1964 Race Case

Posted on January 25, 2007. Filed under: racism |

AP reports (via Yahoo News) that James Ford Seale was arrested in the 1964 kills of two black men who were beaten and dumped alive into the Mississippi River.

The 71-year-old reputed Klu Klux Klansman and former sherrif’s deputy from the town of Roxie, was charged with kidnapping hitchhikers Charles Eddie Moore and Henry Hezekiah Dee, both 19.

Excerpts:

The arrest marked the latest attempt by prosecutors in the South to close the books on crimes from the civil rights era that went unpunished.

….

In 2000, the Justice Department’s civil rights unit reopened the case.

For years, Seale’s family had told reporters that he had died. But in 2005, Thomas Moore and a Canadian documentary filmmaker, David Ridgen, found Seale, old and sick, living just a few miles down the road from where the kidnapping took places.

….

An informant told the FBI that Seale’s brother and another Klansman took the unconscious blacks to the river, lashed their bodies to a Jeep engine block and some old railroad tracks, and dumped them over the side of a boat. The other Klansmen and the informant have since died.

….

The U.S. Justice Department reopened the case after The Clarion-Ledger of Jackson uncovered documents indicating that the beatings had occurred in the Homochitto National Forest, giving the FBI jurisdiction. But the case languished until Seale was located.

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