Manship School to host Cold Case Film Festival on Sunday, Feb. 28


The Southern University Law Center chapter of the National Lawyers Guild is hosting the Southern University Law Center Cold Case Film Festival in celebration of the law center’s new Cold Case Project. The SULC NLG has teamed up with LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication and Baton Rouge Community College for the three day event, which will include film screenings and panel discussions on civil rights cold case murders, Feb. 27-29.


Baton Rouge native Keith Beauchamp is returning to the capital city for the film festival highlighting several cold case investigations that were reopened as a result of the FBI’s Cold Case Initiative. Beauchamp’s award-winning and Emmy-nominated film, “The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till,” prompted the United States Justice Department, to reopen the case nearly 50-years later. Since his production of “Untold,” Beauchamp has worked closely with the FBI and their Civil Rights Cold Case Initiatives, producing documentaries on unsolved civil rights murders and aiding Federal agents in their investigations to bring living perpetrators to justice.


In celebration of its new Cold Case Unit, SULC is partnering up with LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication and BRCC, bringing this film festival to all parts of the city, free to the public. “This event marks the first time the three schools formally collaborated on a project. That this is a project that focuses on cold case civil rights-era homicides makes it even more special,” says Jay Shelledy, Cold Case Project Coordinator at LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication. “There can never be enough cooperation, enough schools, enough documentaries, enough attention, enough publicity focused on these shocking crimes.”


The Manship School of Mass Communication started its Cold Case Project in 2010 to investigate Civil Rights-era hate murders in Louisiana and southern Mississippi. Since then nearly three-dozen students, comprised mainly of seniors and graduate students, have worked on such cases. Their “primary focus is to bring closure to African-American communities which have lingered decades without fully knowing what federal agents learned about the deaths of family members and friends.” Jay Shelledy, who is in charge of the Project, said FBI agents at the time did their best to solve these vicious killings, but were thwarted by intimidated witnesses, Klan-sympathizing local lawmen and white juries which refused to convict whites of murdering blacks.


In February 2015 the LSU Project launched a searchable website detailing heretofore sealed FBI investigative findings in a dozen such murders. It contains more than 150,000 pages of FBI findings, resulting stories, photographs and letters from the U.S. Department of Justice to the victims’ next of kin. Many thousands of additional pages of FBI case files are pending release under FOIA requests; when released, they will be added to the digital database.


List of screenings and locations:


Saturday, February 27, at noon in 129-130 A. A. Lenoir Hall, SULC

Day 1 festival kicks off at SULC with a screening of the Emmett Till documentary, followed by a short panel.


Sunday, February 28, 2-4 p.m., Holliday Forum of the LSU Manship Journalism Building

Day 2 screening of the two open Louisiana cold cases of Wharlest Jackson and O’Neal Moore, followed by an interactive panel.


Monday, February 29, 5-7 p.m., Baton Rouge Community College (BRCC) Magnolia Theater, Magnolia Pavilion

Day 3 showing of the two open cold cases of Carol Jenkins and Louis Allen.


For more details about the Film Festival, contact Ada Goodly, National Lawyers Guild, SULC Chapter President, (225) 939-6076,


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