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June 22, 2005


Evocative of an era that's gone now. Hope the kids read this.

"Roll that Klan Heron into the Slammer"

Criminy! I thought this was going to be a story about Robert Byrd finally getting his come-upings.

No double jeopardy issue? The Feds must have tried him for civil rights violations and not murder.

When I read or listen to stories like this I always feel like it was way before I was born. It's hard for me to imagine that the murders happened the year before and the trial when I was two. It's hard for me to fathom that kind of hatred especially within my lifetime.

I don't know what it's like now but schools didn't cover this very well when I was growing up. We learned about slavery and the civil war. We got a little about segregation, mostly dealing with drinking fountains, busses and lunch counters. But then we sort of jumped straight to MLK and the march on Washington. How do you teach kids about our capacity to hate without showing us at our most hatefull?

Thanks for this story MB. There's something about hearing personal accounts that brings them home.

The Feds DID try those 18 Klansmen, including Edgar Ray, on civil right violations because at the time there was no federal murder statute the way there is now. We can actually thank the racists at the county and state level of Mississippi who refused to indict anyone in the case 40 years ago. Chances are they would have been tried in Neshoba county and been acquitted.

Thanks MB. As the other person here who knew people who knew Goodman, Schwerner and Cheney (unfortunately, I wasn't able to be there that summer 41 years ago, being involved in witnessing the other half of American criminality of the time, the creation of the war in Vietnam), I am of the opinion that that "justice delayed is justice denied," in the case of these unreconstructed scum, "better late than never."

For those who want to know what it was like back then, and how different it is now down there, there is a great article on today's LA Times op-ed page - "A Reporter Goes Home To A New South" - by Karl Fleming, who as Newsday's main reporter on thecivil rights struggle was chased out of Philadelphia Mississippi in fear of his life 41 years ago, and went back this month to cover the trial and to take a look at the other places where he covered the struggle back then. Definitely worth a read.

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