Murders Around Mississippi
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Tuesday, May 29, 2007
AS FREEDOM VOLUNTEERS packed up and left Mississippi in 1964, brutality and murder kept going on. Some stories made it into the news and into later history books, but in smaller Delta towns several hundred miles north of Jackson, many incidents remain only as whispers among those who once picked the cotton ...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Bloggers Set to Revisit Mississippi Delta Civil Rights People and Places
Mount. Pleasant, Iowa (USA), May 29, 2007--Two friends from Cleveland, Mississippi and Mount Pleasant, Iowa, are spending ten days roaming and blogging the Mississippi Delta while visiting civil rights people and places. Their pictures and stories will be placed daily at http://mississippimurders.com on the Internet. (Photo at left, courthouse in Belzoni, home of the Rev. George Lee who was murdered in 1955.)
Margaret Block, an early civil rights advocate, and Susan Klopfer, author of Where Rebels Roost; Mississippi Civil Rights Revisited, plan to roam the Mississippi Delta starting June 1, visiting people and places of the modern civil rights movement. “We'll be traveling in and out of the Delta for ten days as we photograph important spots and talk about the region's history,” Klopfer said.
“We plan to visit the towns of Money, Drew, Glendora, Greenwood and other spots connected to the murders of Emmett Till, Birdia Keglar, Adlena Hamlett and Cleve McDowell, among others who were killed for their civil rights activities or just for being black.”
Block, an early SNCC volunteer, spent her first years out of high school in the small town of Charleston where they will kick off their blogging venture by attending a program June 1 honoring Keglar. The NAACP leader was murdered by the Ku Klux Klan in 1966 on her way home from a Jackson meeting with Sen. Robert Kennedy. Keglar once saved Block’s life by moving her out of Charleston in a hearse from the funeral home that Keglar managed.
“We have very few scheduled stops, but we will also leave the Delta to attend the funeral of Mrs. Chaney, James Chaney's mother in Meridian,” Block said. The two also plan to visit with Unita Blackwell, Mississippi’s first black woman mayor, and will take pictures as they roam the historical Brooks Farm, Parchman penitentiary, and Clarksdale, home of Aaron Henry, an early civil rights leader who Block also knew.
The two women met when Klopfer was researching a book on the civil rights movement, “Where Rebels Roost; Mississippi Civil Rights Revisited.” Klopfer was living on the grounds of Parchman at the time, where her husband was the chief psychologist.
775-340-3585 (cell) firstname.lastname@example.org
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Labels: Adlena Hamlett, Birdia Keglar, Cleve McDowell, Fannie Lou Hamer, James Chaney, June Johnson, Mississippi, Mississippi Delta
Monday, May 28, 2007
Blog Across Mississippi Civil Rights History Tour
On June 30, I'm leaving for the Mississippi Delta to visit Margaret Block, Unita Blackwell and others involved in the modern civil rights movement. We'll be traveling in and out of the Delta for 10 days as we photograph important spots and talk about the region's history. You are invited to "travel" along on this blog. We have very few scheduled stops, but here are the first two:
June 1 - Charleston, Miss.
Margaret Block and I will attend the program honoring Birdia Keglar, civil rights advocate, who was killed in 1966.
June 2 - Meridian, Miss.
We will attend the funeral of Mrs. Chaney, James Chaney's mother.
Other points we'll be visiting:
Rolling Fork, Drew, Ruleville, the Brooks Farm, Parchman, Clarksdale, Glendora, Holly Springs, Cleveland ...
Labels: Aaron Henry, civil rights, cold cases, Emmett Till, Medgar Evers, Mississippi Delta
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
WJTV of Jackson reports
The mother of a slain civil rights worker is returning home to be buried. A fear of the Klan kept her away from Mississippi for decades. Fannie Chaney died Tuesday night at her home in New Jersey. News Channel 12 has learned her body will be brought back to Mississippi within the next few days. We don't have specific details yet for her funeral, but we do know she'll be buried outside of Meridian. She'll be laid to rest next to her son who was killed in 1964 along with two other civil rights workers. Threats on her own life forced her to leave Mississippi shortly after her son's death.Continued
Monday, May 14, 2007
From the Lancaster UAF
This is a Mississippi story. On January 11 1966, a gold-toned Plymouth Fury carrying a group of voting-rights activists crashed on a stretch of road near the small town of Sidon in the west of the state. Two African-American women, Birdia Keglar and Adlena Hamlett, were killed on that day. That much is certain. But in their deaths is buried a painful question that has gnawed at three generations of their families. Was this an ordinary car wreck, or were the two women, who had previously been threatened, shot at and burned in effigy because of their efforts to register black voters, targetted on that road? Engineered car crashes were a known tactic by the Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi in the 1950s and 60s. Violent crimes against African-Americans were rarely investigated or punished. And even if the women were murdered by white supremacists, was it better, as some members of Keglar's own family believed, to leave such suspicions left unspoken?More ..
Now, 41 years after that crash, Keglar's cousin, Gwen Dailey, is campaigning for the FBI to open an investigation into her death. Despite the passage of time, the lack of recorded evidence, and the death of what few witnesses there may have been to that accident long ago, it is not an entirely unreasonable hope.
Labels: 1965 voting rights act, Adlena Hamlett, Birdia Keglar, civil rights, JFK, lynch, Medgar Evers, Mississippi Delta, Mississippi murders, Robert Kennedy, voting rights
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
MARION, Ala. - A 73-year-old retired state trooper was indicted Wednesday in the 1965 shooting death of a black man — a killing that set in motion the historic civil rights protests in Selma and led to passage of the Voting Rights Act. Continued
District Attorney Michael Jackson said a grand jury returned an indictment in the case. He would not identify the person charged or specify the offense until the indictment is served, which could take a few days. But a lawyer for former Trooper James Bonard Fowler said he had been informed that the retired lawman had been charged.
It took the grand jury only two hours to return the indictment in the slaying of 26-year-old Jimmie Lee Jackson, who was shot by Fowler during a civil rights protest that turned into a club-swinging melee.
The case was little-known as a civil rights-era cold case but had major historical consequences.
Labels: civil rights, cold cases, Jimmy Lee Jackson, Mississippi, Selma, voting rights
Friday, May 04, 2007
Judge refuses to dismiss Miss. civil rights-era kidnapping case against reputed KlansmanContinued
HOLBROOK MOHR Associated Press Writer
Wednesday May 2nd, 2007
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - A federal judge on Wednesday refused to dismiss the case against a reputed Ku Klux Klansman charged with kidnapping in the brutal 1964 slayings of two black Mississippi teenagers.
The ruling in the case of James Ford Seale came exactly 43 years after the killings of Charles Eddie Moore and Henry Hezekiah Dee. The teens were seized near the southwest Mississippi town of Roxie and beaten before they were weighted down and thrown into the Mississippi River to drown.
Defense lawyers had argued Wednesday that the case is far too old for Seale to get a fair trial.
Federal public defender Kathy Nester called to the stand an investigator who testified that 36 potential witnesses are dead or unavailable.
"Every time we tried to follow these roads, we stopped at a grave site," Nester said.
Labels: Charles Eddie Moore, civil rights movement, cold cases, Henry Hezekiah Dee, Homochitto National Forest, James Ford Seale, KKK, Ku Klux Klan, Mississippi
Thursday, May 03, 2007
From CBC News
Documents obtained by CBC News show that the Mississippi governor at the time of the 1964 race killings of two African-American teenagers censored a news release related to the case and kept photos of their remains from the media at the height of the civil rights movement.Continued ..
Paul B. Johnson Jr., who died last year, became governor of Mississippi in January 1964. The Democratic politician was known for his support of segregation, and had personally blocked the way of James Meredith, the first black student to register at the University of Mississippi, as Meredith tried to make his way on campus.
FBI documents show that Johnson personally influenced aspects of the Charles Moore and Henry Dee case.
HOWEVER, it was Gov. Ross Barnett who blocked Meredith
in his attempt to enter Ole Miss, not Gov. Johnson as CBC reports.
Meanwhile, Sovereignty Commission records are few with respect to Mr. Moore and Mr. Dee. Here are severalCharges dropped against two men accused of "Torso Slayings"Klansman Seale questioned about murder of Moore and DeePhotos of Klansmen, including Seale
What's interesting, is all of the investigation records that appear to be missing. Where are they? Could they still be in individual homes? Are they included among Sen. James Eastland's files housed at Ole Miss???
Labels: Charles Moore, civil rights, cold cases, FBI, Henry Dee, Mississippi, Paul Johnson, Ross Barnett
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
JACKSON, Mississippi (AP) -- In life, FBI informant Earnest Gilbert so feared his fellow Ku Klux Klansmen that he never had the courage to testify about the 1964 killings of two black teenagers. In death, his voice is finally being heard in a courtroom.
Prosecutors in a revived civil rights-era case are trying to persuade a federal judge to allow a television interview that Gilbert, who died in 2004, gave in 2000 to be used as evidence in the trial of reputed Klansman James Ford Seale.
Defense attorneys on Tuesday played clips of the ABC "20/20" interview about the slayings of Charles Eddie Moore and Henry Hezekiah Dee, both 19.
On May 2, 1964 -- exactly 43 years ago today -- the teens were abducted in the southwest Mississippi town of Roxie and beaten in the Homochitto National Forest before being weighted down and thrown into the Mississippi River to drown.Continue
Labels: Charles Eddie Moore, civil rights movement, cold cases, Henry Hezekiah Dee, Homochitto National Forest, James Ford Seale, Ku Klux Klan, Mississippi, murder
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