Black-owned newspaper firebombed
February 1998

A black-owned weekly newspaper in Jackson, Mississippi, that is known for its investigations and battles with local officials, was firebombed January 26 in an attack the publisher said reminded him of civil-rights era harassment.

Charles Tisdale said his office has been vandalized or bombed more than 20 times since he took over the 58-year-old Jackson Advocate in the late 1970s. He said an anonymous caller on January 23 threatened to kill him. The bombing left the newsroom a charred shell. Flames melted computers and destroyed cameras, books and art. The damage, mostly limited to the first floor, was estimated at $100,000.

Fire investigator Vernon Hughes said finding a suspect may be difficult because of the wide array of possible motives. Stories in the Advocate have criticized a number of public officials, including Jackson's new mayor, Harvey Johnson, and City Councilman Louis Armstrong.

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