and Justice Department exist to bring justice to the oppressed,
and to bring truth to light. This is a mission that is shared
by our community partners such as the NAACP, the Southern
Poverty Law Center, and the National Urban League. And so
we have joined together, forming these new partnerships to
combat an old scourge.
know all too well, many murders during the Civil Rights era
were not fully investigated, were covered up, or were misidentified
as an accidental death or disappearance. Many trails ran cold,
and many cases were effectively closed.
the victimsand for their parents, children, siblings,
and friendsthe wounds were never closed.
and friends of the victims never lost hope, and breakthroughs
in investigations, technology, and conscience have affirmed
that hope. We saw this just last month, with the indictment
of James Seale, a former member of the Ku Klux Klan, for the
kidnapping and murder of Henry Dee and Charlie Moore back
we have forensic analysis and technology that were nonexistent
40 years ago. Witnesses who were once terrified to speak out
are now stepping forward. Groups like those here today have
carried the flame year after year, have continued to gather
information, and have kept the memories of the dead alive.
ago, the FBI began a nationwide initiative to identify cold
cases. We asked our 56 field offices to re-examine their unsolved
civil rights cases and determine which ones could still be
viable for prosecution.
this initiative began, we have been provided with information
regarding nearly a hundred such cases. Each will need to be
assessed for its investigative and legal viability, but the
cases in which we can move forward, we will move forward.
many instances, the truth has been hidden for too long. Many
individuals have, quite literally, gotten away with murder.
turn back the clock. We cannot right these wrongs. But we
can try to bring a measure of justice to those who remain.
that some memories may fade, some evidence may be lost, and
some witnesses may pass away. We know that no matter how much
work we devote to an investigation, we may not always get
the result we are hoping for.
other cases we will. In 2001, Thomas Blanton and Bobby Frank
Cherry were convicted of murder for the 1963 bombing of the
16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham. In 2003, Ernest
Avants was convicted for the 1966 murder of Ben Chester White.
And in 2005, Edgar Ray Killen was convicted for his role in
the deaths of three civil rights workers in Mississippi in
successes have restored our hope and renewed our resolve.
Justice has been delayed, but we are determined that justice
will not be denied.
do everything we can to close those cases, and to close this
dark chapter in our nation's history.
History Month ends, we are reminded that protecting the civil
rights of all Americans is one of the FBI's highest missions,
whether the violations occurred four days ago or 40 years
ago. We look forward to working closely with all of our partners
and the Justice Department to bring the truth to light, to
close these cases, and to heal past wounds.
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