Marco McMillan is described as a rising star in Clarksdale, Mississippi politics. Unfortunately for him, his family, and the individuals who supported his candidacy as mayor of Clarksdale, McMillan is dead. The black openly gay mayoral candidate’s body was found battered and bruised. I spoke to a friend with ties to Clarksdale a few days ago after the body was discovered. This friend of mine had the opportunity to meet McMillan two years ago and described him to be a very intelligent and sharp young man. Quite naturally, with him being openly gay and black, given Mississippi’s history, we both speculated that this may have been yet another notch in the belt of Mississippi’s racist culture. Having seen unreleased autopsy photos, my friend even said McMillan’s body resembled Emmett Till’s face. Thankfully, however, an arrest has been made.

ATLANTA — A 22-year-old man was charged with murder Thursday in the death of a candidate for mayor in the Mississippi Delta.

The Coahoma County Sheriff’s Department in Mississippi said in a statement that Lawrence Reed of Clarksdale, Miss., was under investigation in the death of the candidate, Marco McMillian, 34. Medical experts on Thursday performed an autopsy on Mr. McMillian, whose body was found beside a levee on Wednesday near Clarksdale, where he was running for office.

The police began looking for Mr. McMillian after his car was involved in a head-on collision on Tuesday on Highway 49.

Officials from the Sheriff’s Department released few details about Mr. McMillian’s death. The levee where he was found protects Clarksdale from the Mississippi River floodwaters and was miles from the traffic accident involving his sport utility vehicle.

Mr. McMillian, 34, was black and gay, but the police said they had no reason to suspect that his death was a hate crime.

The victim’s family was left to reach their own conclusions.

“I believe it was political,” said one family member, who requested that his name not be used because he was asked by the police not to speak to the news media. “Maybe some people didn’t want him to run. Maybe he was a threat. They wanted Clarksdale to stay the same.” The relative declined to elaborate.

It’s good to see that I was not alone with my suspicions, however….

Officials said that Mr. Reed was in Mr. McMillian’s car at the time of the accident, near the Tallahatchie County line, but that they did not know if he was driving. Mr. Reed was airlifted to a hospital after the crash, and the driver of the other car was treated and released, the authorities said.

The family member said that Mr. McMillan had always been politically conscious. “He was a smart, intelligent young man,” the relative said. “He was running for mayor because he wanted to move Clarksdale forward.”

Marco McMillan pictured with Barack Obama (left) and Bill Clinton (right).
Marco McMillan pictured with Barack Obama (left) and Bill Clinton (right).

[…] Mr. McMillian, a 1997 graduate of Clarksdale High School, had returned to Clarksdale within the past several months after working in Memphis, Washington and elsewhere. He decided to run for mayor despite never having held elected office, said Jarod Keith, the campaign’s spokesman.

“He really felt a call to come back to Clarksdale,” Mr. Keith said. “He was looking to be the leader who could effect some change. The campaign was gaining momentum.”

Thursday, Mr. Keith said, had been the scheduled date of the campaign’s first major fund-raiser. The final conversation the two men had, on Monday, had been about organizing a direct-mail effort, Mr. Keith said. “The ball was definitely rolling, and now is suddenly interrupted,” he said. (source)

After watching the following local news report, I’m even more confused. Why? Because according to the Clarion Ledger, McMillan was already declared missing well before they made contact with Lawrence Reed. So, was there an intimate sexual relationship between the two? McMillan was a CEO for MWM & Associates, a consulting firm for nonprofit organizations. He was also part of the black Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity.