In a scene reminiscent of the crimes dramatized in Mississippi Burning and other hate crimes from the 1960′s perpetrated against Blacks in the South, Marco McMillian, a mayoral candidate for Clarksdale, Mississippi was found dead near a Mississippi River levee. McMillian’s death is being investigated as a homicide, and one person has already been taken into custody.
One resident, Dennis Thomas, stated “There’s a lot of people upset about it. Why would somebody want to do something like that to somebody of that caliber? He was a highly respected person in town.”
McMillian’s campaign spokesman Jarod Keith noted that McMillian was likely the first openly gay man to have a viable shot at winning public office in the state despite being a Black, gay man and a Democrat. McMillian has a lot of connections to some prominent Democrats including President Barack Obama, former President Bill Clinton and Civil Rights icon Representative John Lewis of Georgia.
Coahoma County Coroner Scotty Meredith said that McMillian’s body was found near the levee between Sherard and Rena Lara and that his remains were sent to Jackson for autopsy. Meredith has declined to speculate as to cause of death.
Authorities had been looking for McMillian since a man crashed McMillian’s SUV into another vehicle on US Highway 49. McMillian was not in the vehicle at the time of the crash.
McMillian was focused on trying to combat the rampant poverty of the Mississippi Delta.
The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund and Institute tweeted “Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Marco McMillian, one of the 1st viable openly (hash)LGBT candidates in Mississippi.” His campaign said that words cannot describe “our grief at the loss of our dear friend. We remember Marco as a bold and passionate public servant, whose faith informed every aspect of his life.”