Inside the Journey for Justice | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Inside the Journey for Justice

When I hear the words Roxie Baptist Church I am taken back to July 17, 2005.

I find myself sitting at the end of a pew, tape recorder in hand, admiring how the light shone through the stained glass windows on a sweltering day in Mississippi. I look to my left and on the other side of the church sits Thomas Moore, hands folded, pondering the words he is about to deliver to the congregation. I am immersed in the soulful voices of the choir, as I wait in anticipation for Thomas to move purposefully to the front of the church.

At the appropriate time, Thomas walks to the front of the church and proceeds to speak to the congregation regarding his quest for justice while also appealing to them for their support. He holds a sign that says "Charles Eddie Moore and Henry Hezekiah Dee Rest in Peace and JUSTICE." He reveals his plan to place this sign and another identical sign on the road in front of the homes of James Ford Seale and Charles Marcus Edwards. The congregation is moved and the sounds of "Amen" begin to permeate the church.

I leave the church that day feeling that I have been given a chance to be a part of something much larger than any of us.

Kate Medley and I jump in the car and follow Thomas Moore and his caravan to the first location ... the side of the road in front of James Ford Seale's house. I stand by reverently as Kate snaps photos and a CBC filmmaker takes footage. A sign is hammered into the ground, hands are joined, and passionate prayers are spoken. Thomas speaks to his brother, assuring him that justice is on its way.

We then move to our next location, a tree at the front of Charles Marcus Edwards' neighborhood. The group has slimmed down to four people. We stand by and watch as Thomas nails the sign onto the tree telling his brother, "See you on the higher ground."

Many continue to be skeptical in regard to the necessity of opening these cold cases. I wish I could take them all to the events of July 17, 2005. I don't think they would have any doubt after that, or at the very least they would gain a glimpse of understanding.

The reopening of these cases plays a crucial role in closure for the victims' families. Justice unserved leaves open wounds to fester, preventing the families of the victims from healing. I always ask the skeptics, "Would you say the same thing if it was your own brother?"

As a Mississippian, I also believe that the reopening of these cases is absolutely mandatory, even if they did occur 40 plus years ago. Justice is justice—whether three months after the crime or 43 years later. It is embarrassing that it has taken this long. It is embarrassing that these horrific crimes were committed against African Americans. It is embarrassing that anyone is skeptical about the cases being tried so many years later. Mississippi has an obligation to its future to take responsibility for its past, or else the so-called "progress" the state has made is completely false. You cannot progress unless you face your mistakes head on.

Having been present for a small portion of the JFP and Thomas Moore's quest for justice, it is amazing to be present in the courtroom, watching the desire of Moore's quest finally come to fruition.

Although one side of lawyers tends to whine and complain, leaving me with an overall sense of annoyance, and the other side tends to accidentally lead the witness throughout an endless line of questioning, I believe the jurors will recognize the truth … a truth that has been right under our noses for 43 years.

A typo in this piece has been corrected since it was first posted.

Previous Comments

ID
131666
Comment

Many continue to be skeptical in regard to the necessity of opening these cold cases. I wish I could take them all to the events of July 17, 2007. I don't think they would have any doubt after that, or at the very least they would gain a glimpse of understanding. You mean 2005, right? Anyway, a glimpse is better than nothing, I suppose, but you have to want it.

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2007-06-14T10:55:21-06:00
ID
131667
Comment

Does anyone have any news about an FBI investigation going on at Jackson's City Hall? I understand the FBI is allegedly looking into the claims surrounding threats made against JPS school board member Jonathan Larkin and his refusal to comply with demands concerning JPS' 150 million school bond. Please ENLIGHTEN us Donna.

Author
blu_n_a_redstate
Date
2007-06-14T13:12:26-06:00
ID
131668
Comment

I heard the same thing, blu_n_a_red state. There are a lot of folks buzzing about this and I heard it from a source close to the administration. If the FBI isn't looking - they should be. People are getting sick and tired of this foolishness. Jackson can not be run of scare tactics: We must be governed by what is legal and what is above boards.

Author
justjess
Date
2007-06-14T14:17:40-06:00
ID
131669
Comment

I corrected the date. If you're interested in discussing the FBI, please click over to the Barrett-Simon story.

Author
Brian C Johnson
Date
2007-06-14T14:34:11-06:00
ID
131670
Comment

Thanks justjess. I also heard that the FBI are looking into the councilwoman's robbery also. I don't know how true it is, but have you heard the rumor that MAYBE someone was trying to send her a THREATENING message? Weird.

Author
blu_n_a_redstate
Date
2007-06-14T14:34:19-06:00
ID
131671
Comment

Blu, I cannot confirm that rumor, but it certainly is logical that they could be, considering the accusations that have gone around. Now, nothing more on this thread about that topic. Follow Brian's link to post about it in the appropriate place.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-06-14T15:42:48-06:00
ID
131672
Comment

Were any of you guys downtown during the bomb threat? JACKSON, Miss. -- Jackson police on Thursday turned over to the FBI a package containing racial slurs that was left in the parking garage of a hotel located next door to the federal courthouse in downtown Jackson. Jackson Police Department Emergency Operations Division Cmdr. Loris Taylor said the package was spotted by an Edison-Walthall hotel employee about 7:30 a.m., and police were notified. Taylor described the package as a 1-foot-by-1-foot postal-ready envelope.... Taylor would not elaborate on the contents of the package. He said papers that officers found when they opened the package contained racial slurs. The papers questioned the tactics of the government in handling the trial of reputed Klansman James Ford Seale, Taylor said.

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2007-06-14T17:17:58-06:00
ID
131673
Comment

Also, WAPT says the jury has been deliberating for over 90 minutes. Who thinks they'll have a verdict this evening? I think that if there is any conflict among the jury members, they'll wrap up tomorrow.

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2007-06-14T17:20:03-06:00
ID
131674
Comment

Per WAPT, the jury has reached a verdict!!!! Stay tuned...

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2007-06-14T17:32:21-06:00
ID
131675
Comment

Seale found guilty on all counts. Stay tuned...

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2007-06-14T17:42:00-06:00
ID
131676
Comment

Here's a link. Per WLBT, sentencing will be on August 24.

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2007-06-14T17:59:16-06:00
ID
131677
Comment

WAPT link

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2007-06-14T18:04:49-06:00
ID
131678
Comment

WJTV MSNBC

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2007-06-14T18:17:47-06:00
ID
131679
Comment

FYI, in case anyone wants to attend - Mr. Thomas Moore will be at Ole Miss on Thursday afternoon discussing the investigation of his brother's murder, and the documentary done by Mr. Rigdon. It's at 3:30 p.m., Feb. 14th, Overby Center Auditorium. It's sponsored by The National Center for Justice and the Rule of Law, The Public Interest Law Foundation and Black Law Student Association. Contact person is Anette Hollowell, [email]amhollow@olemiss.edu[/email] For a map showing the location of Overby Auditorium, just go to the Ole Miss site online and do a search - there's an online map.

Author
C.W.
Date
2008-02-11T14:50:03-06:00
ID
131680
Comment

Rigden strikes again. Another FYI, Mr. Thomas Moore is NOT coming to Ole Miss to speak and screen the documentary because *someone* found out about it an won't allow it to be screened - at the last minute, so to speak. Can y'all believe this? I have some comments, but none of them are printable. ##@!&*^%$#.

Author
C.W.
Date
2008-02-12T12:24:33-06:00
ID
131681
Comment

Yes, I believe it, C.W. Someday soon I need to write my review of the documentary and point out its inaccuracies. But I haven't, yet, out of respect for Thomas, whom I respect immensely.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-02-12T12:32:20-06:00
ID
131682
Comment

I got a similar response from DR when I tried to get the documentary screened at one point. I don't know what the deal is.

Author
Tom Head
Date
2008-02-12T12:40:34-06:00
ID
131683
Comment

My guess would be that CBC/Ridgen don't want the documentary screened here because people could be in the audience who could point out its errors and omissions. Just a guess. What a disappointment it turned out to be, I'm sorry to say. It didn't capture at all the spirit of Thomas' initial journey here to work with Mississippians on the case. So much was edited out and changed around that I hardly recognized the story about the original trip. And we were there and part of the planning of it. It's remarkable that it's winning awards—or at least the version on MSNBC if it hasn't been edited—because it has factual issues. I've had several questionable experiences with documentary makers coming to Mississippi to tell our race history for their own purposes that I've decided to decline requests from them going forward, even if they sound great. (Ridgen's pitch certainly did.) You could call me jaded after this experience, and another one we observed during the Killen trial where this chick from Florida or somewhere had gone around and signed exclusive agreements with all the main players in the story and wouldn't even allow local media to interview them without permission! And that was in my hometown! I told her off standing on the court square. (We also observed some interesting ethicals issues on that front as well, which made Ridgen's secret-camera schemes look like ethical child play. But I'll save that for another time.) And this comes from someone who loves good documentaries — precisely because they are supposed to be most accurate filmmaking that don't take liberties with the facts and don't resort to trickery.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-02-22T19:59:17-06:00

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