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Thu, 01.05.1899

Ben Chester White, Sharcropper born

Ben Chester White

*Ben Chester White was born on this date in 1899. He was a Black minister and sharecropper.

From Mississippi, White was a caretaker to the Carter family farm on Liberty Road in Natchez, Mississippi, as well as a deacon in the local Baptist church. He would perform tasks around the farm and, with a limited ability to read, would still quote vast passages from the bible. He was the father of Jesse White and Louis White.

On June 10, 1966, after buying White a soda, James L. Jones, Claude Fuller, and Ernest Avants of the KKK took him into the Homochitto National Forest. Ostensibly to help them find a lost dog, he was shot eighteen times and dumped into Pretty Creek; the murderers burned the car in a planter's driveway across the county. Jones would be the one to soon after confessing to the crime.

Fuller and Jones were indicted but never tried, and Avants was acquitted, retried, and imprisoned later. 1968, his son Jesse White sued the KKK for his father's death and was awarded $1 million by the court. This was the first time the organization was legally held responsible for one of its members. The $1 million was never received. Ben Chester White is buried in Southwood Lodge Church Cemetery, Natchez, Mississippi.

In 1989, he was featured in the Civil Rights Memorial. In 2013, footage about White was shown in an episode of the documentary Civil Rights Movement Road Trip.

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