On Sept. 16, the Georgia Court of Appeals held a program that recounted the 1964 murder of Colonel Lemuel Penn by members of the KKK just days after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and explored the atmosphere of the times. After KKK members were acquitted of murder in the state court, the defendants underwent the first Federal criminal prosecution under the Civil Rights Act.
Col. Penn, a Bronze Star recipient, was the assistant superintendent of the D.C. public school system. He had been traveling home to Washington, D.C., from Fort Benning, where he had attended reserve officer training. He was killed in north Georgia, and his death resulted in both state and federal prosecutions. This seminar addressed the state trial, the federal trial, the resulting Supreme Court decision, and the implications for civil rights in general.
One panel included an ethics component by Judge Phipps on the ethical dilemma of doing what is easy versus right and the importance of lawyers speaking up and taking action to effect change in our society.
Chief Judge for the Georgia Court of Appeals Brian M. Rickman invited me to contribute images for the presentation.
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