accumulate in a lifetime. 

And Clinton is just that type collector. 

Not merely to compile a civil rights anthology, but as a diversion from the hurt over an incident in his family that he doesn't like to talk about, what he suspects was the murder of his mother by a family member, and then a cover-up of the facts financed by an influential planter to keep the guilty party out of jail so he could continue to drive a tractor.

"And it makes me push harder," he says. "Especially when I find things that happened to different peoples that kind of put it in the segment of what happened to my mother."

Push to the point that his collection has overtaken his house and his storage rooms and his attic. And Clinton has come to the point many of us who are hoarders to one extent or another face at some time or another: 'what do you DO with all of this stuff?'

 Especially when faced with what Clinton is faced with - the possibility of moving to another town. 

Well, very frankly he'd like to sell a lot of it. And donate some of it. But make sure ALL of it is preserved and just doesn't wind up in the trash pile someday.

He says, "I would like somebody to have it to show kids, older adults or younger adults about their history. They hadn't got to be black. White, it can be any color."

To Clinton, this isn't merely a collection of civil rights material, which it is. 

But in addition, this represents years of therapy, of dealing with the questionable circumstances of his mothers death, by collecting stories of people who fought injustice as he continues to search for justice for her.

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