Tim Crimmins, a historian at Georgia State University, found more than thirty photographs taken shortly after the mass murders. Georgia State posted the photographs here and asks anyone with information about the lynchings to make contact. For more on the crime, see Laura Wexler's fine book, Fire in a Canebrake: The Last Mass Lynching in America (2003), and news stories by the Washington Post and NBC news. As the Post notes, Georgia Governor Eugene Talmadge is suspected to have authorized the mass lynching "to sway rural white voters during a tough election campaign."
New Georgia Encyclopedia, Courtesy of Atlanta History Center
It seems to me that, whatever judgment the Divine One may render to perpetrators (and I hope she throws the book at them), victims of civil rights-era crimes deserve thorough investigations of all leads by law enforcement and convictions of suspects where possible--actions that can take place right here on Earth--in Georgia, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama and wherever else crimes occurred. I am convinced of this position partly because, as important as the underlying crimes are, this issue is larger that particular victims and perpetrators.
Law enforcement itself, together with local and state officials, often was complicit in the culture of lawlessness in which racially-motivated or racially-tinged murders occurred in the segregated South. Law enforcement itself and state and local officials also were implicated in the inadequate investigations that followed these crimes. On this point, see, for example, Courage to Dissent, chapter 1, entitled "Aren't Going to Let a Nigger Practice in Our Courts," and John Dittmer's Local People: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi, among other works. Hence, today, law enforcement does not merely seek justice for the victims of civil rights-era cold cases and for surviving family members. Law enforcement is charged with rectifying a broader harm. It should be understood as seeking to remedy acts of past discrimination committed by agents of government itself--incidents that resulted in tangible harms, that produced identifiable victims and that have had lasting, detrimental effects on states' relationships with citizens. Resolution of civil rights-era crimes is a vital component of the overall social transformation of American race relations.