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Prominent White Supremacist Found Murdered in His Home

JACKSON, Miss. - Prominent white supremacist and attorney Richard Barrett was found dead Thursday in his Pearl, Miss., home, apparently the victim of a homicide, authorities said

Barrett's body was found after a fire in his home.

Rankin County Sheriff Ronnie Pennington would not give the location of the wounds on Barrett's body, pending an autopsy.

The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation has been called in to assist in the investigation. Law enforcement agencies occasionally call in the MBI when the cause of death is in question, spokesman Jon Kalahar said.

Barrett, 67, gained national prominence in the mid-1960s.

After serving in the Vietnam War, he returned his bachelor's degree to Rutgers University to protest statements sympathetic to the Viet Cong made by a Rutgers professor.

Barrett campaigned throughout the country against communism and civil rights laws. In 1968, he served on the 1968 presidential campaign staff of Alabama Gov. George Wallace.

Between 1967 and 1969, Barrett was under FBI surveillance because of his racial rhetoric.

Barrett, a native of New York City, was wounded twice in Vietnam.

He received his law degree from Memphis State University. He was a member of the National Rifle Association, Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Bar Association and Who's Who in the South.

Barrett was also an author. "The Commission," a book trumpeting his viewpoints, was published in 1982 by Barrett&Co. Publisher. In the book he tells how and why he decided to protest integration in 1954.

"Nausea hit me in the pit of my stomach. Fear of my country overshadowed me," he said, remembering his thoughts after he heard about the U.S. Supreme Court's decision on Brown vs. the Board of Education, which ended school segregation.

"Nature not men decreed that Negroes were different," he wrote in his book. "Those who mingled with colored were as much an aberration as the unwanted bluebird in the redbird's nest and every bit as disruptive of natural and societal disorder."

Barrett ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 1974 and again in 1984. He was an unsuccessful candidate for the Mississippi Supreme Court in 1986.

During that same year, Barrett also challenged the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

In January 1989, Barrett staged a protest against the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, participating in a march in Atlanta on King's birthday.

In the past, Barrett urged that literacy testing be linked to voting.

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