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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-01-11 02:44 PM
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Small-town paper links ex-Klansman to 1964 killing
Source: Associated Press

Small-town paper links ex-Klansman to 1964 killing
By HOLBROOK MOHR | Associated Press Published February 01, 2011

FERRIDAY, La. Arthur Leonard Spencer says sure, he made some mistakes back when he was a "snot-nose kid," like joining the Ku Klux Klan. But murder?

No, the 71-year-old Spencer says, a small-town weekly paper got it wrong when it reported recently that he may have been involved in burning down a black man's shoe repair shop in 1964 with the owner inside.

"I feel sorry for his family, but I didn't have nothing to do with it," Spencer said.

No law enforcement agency has named Spencer as a suspect. But for the dead man's family, still praying for justice 46 years later, it's a welcome if not entirely solid lead.

The allegations were reported by the Concordia Sentinel of Ferriday, whose editor, Stanley Nelson, has dedicated the past four years of his life to an all-consuming investigation of the blaze that killed 51-year-old Frank Morris.

Read more:

Stanley Nelson (right) interviews Arthur Leonard Spencer at his home in Rayville, La, Summer 2010.

Photo by David Paperny, copyright Civil Rights Cold Case Project, 2010.

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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-01-11 03:00 PM
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1. Reporter on Quest to Close 1964 Civil Rights Case
Edited on Tue Feb-01-11 03:01 PM by struggle4progress
Published: January 12, 2011

... No one disputes that the death of Mr. Morris, a well-liked businessman who served both black and white customers, was connected to the Ku Klux Klan. The case is on a list of unsolved civil rights murders the F.B.I. released in February 2007, the day Mr. Nelson first heard of the story.

But for a lengthy article that appeared Wednesday in The Concordia Sentinel, Mr. Nelson, 55, put together what he believes is a key piece of the puzzle. He names the last living person he says was there that night.

In the article, both a son and a former brother-in-law of Arthur Leonard Spencer, 71, a truck driver from rural Rayville, La., say Mr. Spencer admitted to being involved in the fire. Mr. Spencers ex-wife, Mr. Nelson reported, said she had heard the same story from another man who was also there.

Mr. Spencer, by his own account, was a member of the Ku Klux Klan. But in interviews with Mr. Nelson, he denied knowing or having been one of two men suspected of burning the shop in Ferriday, La., near the Mississippi border, the hometown of the famous cousins Mickey Gilley, Jerry Lee Lewis and the Rev. Jimmy Lee Swaggart ...
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