A Loud Voice Silenced | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

A Loud Voice Silenced

Jackson Advocate owner and publisher Charles Tisdale died July 7* after complications with diabetes. Tisdale, 80, fell into a coma during a routine dialysis at the G.V. "Sonny" Montgomery Veterans Affairs Medical Center and was on life support until family members removed him.

Tisdale took over the Jackson Advocate in the 1970s, and became a vociferous public figure, loyal to friends, including Mayor Frank Melton, but well capable of engaging in shouting matches. Tisdale appeared on WMPR every Friday, liberally hurling out "Uncle Tom" labels to blacks that he felt acted against the stability or empowerment of the African American community—and he inducted them into the "Brown Society" in his newspaper if he thought they worked too closely with white people.

In an e-mail to his Psychedelic Literature list this week, Jackson State professor C. Liegh McInnis—the son of Claude McInnis—fondly eulogized Tisdale and the controversy that surrounded him: "For the entire time my father was in the Brown Society, Tisdale continued to publish various articles by me as well as have lunch from time to time with my father."

Tisdale's newspaper office, formerly near Amite Street, was firebombed more than once. Jackson resident Clinton Moses admitted to firebombing the business in 1998, and claimed that former councilman Louis Armstrong arranged the attack, though authorities never charged Armstrong in that case. After the 1998 fire, Tisdale moved his offices further north along Mill Street where they sit to this day.

Correction appended: Adam Lynch originally reported that Mr. Tisdale died July 1 instead of July 7. He apologizes for the error.

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