Lynching is one of the great stains on America’s legacy. Black bodies were regularly brutalized for the entertainment of the white masses, and justice was rarely ever served in these cases. In 1946, one of the last mass lynchings to occur went to trial and resulted in no one being indicted.
The New York Times reports that in an 8-4 ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta found that the records must remain sealed in the 1946 lynching of two black couples. These records have been long sought by historians and civil rights activists to understand what the reasoning was behind no one being indicted in the killings. This decision is a reversal of a previous ruling by a lower court who believed that the records should be unsealed. The lynching involved a mob of white men and two black couples.
From The New York Times:
The victims in the lynchings, Roger and Dorothy Malcom and George and Mae Murray Dorsey, were dragged from their car at gunpoint on July 25, 1946, tied up and shot about 60 times at close range in the attack, which was widely considered to be one of the last mass lynchings in American history. It came to be known as the Moore’s Ford lynchings.
The battle to unseal the records of this particular case has been ongoing. In 2011, during his tenure as U.S Attorney General Eric Holder wrote a letter to a judicial rules committee advocating for grand jury records to be unsealed in regards to cases with historical importance. The committee decided to not follow his ruling.
The “how” of it all is what has me amazed. White supremacy clearly played a role in why these four murders went unanswered. The real question here is how it was able to be weaponized so effectively that not a single soul within the mob responsible was charged with a crime? Unfortunately, without those court records, that may be a question without an answer.