Wednesday, March 05, 2003

History is not dead

Jerry Mitchell keeps digging away at those old Civil Rights-era killings:

FBI files may hold clues to '64 case
The FBI has yet to share all the evidenc0e it gathered in the 1964 killings of three civil rights workers — evidence that experts say Mississippi authorities should seek.

The FBI turned over 40,000 pages of case files to the state in late 1999, but authorities confirmed to The Clarion-Ledger that those documents do not include informant files, internal memos or information on any wiretaps.

Experts say those files, which are maintained separately from the case files, could contain critical information to aid prosecution of the June 21, 1964, killings of Andrew Goodman, James Chaney and Michael Schwerner — just as it has in similar prosecutions.

Widow 'shocked' FBI files withheld: Bender thought all info released in '64 slayings case
The Clarion-Ledger reported Sunday that Mississippi authorities never received FBI informant files — files that have proved critical in several recent reprosecutions of civil rights-era cases, including the 1963 Birmingham church bombing that killed four girls.

Longtime civil rights activist and Pass Christian native Lawrence Guyot, who waved goodbye to the trio as they headed for Mississippi in the summer of 1964, said the FBI should get involved in investigating, just as it did when it sent hundreds of agents to Mississippi to investigate the June 21, 1964, disappearances of Schwerner, Goodman and Chaney. Forty-four days later, agents found the three men's bodies buried beneath an earthen dam.

"I can think of no rational reason why the FBI should not use its legally acquired information to pursue justice in the three political assassinations that have national and international repercussions," Guyot said. "This was an incident heard 'round the world."

For those who either haven't read their history books, or at least watched Mississippi Burning, here's a quick refresher on the Schwermer-Chaney-Goodman murders.

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