02/27/2007

Justice Department to Re-Examine Unsolved Murders from the Civil Rights Era

The U.S. Justice Department today announced it is re-examining many of the unsolved murders from the civil rights era. The Center recently provided the FBI with information about the deaths of dozens of people who may have been victims of racially motivated killings.

Center President Richard Cohen appeared at a news conference in Washington, D.C., to discuss the initiative. Here is a partial text of his remarks:

"In 1989, the Law Center built the Civil Rights Memorial. It honors 40 people who were killed during the modern civil rights era by those determined to stand in the way of our country living up to its core ideals of freedom and equality.

"At the time that we built the Memorial, many of the killers of the civil rights martyrs had not been brought to justice. For this reason, the Memorial was a reminder, not just of the sacrifices of the civil rights era, but of its injustices.

"Fortunately, the dedication of the Memorial sparked renewed interest in the civil rights era cases. And since the dedication, six persons have been convicted for their roles in killings chronicled on the Memorial.

"The FBI and the Justice Department have played key roles in these successful prosecutions, and for this, we thank them. But the truth is that more remains to be done.

"There are murder cases from the civil rights era that still cry out for justice, cases that cry out for further investigation. Now, with today's announcement, there is renewed hope that these cries will be answered.

"Dr. King was fond of saying that, though the moral arc of the universe may be long, it bends toward justice. Today, thanks to this new initiative, our country is proving once again that Dr. King was a prophet."