The FBI on the 1965 murder of Rev. James Reeb

The FBI’s Cold Case Initiative is investigating the 46-year-old case of James Reeb, a Massachusetts minister who was beaten to death in Alabama while doing civil rights work, a spokesman said Friday. The FBI launched an initiative in 2007 to investigate unsolved murders from the civil rights era. A spokesman with the agency, Chris Allen, said Reeb’s case is one that is currently open.

Reeb and two other white ministers had just finished dinner at a historically black restaurant in downtown Selma when they were attacked by a gang of white people on March 9, 1965. The city was a center for voting rights demonstrations by blacks and white supporters at the time. Reeb, 38, died two days later, leaving behind a wife and four children.

Three white men – Elmer Cook, William Stanley Hoggle and Namon O’Neal “Duck” Hoggle – were tried on state murder charges and acquitted by an all-white jury.

To be continued…