This week on the NPR Code Switch blog I published a story about the racial shooting of Richard Joe Butler. In 1964, near Natchez, Miss., Butler was shot four times by white hooded men—and survived. One of the alleged shooters, who was charged with assault and battery with intent to kill in 1964, was also a prime suspect in the Clifton Walker murder.
On February 28, 1964, near midnight, Clifton Walker’s ride home from work was cut short. On the twisty unpaved road he took as a shortcut on the final leg of the drive from the International Paper plant in Natchez, Klansmen stopped his car and shot him multiple times in the face at point blank range.
A week before Thanksgiving, on November 21, I received a text from Catherine Walker Jones from New Orleans. “Strange thing happened a hour ago,” she said, “FBI agent delivered a letter informing me Daddy’s case will be closed!!! I am lost for words and angry.”
The Alabama Senate joined the state House yesterday in passing a resolution for an official state apology to Recy Taylor, 91, who was raped by seven white men in Abbeville, Ala., in 1944. According to the AP:
Attorney General Eric Holder is circulating in Congress his second report on the Justice Department's efforts to solve 109 murder cases in the South during the 1950s and '60s that appear to have been racially motivated. What began as a Justice Department initiative in 2006 to investigate cold cases became a mandate when the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act became law in 2008.