The night of the arson of Frank Morris' shoe shop in 1964 was a busy one for 17-year-old Delbert Matthews, who recalls working alone at the Coast Service Station near the outskirts of Ferriday. The station was just two blocks south of the shoe shop along U.S. Hwy. 84. Matthews remembers several specific things about the night -- a young black man hiding under the desk at the service station, and a white stranger in a green car with Franklin County, Miss., tags, talking to deputy Frank DeLaughter.
Articles about Frank Morris Case
A short time after Frank Morris died as a result of the arson of his shoe shop, two black men were run out of Ferriday because the Klan and sheriff's deputies feared they could identify the men who killed Morris.
Did a "wrecking crew" from the Tallulah unit of the Original Knights of the Ku Klux Klan set Frank Morris' shoe shop on fire in 1964?
Natchez Klan leader E.L. McDaniel, who became an FBI informant, told the bureau in 1967 that Klansmen from Ferriday and Natchez may have been responsible for the arson murder of Ferriday shoe shop owner Frank Morris because of complaints that Morris was flirting with white women.
In 1964, the value of a black man's life weighed on the minds of a handful of white people daring enough to speak out and take a stand at a time of widespread Klan violence against blacks and the white people who supported Civil Rights.
One who did both was Marge Baroni, a 40-year-old white activist from Natchez who was upset when the local Catholic priest failed to stand before his congregation and preach against the murder of a black man in Ferriday. Frank Morris died on Dec. 14, 1964, four days after his shoe shop was set on fire while he was still inside.
A three-year Sentinel investigation indicates Morris, 51, was killed as a result of a Klan/law enforcement conspiracy. His murder case, investigated by the FBI in the mid-1960s, was reopened by the bureau in 2007 and remains active today.
Curt Hewitt had moved to Concordia Parish in 1965 to operate the Morville Lounge, a gambling and prostitution hall. Hewitt quickly realized he would need to watch out for the Klu Klux Klan in this area who were as displeased by gambling and prostitution as they were with civil rights. Reported by Stanley Nelson, Matt Barnidge, and Ian Stanford.
In a connection from New York City, to New Orleans, the Cosa Nostra mafia organization, that was allied with U.S. Sen. Huey P. Long and later Gov. Earl K. Long, monopolized and capitalized on corruption in Louisiana like never before. This brought in a hoard of gambling and prostitution that invaded every corner of Louisiana.
Frank DeLaughter, who is connected to the murder of shoe shop owner Frank Morris, has a long and treacherous past of crimes against African Americans in Concordia.
Frank Morris’ shoe shop was set on fire in 1964, with him still inside. Morris stayed alive for three more days after the fire. FBI agent Paul Lancaster tried to get a 'dying declaration’ from Morris to be used as evidence in court.
The investigation into black businessman Frank Morris of Ferriday’s murder has now taken a turn in that they believe some witnesses may have been untruthful in an effort to cover-up information.