‘Civil Rights Cold Case Project’ Launched

By: E&P Staff

In recent years individual newspapers and investigative reporters have reopened long-dormant cases of murders of Civil Rights Era activists which went unsolved or unpunished — and managed to help bring the killers or conspirators to justice.

Now the Berkeley, Calif.-based Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) is launching the Civil Rights Cold Case Project to bring a team of investigative reporters to bear on the cases, and tell their stories in print, film and digital media.

“The Civil Rights Cold Case Project is an unprecedented collaboration bringing together the power of investigative reporting, narrative writing, documentary filmmaking and interactive multimedia production to reveal the long-neglected truth behind unsolved civil rights murders, and to facilitate reconciliation and healing,” CIR said in its announcement.

According to CIR, “To date, every civil rights murder case that has been reopened and successfully prosecuted was the direct result of an investigation initiated by a journalist.”

Buy the project’s “ultimate hope,” CIR said, is that telling stories about the cases, even those that can no longer be prosecuted, “will bring reconciliation for individuals, for communities and for the nation.”

Among the journalists on the project team are Hank Klibanoff, Stanley Nelson and Jerry Mitchell.

CIR, Paperny Films and the New York public television station WNET.org are leading the project in partnership with what CIR says are many other organizations inclukding journalism schools, National Public Radio and the National Security Archive.

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