Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Sovereignty Records Could Help Solve Cold Cases

Widows of two civil-rights activists slain in the 1960s in 2006 appealed to Congress yesterday to help bring justice in scores of cold murder cases from that era.

To do so, Myrlie Evers-Williams said, would aid surviving families and tell the nation "that these people's lives were not in vain." She testified on the 44th anniversary of the assassination in Mississippi of her husband, Medgar Evers.

Further prosecutions could help the nation understand its history better in order to heal deep wounds and achieve reconciliation, added Rita Schwerner Bender. Her husband, Michael Schwerner, was killed in Mississippi in 1964.

A House subcommittee unanimously approved a bill to authorize spending $13.5 million a year over 10 years for reopening the cases that have gone cold. Of that, $11.5 million would go to the Justice Department and the remainder to help state and local authorities.
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Don't hold your breath, it never happened.

Yet, Mississippi Sovereignty Commission records were used to convict several people for the murders of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, as well as Medgar Evers (just not everyone involved).

All of these cases, and many others of murder and terrorism against civil rights activists (and people in the wrong place at the wrong time) have files in the Sovereignty Commission. Here are a few links to help you get started in a journey to learn more about Mississippis cold, warm, warmer and hot civil rights cases--

Sov. Comm. funds "book" on Medgar Evers

Early reports by Medgar Evers of young men killed in Corinth and Philadelphia

Medgar Evers constantly "tracked" by the Commission ... for "exploiting" Delta blacks in this file

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