Racism still lives

July 27, 2007

From CNN, this lynching reenactment in Georgia helps to bring attention to these horrible acts where still today racism prevents investigators from determining the truth.

MONROE, Georgia (CNN) — The police were only about 50 yards down the road when the gun-wielding white mob stopped the car and dragged the two black men out, shoving them face first into the dirt.

The two women were next to be yanked from the burgundy Buick into the thick, sultry air of a Southern summer, one of them thrashing and flailing as she screamed and pleaded with the mob to spare her and her unborn child.

The lynch mob dragged the sharecroppers through the pine trees down a wagon trail to the Apalachee River and, on their leader’s command, unleashed three torrents of gunfire.

As the four hit the ground, a man stepped from the woods and shot two streams of ketchup onto the victims for effect…

[snip]

The case caused such a stir that President Harry Truman sent the FBI to Monroe, about 40 miles east of Atlanta. But witnesses and suspects stonewalled investigators, who were left to surmise that their efforts to solve the case might not trump a countywide effort to obfuscate it.

As Georgia State Patrol Maj. William Spence told media outlets at the time, “The best people in town won’t talk.”

It’s a refrain that echoes throughout the South — towns too scared or complicit to come clean on what they know about their racist and often violent pasts.

But the FBI holds out hope for its cold-case initiative, as Attorney General Alberto Gonzales noted in February: “Sometimes an innocuous, small bit of information can be crucial to breaking these decades-old cases. A secret harbored for many years can be the piece of evidence we need to make our case.”

About 100 cases have been identified as potentially viable, an FBI source told CNN.

There have been no public progress reports since the cold-case initiative was announced last year, but agents have been assigned.

Read the full story here.

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