The Moore's Ford Lynching InfoCenter

6. FBI & GBI Investigations

 

The 1946 FBI Investigation

 

Within one day of the Moore's Ford murders, several FBI Agents from the Atlanta Field Office traveled to Monroe, Georgia to begin an investigation.

Soon afterward, a team of up to twenty-five Special Agents of the FBI joined the agents who initially responded. S.A.C. Charles Weeks supervised the assigned agents throughout the investigation.

Although President Truman had ordered the Federal Bureau of Investigation to investigate the murders, there was an immediate issue of jurisdiction that had to be resolved. The FBI would need to prove that a conspiracy existed between the killers and local officials, state officials or law enforcement. Without such proof, the FBI would be powerless to obtain signed statements from potential witnesses.

Since murder is a state crime, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) would normally have taken the lead on such an investigation but at this period of time, they did not have the requisite skills or manpower to manage a case of this scope, so they deferred to the FBI.

During the FBI's investigation, hundreds of firearms were tested for ballistics and compared with projectiles found at the scene and removed from the victims' bodies.

FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover allowed the investigation to proceed for another four months, taking a calculated risk that a sufficient time lag might cause suspects to relax their guard and possibly entrap themselves in careless conversations – thus getting him closer to establishing an element of conspiracy.

Although agents from the GBI assisted FBI Agents at the direction of Major William Spence, the Federal Bureau of Investigation remained the lead agency for the investigation leading up to the convening of the Federal Grand Jury in December, 1946.

SOURCE: GBI 565-page report

 

Sources & Resources

 

  

The primary sources used for developing content on these pages include the following:



Pitch, Anthony S., The Last Lynching: How a Gruesome Mass Murder Rocked a Small Georgia Town
Skyhorse Publishing, 307 W. 36th St., 11th Floor, New York City, N.Y. 10018 © 2016 by Anthony S. Pitch


Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI)
Region 11 Investigative Case Summary (565 pages, PDF)


Additional sources used for developing content on these pages include the following:



The 1946 Moore’s Ford Lynching Case: Another Push for Justice on 10/3/2018
By TAPINTO STAFF (Laura Ali)
2018 - September 16
https://www.tapinto.net/articles/the-1946-moore-s-ford-lynching-case-another-push-for-justice-on-10-3-2018

 

Lynching
Original entry by E. M. Beck, University of Georgia, Stewart E. Tolnay, University of Washington, Seattle, 01/26/2007
2018 - August 26
http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/history-archaeology/lynching

 

Activists look to keep history alive through reenactment of Moore's Ford lynching
By Hope Ford, Adrianne Haney
2018 - July 27
https://www.11alive.com/article/news/local/activists-look-to-keep-history-alive-through-reenactment-of-moores-ford-lynching/85-578116714

 

Investigations into 1946 Georgia lynching ends, hope for answers lingers
Chattanooga Times Free Press
2018 - March 7
by Associated Press
https://www.timesfreepress.com/news/local/story/2018/mar/07/investigations-1946-lynching-ends-hope-answer/465363/

 

1946 Lynching: Investigations End, Hope for Answers Lingers
By: KATE BRUMBACK, Associated Press
2018 - February 27
https://www.wsbtv.com/news/georgia/1946-lynching-investigations-end-hope-for-answers-lingers/708032984

 

1946 lynching: Investigations end, hope for answers lingers
AP Images Blog
2018 - February 27
https://apimagesblog.com/blog/2018/2/27/1946-lynching-investigations-end-hope-for-answers-lingers

 

Answers to last mass lynching in U.S. die when investigators close case after 72 years
SPLC - Southern Poverty Law Center, By Brett Barrouquere
2018 - February 7
https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2018/02/07/answers-last-mass-lynching-us-die-when-investigators-close-case-after-72-years

 

Notorious Ga. Lynching Case Closes After Years of Anguish, No Justice
Article by Brad Schrade, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
2018 - January 24
https://www.myajc.com/news/notorious-lynching-case-closes-after-years-anguish-justice/Y8sRiwExcU7BjunYneO7PL/

 

Probes of Moore’s Ford Lynching End with No Charges, AJC learns
By Brad Schrade - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
2017 - December 28
https://www.myajc.com/news/breaking-news/probes-moore-ford-lynching-end-with-charges-ajc-learns/ozPo0GfcNVTXcl8X2tM7NJ/

 

Morris County Lawyer Wins Release of Records from 1946 Mass Lynching Case
MorristownGreen.com, by Kevin Coughlin
2017 - August 18
https://morristowngreen.com/2017/08/18/morris-county-lawyer-wins-release-of-records-from-1946-mass-lynching-case/

 

Morris County Attorney Seeks Justice in Gruesome 1946 Lynching
MorristownGreen.com, by Kevin Coughlin
2017 - July 31
https://morristowngreen.com/2017/07/31/morris-county-attorney-seeks-justice-in-gruesome-1946-lynching/

 

Righting an Historic Wrong: The 1946 Moore's Ford Lynching Case May Finally Be Drawing to a Close
By Joe Bell, Esq.
2017 - July 17
https://www.bsblawgroup.com/news/2017/2017-07-17-moores-ford.html

 

The Horror of Lynchings Lives On
The New York Times, by the Editorial Board
2016 - December 3
https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/03/opinion/sunday/the-horror-of-lynchings-lives-on.html

 

A Lynching in Georgia: the Living Memorial to America’s History of Racist Violence
2016 - November 2
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/nov/02/a-lynching-in-georgia-the-living-memorial-to-americas-history-of-racist-violence

 

70th observance of Moore’s Ford lynching set in Monroe; reenactment of killings planned
By Wayne Ford
2016 - July 21
http://www.onlineathens.com/mobile/2016-07-21/70th-observance-moores-ford-lynching-set-monroe-reenactment-killings-planned

 

FBI Questions Elderly Georgia Man in Connection with Unsolved 1946 Lynching at Moore’s Ford Bridge
New York Daily News, by Doyle Murphy
2015 - February 17, 2015
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/fbi-questions-senior-1946-moore-ford-lynching-report-article-1.2117599

 

Civil Rights Leaders Claim New Leads in 68-year-old Moore’s Ford Lynching Case
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, by Christian Boone
2014 - March 5
https://www.myajc.com/news/civil-rights-leaders-claim-new-leads-year-old-moore-ford-lynching-case/9es4IKJ8musgWB1HdiKMZO/

 

U.S. Urges Opening Up Old Grand Jury Records
New York Times, by Charlie Savage
2011 - October 19
https://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/20/us/politics/administration-proposes-opening-up-more-historic-grand-jury-transcripts.html

 

Judge Orders Release of Nixon’s Watergate Testimony
By JOHN SCHWARTZ, New York Times
2011 - July 29
https://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/30/us/30brfs-JUDGEORDERSR_BRF.html

 

Holding on to Those Who Can't Be Held: Reenacting a Lynching at Moore's Ford, Georgia
Central Washington University, by Mark Auslander
2010 - November 8
https://southernspaces.org/2010/holding-those-who-cant-be-held-reenacting-lynching-moores-ford-georgia

 

'Murder' Seeks Justice for Victims Of Jim Crow Era
Special to The Washington Post, by Ellen Maguire
2008 - October 6
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/10/05/AR2008100502157_pf.html

 

Seeking Justice for Victims of Terror Long Ago
New York Times, by Felicia R. Lee
2008 - October 3
https://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/04/arts/television/04murd.html

 

New evidence collected in 1946 lynching case
CNN, by Doug Gross
2008 - July 2
http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/07/01/lynching.investigation/index.html

 

Looking Behind Tragedy at Moore's Ford Bridge; Foot soldier of civil rights era works to solve 60-year-old-mystery
NBCNews.com, Associated Press (AP)
2006 - July 24
http://www.nbcnews.com/id/13905047/ns/us_news-life/t/looking-behind-tragedy-moores-ford-bridge/#.W6lCKGhKiUk

 

1946 Killing Of 4 Blacks Is Recalled
New York Times
1999 - June 1
https://www.nytimes.com/1999/06/01/us/1946-killing-of-4-blacks-is-recalled.html