Reeb case needs final resolution

Published 12:35 am Sunday, March 13, 2011

The headline draped across an Associated Press article read “FBI investigating ’65 killing of minister in Ala.” In newspapers throughout the country and on television stations throughout the region, Selma was once again the story. And the national spotlight again was focusing on the Queen City for an event that occurred in March 1965.

As I have said many times, I am a lover of history. And, there has been no other place in my career where history and the present day collide more than here in Selma and Dallas County.

Such was the case when the news broke this week the FBI was again investigating the brutal beating and death or Rev. James Reeb, a Unitarian Universalist minister from Boston.

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After eating at the Silver Moon Café, what has been called a historically black restaurant on Washington Street, Reeb and two other white ministers were attacked and beaten by what was described as a “gang of whites” on March 9, 1965.

Reeb would die two days later from his injuries in a Birmingham hospital.

Three men were eventually indicted for Reeb’s murder, but were found not guilty by an all-white jury.

Today, the case remains unresolved and the people responsible for Reeb’s death may very well be dead. But, that does not take away from the fact that justice must still be found.

Reeb was a man of God, a peaceful man. The monument in his honor at the Old Depot Museum is dedicated to his faith, his life and his mission to help bring a better life for all men and all women in this country.

As legal authority figures continue to dig into these old, cold cases, it is my hope resolution can ultimately be found, the killers named and that peace can come to the family members who for far too long have had to deal with such tragedy.

Their were far too many similar cases during the civil rights movement that still need resolution and it’s nice to see one of the key cases from that area coming to the forefront once again.