Location Information
(for the Thompson's Tank)
Name:Thompson's Tank
City/County:Jackson, Hinds County
Mississippi Landmark Information
Designated:07-18-2015
Context/Comments
Thompson’s Tank is an International Harvester Loadstar 1600, outfitted with armor, metal bars, grating, searchlights and sirens. It was originally painted light-blue with white trim and equipped with mounted machine guns. In 1990, the tank was renovated, painted black with blue insignia and repaired for use as a Police S.W.A.T. vehicle. It is currently parked at the Jackson Police Department’s rifle range. Thompson’s Tank is significant because of its association with the civil rights movement in Jackson. In 1964, Mayor Allen Thompson approved its purchase in preparation for the arrival of the civil rights workers. It was intended to intimidate and threaten the activists. The tank was first used at Jackson State in February 1964. On that occasion, a tear gas canister exploded inside. In 1968, the truck was borrowed by Memphis police to transport James Earl Ray after he shot Martin Luther King Jr. It was also used at Jackson State during a riot in which two people were killed in May 1970.