Special to the
Opelika Observer

U.S. Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.)  wrote to President Donald Trump last week to urge him to appoint members to the Civil Rights Cold Case Records Review Board. While Congress passed Jones’ legislation to establish the board in 2018, and later appropriated $1 million requested by the Trump Administration to implement it, delays continue in the appointment of board members who would carry out the board’s work.

Jones’ bipartisan legislation, the Civil Rights Cold Case Records Collection Act of 2018, required the review, declassification and release of government records related to unsolved Civil Rights-era criminal cases. To do this work, it established a Civil Rights Cold Case Records Review Board and required that appointments to the board should be made within 60 days.

“When you signed the Civil Rights Cold Case Records Collection Act of 2018 on January 8, 2019, you helped this country take an important step towards finding truth and reconciliation for families and communities still struggling with the pain of unsolved civil rights crimes,” Jones wrote. “As our country is once again grappling with important questions related to civil rights, I urge you to appoint the Civil Rights Cold Case Records Review Board as expeditiously as possible and fulfill the promise of this important legislation.”

Jones, who successfully prosecuted two of the former Klansmen responsible for the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church, has long advocated for expanded public access to civil rights cold case records in an effort to uncover the truth. In 2007, he also testified to the House Judiciary Committee in support of the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crimes Act that established a special initiative in the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate civil rights cold cases.

Full text of the letter can be found at www.jones.senate.gov/download/gdj-letter-to-pres-trump_cold-case-review-board.