CasesA collection of cases for the LSU Cold Case Project
By Drew White Concordia Parish native Charles Montgomery has claimed to have stumbled on the corpse of Civil Rights Era homicide victim Joseph Edwards in the pigpen of his family’s property in Vidalia. Edwards, who disappeared July 12, 1964, is widely believed to be...
Keywords: McKeithen, Klan
In Bogalusa, once a Louisiana mill town ruled by white law enforcement and the Ku Klux Klan — often one in the same during the 1960s — a National Register of Historic Places marker now stands in front of a modest, aging gray house. There, in 1965, Robert “Bob” Hicks rallied African-Americans to take up the fight of integration and civil rights.
Editor’s Note: The following story is one of an occasional series based on investigative research by the unsolved civil rights murders project team at LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication. The information was obtained from FBI files through the Freedom of Information Act and through interviews with FBI agents and other investigators and sources.
Exactly one month after the fatal bombing of Wharlest Jackson on Feb. 27, 1967, Natchez resident Cleaveland Belton was charged with leaving the scene of an accident and booked in the Natchez Police Department Jail. It was there, Belton told FBI agents investigating Jackson’s murder, that he overheard a rowdy group of men listening to Yellow Cab driver Tom Smith regale them with the story of three sticks of
The FBI’s second investigation into the hate-crime death of Frank Morris, a black shoe store owner from Ferriday, La., who died of burns after two men firebombed his shoe repair shop nearly 50 years ago officially has been closed, the U.S. Department of Justice privately informed his granddaughter.
Five civil rights-era murder investigations in Louisiana and 10 in Mississippi are among the more than two dozen that will remain open and active, according to a U.S. Department of Justice report to Congress outlining progress of cases the FBI was authorized to investigate under the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act of 2007.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation had “hopeful leads” in the 49-year-old case of Oneal Moore, Washington Parish’s first black deputy sheriff, who was gunned down in his patrol car nearly a half century ago by racists, the LSU cold case civil rights murders project team has learned.
Special to the Sentinel The LSU Unsolved Civil Rights-Era Murders student project team recently gained access to some 10,000 pages of FBI investigative reports relating to the car-bombing murder of Wharlest Jackson in Natchez in 1967. The cache includes FBI reports from the Jackson, Miss., field office made available for the first time under a Freedom of Information Act request to the National Archives and Records Administration nearly two years ago.
When two Ku Klux Klan chapter leaders sought help in getting a fellow Klansman and murder suspect out of jail in 1966, the accused turned to Concordia Parish deputy Frank DeLaughter, a larger-than-life lawman known for his ruthlessness and KKK ties.
In the months following the brutal burning and eventual death of Ferriday’s Frank Morris, the Federal Bureau of Investigation desperately sought a motive for whoever killed the affable black business owner. While rumors swirled in the cauldron of racial angst that was Concordia Parish in the ’60s, one man always seemed to rise to the top of the furor: Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Deputy Frank DeLaughter.
The Unsolved Civil Rights-Era Murders student project team recently gained access to some 10,000 pages of FBI investigative reports from the Jackson, Miss., field office relating to the murder of Wharlest Jackson in Natchez in 1967.
In the months following the brutal, fatal burning of Ferriday’s Frank Morris, the Federal Bureau of Investigation desperately sought a motive for whoever killed the affable black business owner. While rumors swirled in the cauldron of racial angst that was Concordia Parish in the 1960s, one man rose to rise to the top of the furor: Concordia Parish sheriff’s deputy Frank DeLaughter.
Mississippi State Police and FBI authorities never officially identified the would-be murderer of George Metcalfe, president of the Natchez NAACP and an employee of the Armstrong Tire and Rubber Company, but newly discovered FBI records suggest the leader of a Ku Klux Klan group based in nearby Vidalia, La., was responsible for the Aug. 17, 1965, car bombing.
In 1964, Ku Klux Klan activist James Ford Seale beat two black teenagers in Franklin County, Miss., forced them into a car and later killed them by throwing them into a Louisiana offshoot of the Mississippi River. Their crime: One of the victims made his wife uncomfortable.
When Wharlest Jackson was murdered in the streets of Natchez, Miss., the victim of a car bomb placed by the Ku Klux Klan, the Federal Bureau of Investigation dived into the case full steam. From Feb. 27, 1967, the day Jackson never made it home from his job at the Armstrong Tire and Rubber Company, until the case went cold, the FBI spent a small fortune and deployed an army of agents to locate Jackson’s murderer.
Dedicated spouse, record keeper, mayor and civil rights advocate, Odeal Montgomery played many roles during her 89 years in this northeaster Louisiana community. Add schoolteacher, alderman and philanthropist to the resume and one comes closer to describing her life.
Keywords: FBI, 2, Carrie Brumfield, Franklinton, Washington Parish, O'Neal Moore, Vernado, Frank Morris, Ferriday, Joseph Edwards, William Piercefield, Concordia Parish, Louis Allen,...