LSU Cold Case ProjectA Manship School of Mass Communication effort to bring closure to unsolved Civil Rights-era, Klan-related homicides of in Louisiana and southern Mississippi
Since 2010, some three dozen Manship School undergraduate and graduate students have focused on a dozen unsolved reginal hate murders from the 1960s that were part of an FBI Cold Case Initiative to re-examine 112 cases from the Civil Rights-era in which mostly African Americans died or disappeared through violent Ku Klux Klan activity. Teams of students have obtained, under the Freedom of Information Act, heretofore confidential FBI investigative reports from field agents gathered at the time which are in possession of the FBI or stored at the National Archives.
Among the victims of this lawless time was Wharlest Jackson of Natchez, Mississippi, who died when the KKK, angry that he had been given a supervisory position at the Armstrong Tire Factory, planted a bomb in his pickup (see photo at left) which was set to explode when he activated his left turn signal.
Nearly 152,000 searchable pages of information from those reports are presented here. More are added every six months. In addition, stories written by the student teams, lists of cases, photos and links to other projects are included.
A letter, sent by members of the Ferriday, La., African American community, beseeches FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover to help them shortly after the murder of businessman Frank Morris, who is shown in front of his store in the photo on this site’s home page. A KKK reign of terror engulfed the Ferriday-Natchez region during the mid-1960s. This letter was buried in FBI investigative reports and discovered by the LSU Manship School of Mass Communication Cold Case Project team in 2012.
In 2007, Congress enacted the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act which directed the U.S. Department of Justice to reopen investigations into more than 100 Civil Rights-related cold case homicides from the 1950s and 1960s. This act, reprinted below, was the genesis of the LSU Cold Case Project.
One Hundred Tenth Congress of the United States of America
At the Second Session
Begun and held at the City of Washington on Thursday, the third day of January, two thousand and eight
H. R. 923
To provide for the investigation of certain unsolved civil rights crimes, and for other purposes.
Section 1. Short title
This Act may be cited as the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act of 2007.
It is the sense of Congress that all authorities with jurisdiction, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other entities within the Department of Justice, should—
In this Act, the term criminal civil rights statutes means—
Sections 2 through 6 of this Act shall cease to have effect at the end of fiscal year 2017.
Title XXXVII of the Crime Control Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 5779 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following: