Transcript

Introducing: Un(re)solved

Listen

montage of chants

 

JAMES EDWARDS: George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Daunte Wright.

 

Before their names became as familiar to me as those of my family or friends...

 

I often thought about the many lives, Black like mine, cut short by racist violence.

 

These names, these moments go back much further in time...across my parents’ lifetime, my grandparents, and beyond.

 

Recently  I came across a list of more names. Some, I recognized, Most I did not.

 

This list...written down, typed out… submitted to Congress, part of an initiative within the FBI.

 

A list of women, men, children. Most of them Black. All deaths from decades ago. crimes where justice went cold. 

 

Each name on the list, a story with an open question, 

 

LEWIS: They didn’t die in Vietnam, they didn’t die in Eastern Europe. They died right here in the United States. // The blood of hundreds of innocent men and women is calling out to us.

 

EDWARDS: I’ve spent more than a year trying to understand how —  why —  this list came about.

 

JACKSON: There were questions as to whether or not this was about the people or the politics.

 

EDWARDS: I spoke with some of the officials behind the effort…

 

GONZALES: We pursued it because it was the right thing to do quite simply.

 

EDWARDS: Trying to understand what came of the promise that this list of names represents. 

 

CYNTHIA DEITLE: I will always think that we could have done more, that there was just that one last interview that we should have gotten. One more door we should have knocked on.

 

EDWARDS: I’ve spoken to the people who were trying to fulfill a promise to the people on that list, before the U.S. government ever became involved. 

 

JERRY MITCHELL: It was really one of those kinds of situations where you, you realize the clock was ticking. 

 

ALVIN SYKES: We need to look at all these other cases, and help all these other people. 

 

EDWARDS: And I’ve talked to the families of those killed, who’ve never given up on finding the truth. 

 

FLORENCE LAUDERDALE: I miss him. // What would it be like if he had been here?

 

CHARLES ROBINSON: When I got that call, I was on top of the world. Oh, my goodness, my brother’s not forgotten…

 

SHANKLIN: Got abducted and beat to death and nobody has ever been tried for it.

 

HINTON: I think that the men that did this will probably go to their graves thinking they got away with murder.

 

EDWARDS: What happens when the government tries to go back and right the wrongs of the past? 

 

And what would justice look like for these families?

 

From FRONTLINE, I’m James Edwards, and this is UN(RE)SOLVED. A story of cold cases from the civil rights era. And the families still searching for justice.

 

JOHN LEWIS: If we're going to have peace, if we're going to have healing then everything must come out. We must tell the whole story, the complete story — people need to know.

 

EDWARDS: Find Un(re)solved from FRONTLINE, wherever you get your podcasts. 

 

1h 54m
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