Fans Want Johnny Cash Pardoned

On May 11, 1965, Johnny Cash was arrested in Starkville, Miss., while drunkenly picking flowers—and now fans want him pardoned.

More than 500 people have signed a petition created by Robbie Ward, executive director of November’s planned Johnny Cash Flower Pickin’ Festival. The Mississippi State University research writer is slated to speak to the city’s board of aldermen Aug. 7 about securing a pardon for the late legend, on grounds that the 1965 incident—and “Starkville City Jail,” the song Johnny wrote about it—has brought notoriety to the town and taught a civic lesson about the value of redemption. Organizers hope the ceremonial pardon will be presented during the Johnny Cash Flower Pickin’ Festival, set for Nov. 2–4 in Starkville. Go to for more information.


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