Murders Around Mississippi

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Thursday, September 29, 2005


Delta Crime Could Be Investigated ... If ...

An old Mississippi Delta crime is now drawing some attention ...


New office would open cold cases from civil rights era
Scripps Howard News Service
September 29, 2005

WASHINGTON - In the Mississippi Delta during the tumultuous 1960s, voting rights advocate Birdia Keglar never made it home after meeting with then-Sen. Robert F. Kennedy.

Highway patrolmen said Keglar, a businesswoman and the first black person in her county to vote since Reconstruction, and her friend Adena Hamlett, an elderly former teacher, died in a car accident.

But when the bodies of the two black women were found they bore the signs of intentional mutilation and murder. The fact that both had been warned by the Ku Klux Klan to stop pushing for voting rights added to the suspicion they had been killed.

Nearly 40 years after their deaths on Jan. 11, 1966, the case has remained unsolved, and essentially uninvestigated until the publication this year of "Where Rebels Roost, Mississippi Civil Rights Revisited" by author Susan Klopfer, who also probed other still-open violent crimes from that era.

Now, a bipartisan push has begun in Congress to create a new Department of Justice office that would be dedicated solely to investigating such very cold civil rights cases.


This story continues ...

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