Collaborators in cold case investigations
posted Wednesday, January 12th, 2011 @ 6:45 am
Video excerpts of Concordia Sentinel interviews during its investigations into three Civil Rights-era cold cases in this region, including the Frank Morris case, can be found on The Civil Rights Cold Case Project website: www.coldcases.org.
The Sentinel has had two primary partners in pursuing the unsolved murders of Frank Morris, Joe Edwards and Wharlest Jackson for the past four years, the Civil Rights Cold Case Project and the Syracuse University College of Law's Cold Case Justice Initiative.
Sentinel editor Stanley Nelson was a founding member of the Civil Rights Cold Case Project, which, according to its website, www.coldcases.org, is using "the power of investigative reporting, narrative writing, documentary filmmaking and interactive multimedia production to reveal the long-neglected truths behind scores of race-motivated murders, and to facilitate reconciliation and healing."
The project, which focuses on unsolved civil rights murders in the South after World War II, is led by the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) in Berkeley, California. Robert J. Rosenthal is executive director of CIR. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Hank Klibanoff, the James M. Cox Jr. Professor of Journalism, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, is managing editor of the project. David Paperny of Paperny Films in Vancouver, Canada, is executive producer of a documentary now in production.
Other founding members are reporters Jerry Mitchell of the Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Miss., David Ridgen of the Canadian Broadcast Corp., John Fleming of the Anniston Star in Alabama, and Ben Greenberg, a freelance reporter in Boston.
The Sentinel has benefited greatly for almost four years from the research efforts of Syracuse University law professors Janis McDonald and Paula Johnson, who founded the Syracuse College of Law's Cold Case Justice Initiative (www.syr.edu/coldcaselaw).
CCJI, along with Frank Morris' granddaughter, Rosa Williams, pushed the FBI to reopen and actively investigate the Morris case. CCJI also provided The Sentinel with thousands of pages of FBI documents from the WHARBOM file, which focused on the investigation into the murder of Wharlest Jackson of Natchez in 1967. The file also included material on other cold cases, including that of Morris and Joseph Edwards, who was murdered in Concordia in July 1964.
Robert Lee III of Clayton is assisting both projects.
The Sentinel's coverage of the Frank Morris, Joseph Edwards and Wharlest Jackson murders can be found at The Sentinel's website -- www.concordiasentinel.com -- under the Frank Morris link.