Moore's Ford Lynching Case: Update

Righting an Historic Wrong: The 1946 Moore's Ford Lynching Case May Finally Be Drawing to a Close

Moore's Ford Funerals July 17, 2017 — The gruesome story of one of the most heinous unsolved mass murders in American history may soon be drawing to a close due to the long-standing efforts of author/historian Anthony S. Pitch and attorney Joseph J. Bell to win the release of key Grand Jury transcripts from 1946.

The Moore's Ford Lynching was a quadruple killing on July 25, 1946, of two young African-American couples: George W. and Mae Murray Dorsey, and Roger and Dorothy Malcolm, in Walton County, about fifty miles east of Atlanta. The two couples were shot more than 60 times at close range by a mob of 15-20 white men near the Moore's Ford bridge.

In his book The Last Lynching: How a Gruesome Mass Murder Rocked a Small Georgia Town, Pitch reveals the story in unprecedented detail, drawing on some ten thousand previously classified documents from the FBI and the National Archives. The book paints an unflinching picture of the lives of the victims, suspects and eyewitnesses and exposes the political, judicial and socioeconomic conditions that brought justice to a standstill for decades.

Although new publicity about the case in the 1990s led to a new investigation by the FBI and the state, the perpetrators have neither been identified nor prosecuted.

But Grand Jury transcripts that had been lost for decades were recently discovered in College Park, MD at The National Archives. Resolving the case now depends on persuading the United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia to open them in the interests of justice.

Just last month, Bell ‒ on behalf of author Pitch ‒ presented a motion before Honorable Marc T. Treadwell, Presiding Judge of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, seeking release of the Grand Jury transcripts.

The issue for the Federal Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which has jurisdiction over the case, is to decide whether Pitch has shown that his research has been "historically significant" enough to warrant an exception to existing rules of criminal procedure. The Court has not yet ruled that this standard has been met.

Other Federal Circuit Courts of Appeal have released Grand Jury records in similar cases of historical significance (e.g., Alger Hiss, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, James Hoffa and President Nixon) and Bell has urged the Court to adopt this standard for the release of the Moore's Ford Grand Jury transcripts.

Mr. Bell anticipates that the Court's release of the Grand Jury transcripts will help the healing process associated with the last unsolved mass lynching in American history.

For a detailed account of the Moore's Ford Lynching, readers may view the video of Anthony S. Pitch appearing at the National Archives on May 4, 2016.

For more information, see the following resources:

▶  Anthony S. Pitch Presentation to the National Archives, 5/4/2016   Note:  The video starts at 8:25.
▶  The Last Lynching: How a Gruesome Mass Murder Rocked a Small Georgia Town, by Anthony S. Pitch ( Purchase Page)
▶  Moore's Ford Press Release on LinkedIn, 6/27/2017
▶ Press Release, 7/31/2017


Photo credit: Washington Post/AP