The LSU Cold Case Project
The LSU Cold Case Project, the unsolved civil rights murders project at the Manship School of Mass Communication, is part of the school’s Field Experience capstone class for seniors and graduate students in which stories, photos and investigative research are provided to Louisiana and southern Mississippi newspapers and TV stations on a weekly basis. This project has made remarkable impact.
Students have spent countless hours poring through more than 150,000 pages of 50-year-old FBI files, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, and meeting with the FBI with the goal of helping to bring closure to unsolved Klan murders of African-Americans in Louisiana and southern Mississippi during the 1950s and 1960s. The students, who travel to Washington, D.C., twice a year, work closely with Stanley Nelson, editor of the Concordia Sentinel in Ferriday, La., who was a 2011 runner-up for a Pulitzer Prize in resolving one of the unsolved cases.
Since 2010, the project has filed dozens of FOIA requests for FBI investigative reports and closed testimony to the House Un-American Activities Committee, which investigated Klan activities between 1965 and 1967.
The Field Experience class is taught by Professional-in-Residence Christopher Drew, former investigative reporter and editor for The New York Times for 22 years in Washington and New York.