Mississippi Alt-Weekly Revealed Indicted Klansman Was Still Alive

january 24, 2007  08:05 pm
Mississippi Alt-Weekly Revealed Indicted Klansman Was Still Alive

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 24, 2007 -- The federal government today charged reputed Klansman James Ford Seale -- reported as dead by media for several years -- for his role in the kidnapping murders of two young black hitchhikers, Henry Dee and Charles Moore, in 1964 in Meadville, Mississippi, near Natchez. Seale's alleged accomplice, Charles Marcus Edwards, has not been charged and is expected to testify against Seale. The Department of Justice has granted Edwards immunity for his testimony.

The Dee-Moore murder case, which has been sporadically reported in the media over the years, gained new steam when the Jackson Free Press (JFP), an alternative newsweekly in Jackson, Miss., reported on July 20, 2005, that Seale was still alive and living in Roxie, Miss. It had previously been reported by The Clarion-Ledger, a daily newspaper in Mississippi, and then repeated nationally, that Seale had died, making it difficult to pursue indictments. The revelation that he was still alive, reported by Donna Ladd in the July 20, 2005, issue of the Jackson Free Press and picked up later by the Associated Press, provided a way for prosecutors to build a case positioning Edwards' testimony against Seale, as the accused ringleader of the plan, in exchange for immunity.

The Jackson Free Press began investigating the Dee-Moore case when the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) asked to document JFP reporters covering the Edgar Ray Killen trial in Mississippi to help bring more attention to unsolved cases of murdered black Mississippians. Rita Schwerner Bender, wife of murdered civil-rights worker Michael Schwerner, told reporters at the Killen trial that her husband's case had only received extensive national attention because he and Andrew Goodman were white. As Ladd and photographer Kate Medley listened on the courthouse lawn, Bender challenged the media to look at other unsolved cases, including one of two black men killed near Natchez.

Soon after the Killen trial, Ladd, Medley and two other young native Mississippians joined with David Ridgen of the CBC to accompany Charles Moore's brother, Thomas Moore, on a two-week visit back to his hometown to look for justice in his brother's murder. While on that trip, Moore met with U.S. Attorney Lampton who, coincidentally, had served in the same U.S. Army Gulf War unit as Moore. Lampton, a white Republican from Mississippi, vowed to help Moore get long-overdue justice.

In 2006, the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies awarded Ladd an investigative reporting award for her package of stories about the Dee-Moore case, and related Klan activity in and around Natchez in the 1960s.


As daily-newspaper readership continues to deteriorate, as radio and television audiences become progressively more fragmented, as competition for the 18- to 39-year-old demographic soars in an already cluttered marketplace, alternative newsweeklies continue to engage young, active, educated and influential readers.

Since its founding in 1978, the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies has grown to include 125 free-circulation weekly newspapers throughout North America. More than 21 million readers in markets as diverse as Memphis and Montreal, Pittsburgh and Pasadena, Chicago and Charlotte, rely weekly on their local alternative weekly.

For more information about AAN, go to http://www.aan.org.


Donna Ladd/Jackson Free Press
601.362.6121 ext 5; cell 601.966.0834
donna at jacksonfreepress.com

Roxanne Cooper
Association of Alternative Newsweeklies
rcooper at aan.org